While I love the mild weather and beautiful warm colors of fall, I would rather skip the “ber” months—September, October, November, December—all together.
Let’s start with the lack of sunlight. I’m one of those seasonal affective people who needs the sun to be shining in order for me to feel like being productive. I’ve played with vitamin D supplements and UV lamps, but they are poor substitutes for a beautiful, sunny day.
Then, when I’m at my lowest, there is a major holiday (aka. schedule disrupter during which I’m supposed to pull off extra Pinterest-magic) in e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. “ber” month.
September rolls in with Back-to-School. I admit this may feel like a stretch to some and certainly doesn’t apply to everyone, but let me tell you how it is from my life stage. First, it’s a major transition. For families with trauma kids, federal law should mandate extra paid FMLA during seasonal transitions. Trauma kids do NOT transition well. From extra rages to psychosomatic illnesses, managing a transitioning trauma child is like having an extra 20 hour a week job. Meanwhile, I’m also usually scrambling together last minute curriculum plans for our homeschooled children as innumerable social media posts of other family’s groomed and coordinated children holding “First day of Xth Grade” signs mock me.
As we’re fighting to find our school rhythm, Halloween costume conversations become something I can’t push off any more. I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween (that’s a post for another time), and I really struggle to get excited about spending money on costumes my kids wear once only in order to bring bucket loads of candy into my house that I don’t want and one of them can’t even eat. Not to mention that I have to walk them around in the “ber” cold to get this unwanted candy. Sorry, October, I could really do without your holiday.
Just as everyone is coming down from their sugar high, it’s Thanksgiving. This is probably a good place to explain that trauma kids regulate (or dysregulate) on external stimuli. They usually do not have the capability to regulate off of internal mechanisms so they are victim to whatever is going on around them. Holidays produce elevated emotions (some positive like anticipation and some negative like stress). Trauma kids’ bodies translate it all as stress and it puts them at high alert which makes them living hell to live with on a good day. Throw in holiday travel of which Thanksgiving weekend is the worst because everyone leaves on Wednesday night and returns Sunday, and I could also skip November.
Oh, Christmas. How I want to love thee. After all, you are arguably the most important holiday of my faith. But why must you be so materialistic? If I hear another list of things my kids “need,” I am going to scream! My top love language is debatable but everyone agrees that it is NOT gifts. Therefore, I struggle to buy gifts just to buy gifts, but finding the perfect gift for everyone takes lots of time that I don’t have since I’m also supposed to be decorating, baking, and sending cards. Decorating. I love the idea of a tree. I love the piney smell and the glow of the lights. It’s the addition of a large shedding object into an already overcrowded house and the fight of who is going to put which ornaments on the tree where that makes me want to hibernate until spring. Dealing with trauma kids and my own issues with having to disrupt our routine, does not leave me with enough margin or patience to fit in holiday extras. Here’s the icing on the cake: I get questioned all month by my kiddos about why we don’t xyz like all the other families. I don’t even need Facebook or Pinterest to rub it in my face. #mommyfailure.
We do have a couple simple traditions I love like our prayer chain and the sibling gift exchange. My 12-year-old, just reminded me yesterday that we missed the start of prayer chain season, and my 10-year-old reminded me that we didn’t pick names for the sibling gift exchange over Thanksgiving like I promised. #doubleandtriplemommyfailure.
Excuse me while I go hole up with the pre-Marley Scrooge until Spring.