Feast or Famine

There are several advantages of not having family living nearby…… no over-enthusiastic visiting from mums and mother-in-laws; no loosing your husband to Saturday DIY sessions at the grandparent’s house; no Sunday lunch obligations; no cousin babysitting. Of course the disadvantage list is longer with no free babysitting taking the top three spots. Actually, the top five.

Somehow when our families were settling down everyone had a philosophy of “pick a country, any country” and therefore ended up flung around Ireland and Britain like children playing hide and seek in a large house. Our kids don’t have a single relation living in their own country – grandparents in Northern Ireland, Vietnam and England, cousins in Scotland and Brighton. In our family, we don’t have get-togethers, we have invasions. Take this Christmas – our first in our new house. “Come see us” we offered excitedly in our drunken champagne exuberance of actually owning a family home. And so this Christmas our family festivities are a bit like the proverbial bus – we don’t see them for months, and then they all arrive together.

This weekend my parents drove down from Belfast and my brother’s family flew in from Scotland. And it all sort of whizzed past me in a blur of noise – 6 adults and 5 children shouting, screaming, laughing, pushing, shoving, eating drinking, talking, and eating and drinking some more. And suddenly as quickly as they all arrived, they’ve all gone, leaving the house shell-shocked and me wondering if it actually all happened. The Christmas tree is about the only thing left standing, and even it looks pretty dazed.

Last weekend it was my husband’s brother and all his kids. Next weekend it’s his dad. Christmas is his mum, step-dad and Aunt and at New Year we have 18 (yes… count them with me – 8 adults and 10 children including us) for three days. I feel like I’m on some sort of entertainment rollercoaster where life has become a cycle of shopping, cleaning and changing beds followed by a manic three days of not seeing my own children while up to my eyeballs in whatever breakfast, lunch and dinner I’m trying to conjure up to feed the masses, following by the shopping, cleaning and changing beds again.

Hubby and I have a dream of someday opening a small but quaint B&B by the sea… I’m beginning to loose my enthusiasm. Anyway, must dash… got the beds to change..……

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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7 Responses to Feast or Famine

  1. Kate says:

    Oh my god – that's a busy Christmas you have there!! I'm not so brave – although any entertaining sends me into a spin in which perfection must reign despite the chaos I usually spend my time immersed in. For my own sanity I'm limiting the guests and we're going to my mums for Christmas itself. Good luck!


  2. Mummy mania says:

    That's a much better plan! Will let you know if I end up crushed under my pile of recipe books!


  3. Sounds as if it is great fun for the kids at least but I can see it would be much better it you saw each other more frequently during the year rather than in one large Christmas spurt! Good luck with it all – sounds exhausting!


  4. swedafrican says:

    Wow, I wish we had a big enough home to invite all the family over. We are split all over the world and really miss having family close by. I really wish we had our family around to babysit too. That's the big downside of expat living. Luckily this year we have managed to have at least one member of my family join us at my partner's family home! Have a wonderful Christmas & enjoy the buzz.


  5. I'm exhausted just reading all this! I hope you have a large bottle of something on standby to help see you through! Mary Poppins lives on, it would seem! Good luck with it all 🙂


  6. Mummy mania says:

    mmmmm, possibly my blog sounded more enthusiastic than i intended….. and yes, Hot Cross Mum – a large bottle of Gin is on standby!


  7. MUMTALK says:

    Hi mummy mania, I love your blog and am starting to blog myself, I have added you to my blogroll and would love it it you could do the same for me. Thanks in advance, Warm wishes,


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