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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Family Tradition Season

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

How was your Halloween? Have you figured out a way yet to get rid of a good chunk of your kids' trick-or-treating candy without them finding out? We’re still working on that one.

As Halloween passes us by and Thanksgiving turkeys start to hit the shelves of supermarkets already blasting Christmas music, I like to take a moment a reflect on the fact that I am “that” mom.

What do I mean when I say I am that mom? I mean . . .

I am totally the over-the-top obsessive about family traditions and holiday celebrations type of mom. I mean, Fat Papa and I just got done carving a record 103 pumpkins this year for our Halloween display! So yes, I’m that mom.

I’m also the mom that is now "panickedly" writing this blog entry trying to meet my self-imposed Friday deadline because carving 103 pumpkins over 5 days takes a toll on your hands, body, and health. So, of course, I have a touch of carpal tunnel, a small cold, and am writing from bed on Thursday night because I’m that mom.

A view of our Halloween display before night fell and trick-or-treating began (October 2021)

I’m that mom who embarrasses Itsy Bitsy because she is the ONLY kid in her class who didn’t wear pajamas the day after Halloween and had to sit through a whole day of school in uncomfortable regular clothes. Okay, this one I felt really bad about since I let family traditions around Halloween totally overwhelm me and get in the way of a cool school tradition.

Apparently "Pajama Day" is a BIG deal at Itsy Bitsy's school.

I’m also THAT mom who has spent more than one day after Christmas sick in bed. Or week after Thanksgiving laid up with back pain. Or the month of January worried about everyone liking their gifts.

I am DEFINITELY THAT mom who takes on too much, tries to accomplish too much, wants everything to be perfect, works to make every season and holiday magic and bright for everyone else only to absolutely drain myself in the process.

I call it "Death by Pumpkins" this is fully how I expect Itsy Bitsy to Find Fat Papa and me in 50 years (October 2021)

If you are that mom too, even to just a small degree, just a little teeny tiny, wittle, bit… listen up… YOU ARE WORTH THE HOLIDAYS NOT BEING WORTH ALL OF YOU!

This Halloween taught me something. Normally, by November 1st, I am dead to the world for at least 10 days. My hands don’t work, my back is spasming, and I’ve run my immune system down so much that any sneeze within a 5-mile radius finds its way to me.

So, a little soreness, some minor stiff muscles and a 48-hr cold I didn’t catch until yesterday. That’s a new record for me!

How did that happen you ask? This year 3 things happened.

  1. I realized I was worth taking care of.

  2. I started seeing Megan, an amazing physical therapist at Valley Physical Therapy, prior to carving all those pumpkins.

  3. I discovered that a paint mixer attached to a power drill can clean out a pumpkin in 3-5 minutes, no problem!

By being proactive and working with a physical therapist ahead of my traditional pumpkin carving craziness, I was able to put into place an action plan that worked with real results.

I would have been so sad if I hadn't learned some self care techniques to keep me in the pumpkin carving game!

Megan gave me a few stretches to do. More importantly, she made sure I wore the right brace while carving and a different one while sleeping. She also made sure I iced my hand for at least 30-min every night and that I took medication to help with pain and swelling.

I know all those seem like no-brainers, but in years past, I had been so obsessed with our family traditions that I wasn’t taking even the few minutes a day I needed to take care of myself. By making these simple changes to my pumpkin carving routine, and the power drill that was a total game changer, my hands hardly hurt at all this Halloween.

A thumbs up to my winning combination (October 2021)

Fat Papa and I have both been absolutely flabbergasted at what a little self-care has done for my body and mental state this year. Its been AMAZING! But at the same time, it feels embarrassing. It feels like, as an adult and a mom, I should have known to be taking care of myself.

This is where I just have to learn to laugh at myself. Yes, I could let my embarrassment over not taking care of myself rule me and turn into shame. Or, I can embrace it, laugh at my mistakes and share the experience with others. By laughing at myself and my mistakes, I hope other Mamas out there will not repeat my mistakes.

My point is we are getting ready for the season of family traditions. The season for moms, and dads, to give of themselves far more than they actually have to give mentally and physically. We need to remember to take the time to work on ourselves and take care of ourselves this season too.

I was absolutely amazed at how much difference a little self-care made to my Halloween tradition. That nightly ice, carving with a hand brace, hand stretches, and pain meds will be a new part of our tradition. Now I am looking at our other holiday traditions, wondering what self-care tricks I can work in to make it so I don’t fall apart again.

What are simple self-care plans you can work into your holiday traditions? I would love for you to drop a line in the comments section and share how you self-care so you can share holiday cheer with others.

Keep calm and quack on.

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