Why I Won't "Bring It Down a Notch"

Things travel like wildfire in the land of Facebook.  The latest is "Can We Bring it Down a Notch?" , a mom begging other mothers of the world to bring down their celebrations of holidays.

The author, Kristen Howerton, complained that there is too much hoopla (did anyone else just hear Spongebob when you read that word?) surrounding the small non-holiday-holidays like St. Patrick's day for her to keep up with in her home.

I'm going to admit it...I'm one of those moms.  I "do it up" whenever I can - the leprechauns trash the house and leave chocolate coins, the Elf makes it's rounds every December,  I have mailboxes filled with notes and surprises on Valentines Day, the tooth fairy leaves elaborately folded dollar bills filled with fairy dust under pillows...

Why do I go to all the trouble? Is it to make other mothers of the world feel inadequate? Is it to create work for myself? Is it because I'm bored?

I do it because I'm a junky.  My drug of choice is elusive and strong.  It's WONDER.

Seeing wonder on my kids' faces is priceless and addictive.  I've seen it when I take them to Disney, but I have also seen it when they find an elf sleeping in a tissue box after a rough night with a head cold.  It's rare and beautiful and I'm hooked.

Childhood is so fleeting, as I look at my 11, 12, and 15 year old I know it is gone in the blink of an eye.  I have worked hard to create circumstances to create wonder, I had to get one more hit. I am hooked on trying to create traditions and memories for my kids.  I want them to feel things, I want to experience surprise and delight and wonder. I can't apologize for that, I'm an addict.

They don't believe in all that "hoopla" anymore, but I still do it because now that wonder has evolved into tradition.  It is our common family "thing". It's the knowing smile, the wink, the eye roll, the "you remembered" I get when they see the elf dangling from a wrecking ball (ala Miley Cyrus).

We just recently spent $300+ transferring all our VHS home videos to CD so I could relive their moments of wonder and they are so priceless to me.  I still cry when I hear an exclamation of surprise or wide eyes of wonder. I move close to the TV and soak it in, I remember, I smile, I cry. I feel their childhood slipping through my fingers like sand, I'm grabbing at it trying to hold on for a few more precious seconds.

I didn't always feel this way when I was in the thick of it with potty training, spoon feeding,  and sleepless nights but I tried to hold on to even those moments when I realized how fast time was passing.  I'm no expert, but my best parenting advice is to just be present in all the moments of childhood, the good the bad and the poopy.  Try to create memories and moments you can pull out of your pocket when you need them 10, 20 years down the road when you need a "hit". 



  1. Beautifully written and said so much more eloquently than I ever could. I admit that I am a little hit and miss when it comes to going all out. When I do, I hate it when people assume that I do this stuff for my kids as some sort of twisted mommy-one-up-manship contest and try to make me feel guilty for wasting time on trivial things.
    My kids get a birthday party every year they want one.I figure that really you only have a few birthdays that are fun. Everything that I do is for the birthday boy/girl and the other party guests. If you are over 18, and wondering why there is a lack of adult food and beverages, it is because the party is not for you and if you want to stick around I will put you to work and hand you a juice box and a corn dog for your efforts. Either way, I am too busy making memories to care if you're impressed or not.

  2. FYI: on my blogger list this tittle is "Why I Won".

    1. just bc it cuts off the tittles after so many characters, but I found it interesting:)

  3. Here's the deal: We. as moms, have to give ourselves permission to be different than other moms. Some moms make big deals of holidays, some pack fun Bento boxes. some make money for their family, some are crafty, some are sporty. Reading blogs can give people an artificial sense of pressure to be like other moms. I felt it!! I learned that I can be who I am and take fun ideas I want from blogs without feeling like I have to do everything other moms do. I won't have a different wreath for my door for every day of the year, but it's ok if another person does. We're different people!

  4. This brought a pang to my heart and tears to my eyes. This is exactly what I needed to hear these days. I'm a mom of 3 as well- they're 1, 3, and 5. And each a HUGE handful in their own special way. I adore them, but I've been having trouble enjoying them lately b/c everything just seems like such a huge uphill battle. Poop, meals, bedtime, appointments, laundry, dishes, everything. Imagining myself in a few years getting closer to the TV to get one more glimpse of them at this age just totally reminded me to SUCK IT UP and FRIGGIN' ENJOY THEIR CUTE SELVES! Thank you again, I loved this post.

  5. Amen!

    I've never made a big deal of the holidays for other people...well except for the 5 people that really matter to me.


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