Just So.

1794 1794_ () 1794 1794 Oh sure I was tempted to keep that picture up for weeks on end, but even since snapping that shot a few days ago, I think the baby has grown. Either that or my gut is distended.

I spent all weekend working on Christmas card details and here is the kicker about pregnancy-related hormones: they make you a tad irrational.

We got our photo taken Friday night. Paul and I were heading out to shop and my dear, sweet sister came over to watch the boys for a bit. My timing was impeccable: I had the boys hop in the shower and throw on their picture-takin‘ clothes for a few minutes, in between getting cleaned up and getting ready for bed.

Paul walked in the door and we were all in the front room. I corralled everyone, we gathered in our photo spot and Joanna snapped away. We got something that worked great.

The next day I emailed the picture to the local drug store and here is where the problems began. I think the quality just wasn’t what I expected and I was forced to deal with either accepting what they printed (a little sub-par) or scrapping that whole scene and going to a better photo developer (thus adding several hours to this project). So I accepted the reprints, because Paul was with me and saw the pictures and thought they were just fine and also he mentioned that I needed to probably, you know, RELAX.

Then I started to worry about my camera — it’s a nice SLR but sometimes the clarity and color just aren’t what they should be. Does this sound right? Should I get my camera fine-tuned? Can a really good camera just not take good pictures? Why? These and a million other questions plagued me for hours.

All these issues kept creeping up and I was getting very, very frustrated with myself for being such a perfectionist. I already struggle with these “ideals” but usually I can remind myself to go with the flow. This time, I needed an outside source to do the talking. Thus the importance of having my husband spell it out for me which is: the minute I start needing every detail of my life to be totally perfect I will become one very unsatisfied customer.

I heard what he was saying and appreciated the wisdom. I made it through, sent out a card that works just fine and am forcing myself to chill. It is very hard, and it’s not even just about having everything perfect, but about then fixating on what is less-than-perfect and pointing out to myself the “if-only’s” in the situation.

Maybe this all sounds silly. I think we all have areas in our life where paying attention to the details is very important to us — those just might be different areas for different people. A friend of mine was telling me about the amazing Christmas outfits she has pulled together for her crew to wear to Mass and I thought “Oh yeah, that.” This is something I don’t really sweat (for us it’s “blazer? check. tie? check.”). So different strokes for different folks. True some people are better at not sweating the small stuff, but I think the human condition is we are all capable of getting worked up about the particular “issues” we like to have just right.

In the midst of all this, again, it’s just taking a step back and getting some perspective. It’s good to want things to be nice and special, but that cannot become the entire focus of the Season. And if it does, than this desire for everything to be perfect will become a giant overwhelming monster that will make things much less perfect than ever before. 1794″ .



  1. It is in situations similar to these, when I get frustrated because things are not working out like I wanted to, that my son always tells me "mom, it's OK, the world will still go around."

  2. I so hear you. I'm so glad other mom's stress (and yes, the preggo ones like us) even during this time of year where I'm trying to also savor the season! It makes me more hormonal!

    I needed to read this, thanks!

  3. I haven't sent Christmas cards in three years. I miss the idea of them, but I love avoiding the photo shoot, going through the pictures, sending them in, addressing the cards (even though I used labels the last time) and so on. It was a decision to save us some money, but it has also saved a lot of stress!

  4. Your color and clarity issues could be due to to your settings. Understanding Exposure is a really good book to read. I'm still learning how to use my SLR accurately after having it for 2 1/2 years, but my pictures get better as time goes on. I find that I have to tweak my settings frequently.

  5. I realized a couple of years ago, when I wasn't in the frame of mind to get out Christmas decorations, that the kids are perfectly happy with just the tree, stockings and the nativity. I grew up with a Mom who is practically Martha Stewart when it comes to decorating and I finally let go of that pressure to conform. Less is more in my family, and it has made for a happier Mom and happier kids. And a less stressed Christmas.

  6. Thank God for husbands, right? Mine always seems to have that voice of reason that edges through the craziness of my expectations!

  7. I may be guilty of skimming here, but make sure the battery is fully charged.

  8. did the same with my christmas card this year…not perfect, but who cares. that's a first for me.