Holiday Lists & Lessons
The holidays are almost upon us. I know this because everyone in my house is feeling sick, that feeling of dread prevails that NOTHING IS DONE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE and I am overwhelmed with the sense that I have already overbooked our calendars, thanks to my masterful planning skills. It is all seriously freaking the shit out of me.
Of course, the holidays bring with it the inevitable questions from family about gifts for the kids. “What does Shaila want this year?” or “What kind of toys is Nico playing with now?” And I try to answer to the best of my ability but then sometimes I forget who I told what to and Nico ends up with twelve swords. Or Shaila ends up with all the things I really wish I could get for Christmas. Like a mini-Athleta outfit collection.
The travel. The family. The shopping. The never-ending lists. It just feels like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, maybe you are better at all of this than I am and are not feeling that way at all, but I am feeling a bit frazzled and it ain’t even Thanksgiving, baby.
The other day, Shaila started her first of what I know are many Christmas wish lists to come. See Exhibit A below. Item #1 clearly states that she would like an inflatable chair with speakers. I have no idea where she got the idea that she needs an inflatable chair. Am I supposed to be inflating it? Does she not know that I am the queen of allowing all things to deflate and that I do not even know where a pump exists in this house? And what happens to the speakers when this chair deflates? Does she really think Mommy is going to be there, ready to go with that pump? I really don’t think she’s thought this one through and frankly, I’m a little disappointed with her gift idea.
I also feel this pressure to continue giving my children teachable moments at the Holidays. Sometimes these moments present themselves clearly and other times they don’t. I am trying to teach them not to be greedy little thing-mongers by at least telling them to limit what they ask for (apparently, I should have also put a cost limit on each item as well. BTW, how much do inflatable chairs with speakers even go for these days?) because Santa needs to buy presents for lots of boys and girls around the world, and if they ask for too many things they will be taking away presents from other children. Given this same logic, Shaila is basically snatching an inflatable chair with speakers out of the hands of a child from a remote village in Africa.
I wonder how she sleeps at night.
Anyway, today I decided that the teachable lesson I would give my children is the following. I wanted to debunk a myth. It’s a saying which I feel like I hear a lot these days and it pisses me off. It pisses me off more than watching Hoda and Kathie Lee drinking Chardonnay at 10 AM pisses me off, which says a lot.
The saying is this, “You can never be too rich or too thin.”
When I hear this saying, I usually think, “Well, you can be too shallow or too much of an asshole.”
The reason that this saying bothers me so much is because I feel like it’s a lesson that we are sending out a whole lot as a society. We often define success by the amount of money someone has and beauty by how small someone’s limbs are. I have literally been to the checkout counters before and on one magazine seen celebrities bodies looking emaciated with the question, “Dying to be thin?” and on another magazine, seen those same celebrities applauded for having rocking bodies.
It’s all kind of confusing. And kind of shallow. But it’s pretty pervasive, isn’t it? Oh excuse me, I think I just puked on the tenth Kim Kardashian cover I saw in a row at the checkout counter.
Anyway, I need to go find the Shaila an inflatable chair with a full Bose system before some poor kid in Cambodia manages to snag one first.
If you have any thoughts on other stupid myths and sayings we need to start debunking for our children, I would love to hear them.
In the meantime, keep your sanity and may these Holidays start off right – in good health, with your loved ones around you and with your homes full of light. (Hint, don’t put on Kathie Lee and Hoda on in your house if you want to keep that light. It just sucks it right out of your family room, at about the same pace as they down their Pinot Grigio).
P.S. If you are looking for gift ideas for the Holiday season, don’t forget about all of the ethical options at Simply Om. Every piece has a story and every purchase helps a woman overcome dire poverty or oppression somewhere in this world. Keep it in mind as you make your own lists!