Mom to Mom: Everything in Moderation
Everything in moderation.
I tried to teach this to my kids recently when they asked why they are not allowed to have soda. I explained soda has what is called “empty calories.” I don’t believe there is a reason growing kids should be allowed to drink soda, unless it is a special occasion. I went on to explain “everything in moderation.” I learned a long time ago from a friend that it’s okay to let our kids eat some junk food – as long as it is in moderation.
I guess the same could be said when it comes to gift giving and the holidays.
I used to worry that my kids would have a warped sense of Christmas, since we celebrate over the course of several days as we travel to see family. First, we open presents as a family, and then we visit my family, where there are more gifts. The day after Christmas, we drive to Sacramento to celebrate Christmas with their other grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Not a lot of moderation in this type of celebrating! When we visit far-away family, we started asking for a family game instead of having each child receive lots of presents. This not only makes it easier on the one giving, but also on us as we receive. Plus, we leave with a great present in the waiting – family time!
As our children are getting older, they understand the true meaning of giving. Now, it is their idea whom to include on our giving lists – newborn cousins, aunts and uncles who had a hard year, and grandparents. Another special joy is taking tags off the “Giving Tree” at church. My husband and I take each child on an individual shopping trip, where they can pick out a present for a child chosen from the Giving Tree. It’s rewarding to see how excited our kids get about shopping and picking out items for people they don’t even know.
This year, we also sat down together and made a list of the people we wanted to bake items for to thank them for all they’ve done for us this year. This list included teachers, therapists, nurses, firefighters, neighbors, and friends. We had to trim our list a bit – again, moderation!
As you celebrate the holiday season, I hope you get to enjoy spending special time with your family. And as easy as it is to over-indulge in giving, baking, and eating – remember – everything in moderation!
Mom to Mom is a column written by Mary Parra, an Ahwatukee mother of four and a local journalist.