I started the Thousand Gifts list several months ago. I haven't mentioned it in a while, but today I have one.
The blogging world keeps mentioning the stress of the holiday season. Know what? I'm not stressed. No really, I'm not.
The longer Brian and I are married, the better we are at working together. This year we planned ahead for our trips in October, then birthday/Christmas in December. We budgeted both our money and our time. Budgeting time is a new thing for us, but something we've had to learn since having children and realizing that unless we make a point of seeing each other, we won't finish a conversation again until 2028. But we're learning - making a point to interact in the evenings, and not just coexist. Taking the kids for a walk in the evenings, where Asher is entertained by the wagon and the world and we can talk to one another. Teaching Asher to wait his turn in conversations. All of these things have added up, and have given us more to draw from emotionally when our schedules gets more hectic. Because we had "saved" (or, really, used) our time, we were mentally prepared for the extra nights he worked in order to earn extra money for the holidays. This past week, and the next few days, there has been a lot of output - time going to other things - but we have made a point of spending time together in the weeks prior, so the busyness hasn't been overwhelming.
I love budgets.
And because he has worked so hard, the holidays and birthday are not financially stressful this year, either. Planning ahead removed the stress, as much as possible. Now I'm realistic, and I both realize and have lived, in the past, the principle that there has to be sufficient income for a budget to exist. As my mom likes to say, there has to be something to subtract from. I really appreciate how hard Brian has worked this fall to alleviate the financial strain of the season. And I appreciate that we are working together toward a common goal. We are both working hard to take care of our family and one another, and while one brings in income (and the other is pretty successful at spending the income), we're both working. Brian's respect for my "occupation" is also a gift to me, but that's a post for another day.
Today, as I am enjoying the one-down, one-to-go lull between birthday party and Christmas, and as I'm halfway through a 3-night stretch without Brian at home, I'm thankful for budgets.