This is not good.
This whole prolonged stormy mood of mine is rather uncharacteristic for me. (A lot of that going on lately, it seems.) So I've been trying to figure out why I've been such a -- well, let's be honest -- bitch for the past week.
Part of it, I've deduced, was that I just really did not feel like hosting Thanksgiving this year. I do it every year. I'd love for someone else to do it, but no one else volunteers, so I do it. And really? It's not that big a deal. I know my family appreciates it, and it gives my mother-in-law a break since she does the rest of the holidays. But this year...I just really didn't want to, but by the time I allowed myself to admit that (because it made me feel horribly selfish to consciously feel that way), it was too late to change plans. Thus, I did it with a bad attitude, which is never a good thing.
The other part of it is that I've felt so rushed lately. Ever since getting back from our trip earlier this month, I just haven't felt like I've fully regrouped and gotten back into the swing of our routine. (And trying to re-engage in routine at this time of year is fairly ludicrous, you know?) But I felt like I never really caught up with everything...housework, school work, laundry, shopping, appointments...it just kept snowballing, and I was sorely in need of some down time. Even my precious alone-time Saturdays weren't as helpful as they usually are because they kept getting interrupted.
So now, looking toward Christmas, I keep feeling like it was going to just be another month of the same...more rushing, more work, more commitments...none of which I'm going to ever feel caught up with.
This is not how I want to spend the Christmas season.
As I take stock further, though, I realize that I'm not as bad off as I could be. In fact, I'm a little ahead of the game!
...I actually have about 90% of my shopping done, so that's a huge load off (and I did a good bit online this year...paying shipping costs is an acceptable trade-off for not having to face the hordes in the stores, IMO).
...Last year, I let go of the self-prescribed mandate that I must hand make my Christmas cards, so for the second year now, I've purchased them and just have to write them out and send them (I've even got pictures to send already, since we had family pictures taken this year for the new church directory).
...I bought a new artificial tree this year, a "slim" tree, which is pre-lit and the branches all work on this hinge system, so putting it up was so fast. We've always had this huge, bushy artificial tree, which I do love because it looks so very pretty, but we have a small living room in our small house, and so for an entire month, I've got furniture displaced and the tree obstructs the view of the TV for anyone sitting in the far corner, which happens to be where I usually sit. TV aside, having half the living room taken up with a fake tree for 1/12 of the year just really stresses me out...it feels so cluttered and claustrophobic. So now that problem is alleviated, and while this tall, skinny tree is going to take some getting used to, I think it will be better in the long run.
...I've consciously decided not to make any knitted gifts this Christmas. I killed myself doing it last year. This year, no. If I do knit any gifts, they'll be small and last-minute, not big and stress-inducing. (Not feeling guilty about this because I knit for my family all year anyway!)
...Growing up, my mom baked out the wazoo for Christmas...dozens and dozens of cookies. When I got married, I didn't know that was actually optional. Ha! Even the year I had a baby on December 2nd -- by c-section -- I was in the kitchen baking my brains out less than a week later. Insane! In recent years, though, I've cut my baking waaaaay back. We pick maybe a half-dozen types of cookies, I bake up a batch of each and that's it. Enough for us and a few cookie trays for gifts. When they're gone, they're gone. I plan to follow the same reasoning this year. No baking-related stress.
So, you see, I've discovered that my attitude is largely related to boundaries...the ones I set for myself as much as the ones I don't set. It's all about knowing my limitations and trying to live within them. Must keep this in mind for the next month.