“Shhhh! Keep the pogoing down…Mummy has another hangover”
America’s Worst Mother, Meghan Cox Gurdon is just exhausted, exhausted I tell you, from putting on a Currier & Ives Christmas for her four moppets: Sedgwick, Fionnabhair, Rosacea, and Chaminiqua.
I am experiencing that peculiar bliss associated with the end of what euphemists are, irritatingly, starting to call “Sparkle Season.” In the days after Christmas, there is a lull, a kind of rapt stillness, a Nirvana, that signifies one’s release from the great crushing Wheel of Festivity. And when I say “one,” I mean, of course, “one who is married, female, and probably a mother.”
In December, millions of American women develop a kind of mania that by Christmas day will have exhausted both themselves and their family’s bank accounts. They rush about buying gifts (first checking what everyone else is “getting,” as in, “What are you getting Rickie this year?”), throwing Christmas-themed coffees, assembling costumes for school pageants, and booking exorbitant seats for the Nutcracker Suite. Many otherwise elegant women inexplicably take to wearing chunky red sweaters embroidered with angora Santas and gold-lame reindeer. Children open lunchboxes to find that their mothers have cut their bologna sandwiches into the shape of snowmen.
…and some mothers are single and work two jobs and still manage to put on a Christmas season for their kids without angora Santa sweaters and :
pushing a trolley piled high with ducks, geese, turkeys, cookies, cranberries, marzipan, mince, stollen, plum puddings, sausages for stuffing, sweet potatoes for roasting, nuts, clementines, fruitcake, stilton, cider, and wheels of brie.
…but they don’t go on the internet and whine about how hard it is to maintain their status as a stay-at-home faux-upper-class twitlet.
Then my friend remarks, “My sister-in-law is done.”
“What, with everything?
“Presents, cards, decorating, the works. She did most of it in September.”
“Oh,” I scoff obediently, in accordance with the invisible script that women are issued each December, “Well, that’s hardly in the spirit, is it?” We laugh, part ways, and silently shoulder our burdens again. I can’t remember who was still on my list at that point, was it a godchild? A half-forgotten niece? And come to think of it, am I really supposed to tip the newspaper carrier; what about the garbage men? And the mailman? Oh, and better get more milk â€”
And then â€” so long anticipated â€” Christmas slips towards you â€” suddenly so quickly! â€” and rushes past, like water in a stream. And it’s over. The fever dies away, and you are left with this delicious lightness of being “done.”
Yes, thank the baby Jebus that the holidays are over and the kids are back in school and we can all get back to our usual routine of having that first drink at eleven followed by lunch with Courtney and Whitney and Lauren where we can discuss the latest in Prada handbags and how fabulous it is that the President (who comes from such a good family regardless of that black sheep brother with the herpes and the Thai hookers) is going to let us keep our Guatemalan housekeeper Rosario and won’t the kids be thrilled when they hear we won’t have to hide her in the laundry room anymore and she can go back to sleeping on the floor in Fionnabhair’s room and, why yes, I do think that I’ll have another drink before I have to rush off and pick up the kids from their feng shui class…..
That must be…exhausting.