I recently turned 40 and it was, well, stressful. My family planned a surprise party for me in hopes that I would be able to relax and enjoy this major milestone in my life without engaging in my instinctual stress cleaning. Unfortunately, the secret was revealed to me by a neighbor with just enough time for me to stir up a mountain of planning anxiety. There was no way that my husband had ordered the right food and there was years worth of vacuuming to do. I desperately summoned the troops (my children) to dust like they had never dusted before and willed my dog to sweep up her own hair. The Eastern European in me took over as I poured over the preparations, just as my mother had taught me to. Over plan! Over cook! Over clean! Be perfect and in control at all times!
Does this ring a bell with any of you? Do you feel like you have to be the perfect host?
In the midst of the preparation storm, my daughter gave me a card that stopped me in my tracks. It read, “You know it’s funny. I feel like the older you get, the more you act like Babi (my mother). For God sake, it’s your birthday, stop cleaning! -Love, me (Abby).” When did my 13-year-old get so annoyingly smart and funny?
This time of year can be so stressful. Whether it’s our birthday or the holidays, the joy and celebration is often overshadowed by all of the time spent cooking and cleaning. Before we know it, we are 40 and turning into our mothers. Thankfully, despite our best efforts, our kids become our mirror and show us all of the fun that we are missing out on.
I want them to remember running around in the mountains and cozying up next to me on the couch, not all that time I spent cleaning the house. This year and in all the years to come, I am committing to abandoning my trusty vacuum for more time playing outside with my family.
Are you in? Where will you head out with YOUR family to play next?
So, cheers from me and the Wild Zora family: to a holiday season with more mess and more fun!
Need some snacks to fuel your adventures?