‘NO’-vember: A Note from the Editor
By Jordan Sapir
The holiday season is upon us. The air is fragrant with mistletoe, burning candles, winter spices and sticky peppermint sticks. Wreaths adorn the doors, busy postmen hustle down the streets, and all the while children are joyfully awaiting the holiday celebrations to come. Everyone is merry and gleeful, but mom, mom is making a list and checking it twice – she wants to find out which products are nice.
We’ve spoken in previous months about the emotional workload of mothers, and the holiday season abroad is no exception. For a lot of mothers, the holidays are the most stressful part of the year. It’s easy to get wrapped up in expectations and forget about the sentimental value of the holiday season and the coming of a new year. Between crafting with kids, cookie baking, making Advent calendars, visiting Christmas markets, and purchasing gifts for teachers, we often forget to stop, breathe and relish these holiday moments.
This expat mother is traveling, packing, booking flights and juggling shared traditions. In my home, there is a cultural clash of epic proportions. We each hold on tight to our traditions and are immobile. Somewhere between the standoff and Christmas Eve, we wear ourselves out, and settle for lighting the Menorah while singing Jingle Bells. That’s the thing – are we holding on to the traditions, or are we holding on to the nostalgia: how the holidays make us feel, versus how we want to celebrate. At the end of the day, don’t we all just want our kids to have the feeling of being loved and cherished? How do we avoid being sucked into the holiday hustle?
For starters, say ‘NO’ to everything. Is it me, or does everyone want a piece of me and my family during the holiday season?
I recently sat down to make my calendar for November. It’s packed with cookie baking, playdates and end of the year deadlines. But life doesn’t stop because it’s Christmas, life goes on, and I have to manage to complete all of the endless tasks on my to do list. That means, in preparation for the holidays, I will be using my will to say ‘NO.’ If it doesn’t fit into my schedule, make my children, my spiritual leader, therapist, coach or most importantly, me, happy, I’m gonna say ‘NO.’ There is enough dysfunctionality in my own home; I won’t be adding to that with others’ inability to act rationally with a bit of Glühwein in their systems. I won’t be subjected to the emotional burdens of others, mis-directed anger, or guilt.
I am pledging to say ‘NO’ to the unwanted gift exchanges, invites to lavish dinners, guilt-ridden pleas from my family or my partner’s family that stretch my family thin. I will be saying ‘NO’ to my kids, who are overstimulated with sweets, late nights and broken routines. I will be saying ‘NO’ to added work, added expenses and added waste. I will be saying ‘YES’ to cherishing moments and not things. I will be saying ‘YES’ to family photos, warm fuzzy cuddles, puppet shows and healthy meals. My training will be uninterrupted and my health will remain intact, because this Über Mom knows that she’ll be free of burdens, and full of holiday spirit, not spirits, this holiday season.
Jordan Sapir, mother of two glitter-laden girls, 2 and 5, studied Journalism and International Political Science in NYC, a place she once called home. She can slaughter five languages fluently. She has worked in a newsroom or two, walked a catwalk or three, and is all for an impromptu adventure. Having traded in her Prada for pretzels, the founder of Über Moms lives in Munich, where she is a stay at home mom and studying to become a certified nutritionist. She is a mommy on a mission and wants to help fellow mothers raise healthy happy families, and beat a PR here and there.