Every year, I forget about the month of December.
Not that it’s on the calendar, of course—I know it follows November and precedes January no matter what, forever and always.
But I forget about the complete and utter exhaustion this month brings for me as not only a mom, but a helper and a doer.
Because I am the one who takes care of the details.
Weeks before Christmas, I’m making mental lists, trying to get ahead on shopping, and attempting not to fall behind on housework and the million other things that demand my attention in every other non-December month.
I am the one organizing the classroom Christmas party. I’m sending those annoying group texts you hate because there’s just no other way, setting up sign-up sheets for meat and cheese trays and cookies (enough for 24), and printing off holiday-themed Bingo cards at midnight.
I am the one opening beautiful Christmas cards from friends and family who actually managed to send them out of their smiling families. I find myself wondering if sticking all those leftover wallet-sized school photos I still have in envelopes and mailing them out is socially acceptable or just plain dumb.
I am the one schlepping kids—usually not just my own—to and from school and activities as their schedules grow more erratic and hectic. Basketball game for this one here, practice for another one there, early dismissal thrown in just to make things a little more interesting.
I am the one shopping for half a dozen Secret Santa gifts at Target because someone out there thinks it’s a fun little activity to add to the melee and my kid casually forgets to mention it before 9 p.m. Sunday night.
I am the one searching through closets for the kid-sized holiday sweater I’m pretty sure I bought for an older sibling years earlier because it’s spirit week (yay) and she just HAS to be part of it.
I am the one tending to a sick child at 3 a.m., stripping sheets, and doing four loads of laundry through bleary eyes because December is the month for alllllll the germs to party, too.
I am the one making another trip through another fast-food drive-thru because the kids have to eat and there’s no time and no meal ready at home anyway. Those Pinterest recipes for Easy Crock-Pot Meals! I saved taunt me as I order a large fry with a heaping side of guilt.
I am the one who finally just got into bed but gets up again to move the blasted elf because the preschooler will believe the universe is on a collision course with certain doom if he’s still sitting in the half-dead poinsettia plant again tomorrow morning.
I am the one running on empty but forcing a smile and a friendly conversation because it’s what we helpers and doers and detail-take-care-of-ers do throughout the month of December.
But oh my goodness—I am exhausted.
And I’m not alone.
This month, there is an entire army of us hiding in plain sight behind our steering wheels and double-shot lattes and concealer-caked eyes. We’re shrugging our shoulders while we laugh and say things like, “If we can just get through this week, it’ll get sooooo much easier!”
Some call us the magic makers, the memory keepers, the “I don’t know how she does it!” wonders. But the truth is, we’re human and we’re really, really tired.
Yes, we’re grateful. Yes, we know these are the days and it all goes by so fast and we’ll miss this when it’s gone blah blah blah.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not also wishing for a nap that lasts through at least mid-February. And maybe a girls’ night out or to snap our fingers and wake up on a secluded beach somewhere in the sunshine.
The older I get, the more I realize there’s nothing wrong with admitting as much.
So check in on your friends and wives and daughters and fellow moms who are smiling just a little too wide this week or adding a few too many exclamation points to their cheery texted replies. They’re probably frayed around every imaginable edge and wondering how on earth they’re going to make it through another busy day with their sanity (mostly) intact. They could definitely use a coffee or a, “Hey, thanks for all you’re doing,” or a hug and a knowing smile.
Because sometimes, all we need is just to know we’re not alone . . . especially in the month of December.