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Saturday, November 28, 2009

December "Droop"

Moms are wonderful creatures.  Most of the time her family can't see the "droopy" shoulders and moist eyes that sprinkle through special days and rushing moments. 

Once a mom is determined to make moments that will be remembered for a lifetime, she goes into a hyper drive of activity.  Perhaps there are scribbled notes in her purse or a list hanging on the fridge.  If she also has a career, maybe there's a recorder that not only lists the activities and corresponding ingredients but also belts a little motivational cheer to keep her moving. 

She may forego sleep imagining the smiles of her family or even refuse to purchase something she needs in order to obtain that special dish that makes everyone groan with pleasure.  She will probably turn into a drill sergeant that could move a platoon into high gear with the slightest raise of her eyebrow and yet her orders can change at a moments notice when someone is sick.

She maintains the mood of her home as well as the janitors, the cooks and the decorators.  She makes sure that every special moment is documented with cameras and recorders. 

So if this Supermom is so wonderful, why the December droop?  After she's put together a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, made sure everyone was well fed and rested, cleaned up the kitchen and rushed out at 3am on Black Friday to purchase a wonderful gift - why the December Droop?  Why does she seem melancholy and sad?  Why isn't she as excited as her family?  Doesn't she realize the wonder of this season?

The December droop is often due to the fact that moms forget their original goals.  She is overworked and exhausted.  She desperately needs a thank you from her family and a confirmation that the day was a success.  When her family forgets to tell her how wonderful she is, she looks for "non-verbal" communication to confirm that she has accomplished her goals.  After several years of seeking the "non-verbal" signs she has convinced herself that the smiles and the laughter and the joy of the holiday decorations and festivities are the only things that matter.  If she continues on this path, she will stress about the need for "SUPER Smiles, wows and compliments. 

After a few years of going for the "non verbal" compliments - she has forgotten that her original goal was to share her love with her family and present Thanksgiving and Christmas as a special day.  She was never in charge of making everyone happy or meeting all their needs. No one can do that. 

Smiles, wows and compliments can't be sustained.  They are short lived and unsatisfying.  Somewhere in all the hyperactivity Mom has forgotten her original goal and she's lost her self-worth.   She begins to dread the holidays because she knows that she will fail no matter what she does.  She bites into her overcooked turkey and droops as one sibling fussed at another.  

So....what's the solution?

The best way to cure the December droop is for the Family to pay attention to all the work Mom does.  Give her a hug.  Tell her you appreciate the fact that you were able to take an afternoon nap.  Tell her how much you love coming home.  Take her face in your hands and say..."You are wonderful!  My life is better because you are here."  Being kind and considerate about her hard work is the best way to cure to December droop.  Your words are her paycheck for a job well done.

The second phase involves Moms thinking.  Mom must resist the need for the immediate gratification of laughter or that "wow" moment.  Instead think of your work in terms of multiple years.  Try to think of holidays as a process.  A journey that builds to an overall memory that will cause your children to "want" to come home year after year.  As long as you provide love, respect and verbal support to your children, they will want to be with you.  As long as your home is cozy and warm with love - your children will want to return to your safe refuge.  As long as your arms are inviting and your smile is wide, your children will find strength in being near you.

It's not about the decorations or the turkey or even the laughter at the table.  It is about giving a lot of love and providing a place that your family will feel accepted and loved.  If you have done that - you are a success!

God loves you,


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