Last Sunday morning, after what felt like three weeks straight of kid-centric holiday events, Chris and I temporarily called it quits.
We had plans to attend the Notre Dame Club of Chicago’s annual Christmas party, and the kids were super excited about it. But, that morning Chris and I came to the realization that we didn’t want to drag the kids out into the cold. We didn’t want to hear their whining. We didn’t want them asking “what’s next?” while we were in the midst of an already fun activity. We didn’t want to be exhausted. We didn’t want to do it.
So, we didn’t do it.
Of course the kids were upset. But, all this holiday craziness was turning them into little monsters. They were so gloriously overwhelmed by the plethora of things to do that they were unable to really enjoy it all. And, all this running around was wearing them out – even if they didn’t want to admit it. The holiday joy was turning into a chore. For all of us.
So, rather than attend another holiday party I made Evie and Mack do chores. All morning. Once they were done tidying the toy room and making their beds and bringing dirty clothes to the washing machine I paid them each $4.00 (a lot of money to a 3 and 5 year old!). But, rather than letting them keep it, I took them to the grocery store where they picked out bananas and granola bars and chocolates. They paid for the groceries with the money they had just earned. And then we brought the food to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter.
Because, after all, Christmas isn’t all about the kids. It is about all of us. Together. As a world community. And if I don’t teach my kids this lesson, no one will.
Fortunately, I think they are starting to understand. They asked to bake a gingerbread cake for the guests at the shelter, and Chris was happy to help!
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