?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
Minimalist Mothering [personal entry] 
7th-Dec-2008 12:07 pm
KoPortrait
Bah, humbug.

Christmas will not be cancelled this year; nor will it be postponed.  No matter how much I might wish to go to bed tonight, and awaken tomorrow morning to discover that it is January 5th, it's not gonna happen.

But there are several other things that have also not been happening--and are not going to happen--in this household, this year.

Several months ago, several things happened in my life almost simultaneously:  I decided it was time to quit smoking; I turned fifty years old; I went off Premarin, thus throwing myself into instant menopause; my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer; my sweet little boy turned, overnight, into a Giant, Attitudinal Hormone.  And, somewhere along in all of this mess, I became depressed, and my right leg became worse, and my pain meds became virtually ineffective.

It was at that point that I, a Helicopter Parent [hovering mama] from way back, inadvertently discovered what was, for me, a new style of parenting; I call it Minimalist Mothering, and it is defined as doing just enough.  Just enough cleaning to keep the Health Department at bay.  Just enough grocery shopping that the Kid can always locate a Toaster Scramble for breakfast, a frozen meal for supper.  Just enough laundry that we don't have to go out and buy new underwear once a week.  And just enough grounding and discipline and yelling and crying  and hugging and loving and cheering that the Kid remembers--occasionally--that there's also a Mom living in his house.

This Christmas, Minimalist Mothering dictates that I will not be driving myself crazy trying to create the warmest, cleanest, most welcoming home in town--you know, the home that always smells of crisp pine needles and freshly baked sugar cookies?  I will be happy if I can keep the smell of the senile-old-cat-shit down to a dull roar.  And there will be no scent of pine because this year, there is going to be no Christmas tree--and the only cookies you'll find in this house will come from the Publix bakery--if I happen to be passing the bakery counter on my way to the Frozen Meals of Convenience and Neglectful Parenting.

Some traditions will be kept.  I will make my annual obscenely large donation to Journey's End, a worthwhile organization for aged, homeless, and disabled former family pets who have been abandoned. [Except for the children, we don't buy gifts in my family; we each donate to the charity of our choice.] And I will purchase for my son a few obscenely expensive electronic gadgets and accessories, about which he will give Not. One. Whit. but which will enable him to brag and look cool in front of his peers.

I will also join with a small portion of my family on Christmas Day, to eat lasagna [provided by the catering department of a local restaurant, and I'd much prefer turkey, myself--and a family who puts a little more 'fun' into 'dysfunctional', but ah well....]] and count our blessings.  The way I see it, my family's biggest blessing is that we get to keep my mom for another Christmas--and perhaps many more, as it appears she was surgically cured.  And my own biggest blessing is that I made it to age 50 without ever once not having a Christmas tree in a warm, inviting house that had been transformed into a Wonderland for the month of December.  Yes, my own Biggest Blessing is that I've never experienced being the child of a Minimalist Mom.

My child deserves more from me this Christmas.  More than the latest electronic games, more than the coolest jeans and athletic shoes.  My child deserves everything I had when I was his age.

Maybe... just maybe... i could pop an extra pain pill and venture one trip up the stairs?  Just to bring down the creche, the candles, a few ornaments... and the Christmas tree?

Thoughts 
7th-Dec-2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
G*d, I hate distances. If I didn't live who-knows-how-many-miles away, I'd march right in, and between the two of us we'd be able to make it up the stairs (and safely down again, too) and put up all the decorations. I do hope you get to be able to put some decorations up, and please don't torture yourself with what your amazing son does or doesn't have - he has a mom who loves him more than anything in the world and does everything humanly possible for him, well, isn't that just the kind of mom we'd all wish for? I wouldn't call that minimalistic, dear... I know what you mean, I know where you're coming from, but it's... it's not like that. I'm gonna write you an e-mail. *hugs*
7th-Dec-2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I'd march right in, and between the two of us we'd be able to make it up the stairs (and safely down again, too) and put up all the decorations

and i've no doubt that that's exactly what you'd do, too. and in this case, it's most definitely the thought that counts; it means so much to me, especially at this time. many thanks, sweetie. *hugs*
7th-Dec-2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, yeah, I really would do that. I've just about finished my e-mail, feel a bit apprehensive in sending it, so I'll... edit some more, and then I'll see. *hugs*
7th-Dec-2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
I was trying to think of how to say what I wanted to say -- and it turns out hibernia beat me to it. All of it.

And, wow. When you actually list everything that's happened in your world over this last year, what a list! I don't know how I'd be still coherent and even marginally sane, and the fact that you are still standing is simply incredible.
7th-Dec-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
yeah--just call me wonder woman. or minimalist mom. or... something.

i'll do what i can do; it is what it is, and if he's got expectations i'm unable to fulfill, well, i've no one but myself to blame. christmas will come regardless.
7th-Dec-2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
just call me wonder woman. or minimalist mom. or ...

My favorite, actually, is still Her Royal Highness, Princess Marshmallia.

But that's probably just me.

7th-Dec-2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
and... that might actually make sense, on your planet....
7th-Dec-2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
For once, something I recall and you've forgotten. :-) It was a long, long time ago; there was a discussion which encompassed royal heritage and hot cocoa with marshmallows, and ... never mind. I may have dreamed the whole thing. Wouldn't be the first time.
7th-Dec-2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
ah, yes; i do remember. that was, indeed, a long, long time ago.
8th-Dec-2008 08:14 am (UTC)
No, no - what you'll have to blame, if you insist on blaming something, is not yourself, but things & circumstances way beyond your control.