A Talk With...

The Last Christmas Cookie: A Reflection on Perfection and Being a Woman

Hi everyone – this time of year is a little stressful, isn’t it?  I’ve been thinking about the “pressure” I feel and realizing that most of this holiday stress is self-imposed.  Why do I feel the need to match what I think everyone else is doing?  Why would I assume that my family expects baked goods, perfectly chosen presents and a hot chocolate station in the kitchen?  Okay, that last one is my expectation.  The typical work/family balance is just that – a balancing act that goes really well some days and poorly other days.  When you add a major holiday to the mix the balance is just not attainable.

sad christmas cookie
This is what our holiday cookie situation looks like right now. I think we’re all afraid to eat this last one. And if the icing looks haphazard, it’s because it is.

I did make one batch of cookies two weekends ago, but it took two, maybe three nights to decorate and we ate them all up almost as soon as we were done decorating (except for one, photo above).   Dave doesn’t seem to feel any guilt or stress about his lack of baking for neighbors or any stress about what outfit to wear to a holiday party.  He doesn’t feel any stress about getting Christmas cards written and actually mailed (why is this part as hard as writing them?).  And my point is that he shouldn’t and I shouldn’t either.  Women, in particular, seem to take on this holiday as one where they have to be everything to all and not only is it not possible, it’s also kind of ridiculous.

And another thing (!), just file this under the heading “Women Are Too Hard On Themselves”; I asked Mike, the general contractor I work with frequently and who appeared with me on House Hunters Renovation, how he felt about seeing himself on TV.  His response?  “Oh it was great!”  I followed it it up with , “Were you freaked out seeing yourself on TV at all?” And his simple response was a shrug and, “I know what I look like.”  That’s it.  That’s also how I should have felt and instead I could barely look at myself because I was trying hard not to stare at all of my “flaws.”  Why didn’t I think of that?  I know what I look like.

laura medicus
Me, giving a little hug to Shakespeare. Know yourself. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

This isn’t a blog post exactly about how to be happy, but it is a post to encourage you to back off on the stress and examine where it’s coming from this time of year.   Odds are, it’s pressure that only comes from yourself.  Remember to shrug and say “I know who I am” and let yourself free.  I may not be able to have inner peace, but I do strive for an inner stillness and a quiet confidence that comes with knowing myself.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!








2 thoughts on “The Last Christmas Cookie: A Reflection on Perfection and Being a Woman”

  1. HaHa! So much of your post strikes a chord. Yes, I have realized that I am the driving Force behind Christmas at this house, and I have come far enough to just acknowledge and know that the pressure for perfection is self imposed. However, I still don’t get past the “need” to Do It All. At this phase of life, I probably wont. And I know what you mean about seeing yourself on TV. I hate having my photo taken because all I tend to see are my faults.
    We should both loosen up maybe. And by the way, you have nothing to be self conscious about!
    I always enjoy your blog. Thanks!
    Have a Merry Christmas,

  2. Thanks Gwen. I have had to give up the “need” to do it all only because I can’t. Ha! But, it’s still a weekly battle of just taking on too much and then realizing I’m never going to get that baking done, or make that homemade wreath because family and sleep are important…funny!
    Thanks for the kind words – love your vintage style.
    Merry Christmas!

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