This time last year, I was stressing out about baking homemade, allergy-free cupcakes and designing creative, perfect Valentines for my boys’ classmates … Until a snowstorm canceled school, postponed the class parties and my new attitude about letting things be messy and imperfect finally kicked in. [Click here and here to re-read my two posts about last year’s Valentine’s Day debacle and subsequent save.]
Today, with one in sixth grade, the pressure to be creative and fancy has been cut in half because middle schoolers do not exchange Valentines or have class parties, so I am told. But third graders do, so I am not totally off the hook yet.
With one kid “celebrating” and the other not, this seems like a good time to start downplaying the Hallmark holidays. I’ll still make red, heart-shaped waffles and serve pink milk tomorrow morning, and of course I’ll still give my boys heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and plenty of hugs and kisses … But I won’t fret over homemade class treats and unique cards for 20+ kids I barely know. Instead of signing up to bake some fantastic, Pintrest-inspired cupcakes, I’m sending in red and pink sprinkles for the class party. Am I a slacker? Some may say so, but those sprinkles were on the request list so I don’t feel guilty. I did my part. As for the cards, I tried to convince my son that store-bought cards were the way to go this year, but he wasn’t having it. Solution: We made 22 tags that read: “You Rock!” and attached them to packets of Pop Rocks candy. Not very original (in fact, this idea was rehashed from last year’s list), but my little guy liked it and that’s really all that matters.
I’ve come to learn that all the stress, anxiety and pressure I feel around these lesser holidays, like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, is self-imposed. I agonize over making every minor holiday a wonderful, memorable events for my kids. I make grandiose mountains out of what should be fun, little mole hills. But not anymore. Those days are over. 2015 Lauren is cutting herself more slack and living a less-stressed life. Calmer, happier, better.
This doesn’t mean I’m boycotting all upcoming holidays. Nor does it mean I’m killing off all our family traditions. I sort of took care of that last year anyway. [Click here to reread my post about the end of St. Patrick’s Day leprechauns and the Easter Bunny.] But it does mean I’m downsizing. Toning things down … way down. Red waffles and chocolate truffles for breakfast? Sure thing. But pulling an all-nighter to bake two dozen beautiful treats that won’t be appreciated by the under-9 set? No thank you. This year, it’s colored sprinkles and Pop Rocks … and simple love for my boys (big and small).