Chicago mom caught up in the holiday whirlwind

Is today Wednesday or Thursday?

What do we need for the party?

Who still needs gifts?

Wait you have an afterschool event and a work party Thursday night?

When, how, what are we doing for dinner?

You want to go where?

They want us to do what?

What day is it again?

My husband and I talk in questions. Answered passed back in forth in rapid succession as we move about doing at least two other things. Feeding babies, emptying the dishwasher, making food for the toddler, feeding ourselves. This new life of four active, hungry, always hungry, kids is an adjustment. The baby crawling since Thanksgiving is into everything, pulling up, standing, climbing. The toddler just talks and talks and talks. Our house is busy even with the limitations we put on it, the holidays make it feel insane.

Then I spend five minutes wasting time on Facebook or Instagram and wow, I am even more behind than I thought. We don’t have an Elf (THANK GOODNESS), but we haven’t baked any cookies, no Christmas crafts, and the toddlers’ Advent calendar says it’s Dec. 16 (we must have caught up a few days ago!). There is so much to do and see in this season that even five minutes spent online can make you feel behind.

But I’m not.

My tree is up. It’s decorated (and re-decorated thanks to two curious little ones). We have some other decorations up and most importantly all the Christmas books and toys are out, so as far as the kids know we are ready for Christmas.

So when the baby’s head gets heavy and rest on my shoulder and when he clutches my shirt and whimpers every time I stand up to put him in his crib, I take a deep breath and soak it in. I close my eyes and I cuddle with him. Because this is it. This is the last baby to cuddle under the lights of a Christmas tree. This is the last baby to keep me up all night. This is the last time that we will see the delight of lights dancing in someone’s eyes for the first time. I want to, no I need to, soak it in.

There will be time for all those projects later. When babies are grown and nights are for sleeping. I have learned (though need a reminder daily) that those images that fill my news feed are a snippet, a glimpse. I can’t let that passing picture make me feel like I am lacking when I clearly have so much.

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