I just read an article in the New York Times about frazzled volunteer moms who are pushing back. The point of the article is that over-achiever volunteer moms, or should I say, over-guilted moms, have finally hit the wall and figured out that they need to scale back for their own health and their relationships' well-being.
I think the article had it right as far as it goes, but it basically, in my opinion, misses the point. As wonderful and needed as are the decorated classrooms for seasonal events or fundraisers for all manner of extras for teachers and students, maybe, just maybe, the answer is that we need to scale back our expectations and get along with less.
That certainly is how we are handling our family’s resources and needs right now in the face of retirement and declining savings. We still want to help the people that we have helped in the past, but we also have to do that with many fewer resources. So, it’s time to look at everything anew, together, and discuss and discern what’s important today and what we’re capable of realistically.
We’re having little Christmas this year, which means that we’re not decorating or hosting a huge holiday dinner at home. We’re also not giving gifts to anyone, and we’ve let the family know that. What we are doing is hosting one family gathering at the local dinner theatre so that everyone, from grandchildren to great-grandmother and in-laws, can spend an evening together, enjoying the same musical play, and eating a nice dinner that no one has slaved in the kitchen over all day.
It will be about the experience of being together and enjoying each other’s company and not about feverishly rushing from store to store or Web site to Web site trying to find the perfect gift. Because, let’s face it, no one in our family needs anything more to make them happy. We as a family are blessed to have enough stuff. It is good for our souls to spend time walking the dogs at the Humane Society, knitting hats for the homeless, and sitting and chatting with the lonely.