Marital Holiday Bliss

I've spent many a Christmas in an emotional frazzle. And, lately, the more kids we have, the better we are getting at handling this season...together. It's busy and wild and crazy...but, I leave it more and more feeling like I'm not in it alone...and I feel happy. I've wondered why that is.

Okay, so this is a rather personal blog, but hey...letting people peer into your personal life seems to be the whole thing to blogging, so, we'll just let her rip and see where we land.

This is primarily to the ladies in the audience, though I presume the males will at least give credence. There is one thing about the holidays for men which I did not realize until recent years. Holiday to a man means...home & hearth, relaxation, sex...time for sex...celebrate with sex...rest after sex...parties, dress up...sex. Watch the game...sex. Eat good food...sex. Well, you get the picture.

You see, the whole thing about the holidays for women, is, as I have repeatedly gone back to in recent weeks, fatigue. I mean, mind isolating, list churning, emotion wacking, budget breaking FATIGUE. Working hard!== to produce the "production"...food, gifts, parties, clothes for entire family ready for it all. Addsickness, being stuck at home through snowstorms, shopping, kid's parties, caring for and concern forneedy...well, it's all wonderful and fuzzy from a distance, but up close? Whew. Nothing left. NOTHING. Men, take note. How to restore. Gradually.

There arethings my man has learned these years being married that are making my holiday, well, a joy.

I'll share both sides and, though your situation may be different and your spouse may or may not read, you can improve things yourself...still time this week for recovery if you blew it last week. The tempernment of your spouse should be a good indicator of your attempts to love in practical ways. Grumpy...read SLOWLY and apply.

Women first. Again...fatigue, stress. Anger? Sometimes.

Some helpful solutions to restore wife to "functionality."

1. Man does dishes for wife anytime he has the time. Remember your "goal" (not as in, football).
2. Man walks in the door, cheerfully smiles at wife, kisses her, notices the trash overloading due to holidays and says, "My! Looks like you could use some muscle. May I?" Ooh, la,la! Not immediately, but it adds up.
3. Man tries to unload the dishwasher in the morning when wife is zonked from too many "2AMers." Woman hears. Woman is very happy. Women doesn't care at this point where you put things...stack them neatly on the counter if you must. It's a special occassion..you may help. Your woman may differ on this, consult user manual. For me...this is aaaaaaaah. I am getting help...I am resting!
4. When woman is scurrying around trying to wrap last minute gifts for a family gathering, , husband does not watch TV until time to go. Husband sees where he can be useful. He attempts to find holiday-like clothes for the kids...probably not folded at this point, but within plain view...probably laying flat across the dryer so as to not wrinkle.

All children's will be there together...you may have to lift a few items, but you'll get it. Red socks always work. Dressier tennis shoes are fine. Daughter cannot wear her white shoes in the winter, nor here favorite swirly spin gold Cinderella dress to every holiday function...she must by Daddy-lured into a beautiful semi casual RED shirt or sweater...any variety will do unless special instructions are given. Check with wife prior to process to keep from repeating. Special note: Daughter must have hair done by Mommy before leaving.

5. Check for food intake for children and wife: PopTarts for two out of three meals is okay at holiday time, and hotdogs/cheese slices if child is going into major meltdown or needs non sugar.

6. Clean sweep the van so that wife does not have to sit in Cheerios while waiting for her to arrive in vehicle. Grab jackets for family...it gets cold before getting home even when it isn't in the garage.

7. Make wife coffee or grab a bottle of water to stow for trips...she's probably not eaten all day.

8. Check van for gas...fill up NOW if she needs a few minutes.

9. Call party/family by cell phone with kids in van if running late and act cheerful. Tell them you are in the van and "on your way".

10. In general, help with ideas for in-laws for gifts, and handle some shopping...take a child shopping to ascertain interests, especially boys as they get older. Call wife by cell phone if a decision can be made...keep her involved. Aaaaah. Helper-man=Sexy-Man!

11. Cheerfully run errands for last minute milk, eggs, trash bags, etc as wife plans for party at your home. Aaaaah.

12. Thank wife, in writing, every year, for the work she has done to make the holiday special for you and the kids. Days when "it" is getting to me and I wonder if anyone really notices or even cares or if it matters??!*% I remember the thanks repeated over and over from the year before. And I keep moving. Remember to thank.

Okay...Women! Ten HUT! AttenTION!

1. Red. Everywhere. 'Tis the season. For heaven's sake...go buy something special for him--early in December...make it fun! Go red. Celebrate the season...with him. Even if you end up too tired, he'll remember later when you are rested and appreciates the attention and thought given to him.

2. Work hard. Rest hard... Play hard.
Indulge!!! When you can! Get rested and get re-refreshed often, guilt free. Hot bubble baths, smell good lotion, a cup of hot________. Chocolate. Feel GOOD! Smile! Enjoy! Share the joy. Don't get so locked in that you lock down...a mistake I make too many years when I had to...college, young babies. Make it your goal if you want a happy Christmas.

3. Keep a purse stocked with things that keep you all happy
This is an important list...I'll detail it. Men, skip it if you wish, or remind wife as needed!
A. Contact drops (for late parties for you or him--everyone happy!).
B. Plain chap stick....none of that menthol stuff, for heaven's sake. No arguing here.
C. Low Scent, thick, hand lotion (strong smells get annoying/painful when your hands are raw, and he doesn't want to smell like a girl).
D. Kleenexes...in the van, in the purse. Cough drops if they are needed. Gum/sweets...for cantadas and performances to occupy kids...they get bored no matter how "good" it is to us. He likes a special mint from your purse if dinner was just served.
E. Camara...charged, in purse
F. Cell phones charged for two...keep shopping split-ups as painless as possible for him
G. Reserve folks on standby for emergency last minute pickups for kids you can't do with them tagging along. Throw in some treats for the trip, and time for you afterward if possible before they are picked up...gifts have to be moved from the van first anyway.

8. Find a way to make Christmas morning breakfast both special AND EASY so you can slip away to catch a little more sleep together while the kids play. I recommend breakfast egg casserole...sausage cooked and frozen a week prior, thrown together the night before, cooking while you open gifts. I make half with sausage, half without for fickle kids...and again, poptarts are fine on Christmas for the protestor, too.

9. The week after Christmas, he will have much catch up to do at work. Give a getaway weekend, a foot massage/ hot drinks in the evening/take time to watch Bill Cosby...keep him involved in family time you are getting with the kids that he is not. Make it worth his coming home to. Have supper ready...leftovers, soup, anything. Rest, and commiserate with his demands. Tell him you miss him. Give him lots of thanks and attention for providing. Call him at work. Email a thought.

10. Save money where you can to show love to people. Make crafts, ornaments...he appreciates the gesture.

Well, not an inclusive list, but a starter to a holiday focused on others while nurturing the love you have for one another. For me, it adds up to bliss. Bliss is GOOD. Moment by moment, it's torture at times, but looking back, I feel loved and cared for, and I know I loved and cared...it wasn't just "stuff" for the sake of doing...it was loving care.

I could have started and stopped with "Love one another." "Help one another." "Serve one another." But, intentionally, for me at times, requires concrete thinking with concrete examples to get my wheels spinning as to how I can show love. Keep it intentional. Keep it coming. Make up for lost time this winter. Enjoy your love. Rent a movie...de-stress... together.

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