Do you ever feel pressured to be this amazing parent who will give their kids the “perfect” Christmas experience no matter what?
As I sit down to write tonight, I just logged off of Facebook and my head is spinning.
There is SO much pressure on parents on a daily basis to be “above and beyond parents.” Most of the time, I feel like I do a pretty darn good job being a “single mom” a majority of the time and raising our kids an ocean away from family and with a husband deployed out in the ocean somewhere most of the year with little to no communication with him. I honestly don’t ever question if I’m a good mom. My kids are healthy, happy, love God and are experiencing love. What more could I ask for?
However, during the holidays, the expectations to be the “perfect parent” just skyrocket.
These varnished and unrealistic expectations can make even the most confident parent question themselves.
Am I giving enough gifts?
Am I giving too many gifts?
Did we donate enough gifts to charity?
Should I have a real tree or a fake tree?
Do I have enough Christmas lights on my house?
Did I give good enough gifts to the kids’ teachers?
Where did I put that address book so I can send out Christmas cards? Oh, look! Here are the cards from LAST YEAR that I didn’t get sent out!
All of a sudden, getting our kids fed and sending them to school with clean clothes and a healthy lunch isn’t good enough.
During December, on top of the normal expectations, we have to be shopping Amazon for the best holiday gift deals. We need to become Betty Crocker and start whipping out enough “home-made” cookies to feed an army!
And, don’t even get me started on the Elf on the Shelf!
Like, who came up with that crap anyway? As if we don’t have enough going on the way it is! Now, I have to browse Pinterest for hours to come up with some “new” mischievous thing for them be doing?
I’ll be honest, my elf level has plummeted a lot this year.
We haven’t done the actual “Elf on the Shelf.” We have done “Kindness Elves” since my kids were little. Instead of them doing naughty things, our Elves will bring us activities to do to show kindness to others. For example, last year, they brought us new aprons, cookie cutters and cookie mix with a note saying, “let’s make cookies for our friends and neighbors.”
This year, it has become more of a “hide and seek” game with our elves.
Let’s face it! I’m one parenting it this year. I’m worn out. I’m out of ideas.
I do love seeing their faces after I move the Elves from one place to another. They get just as excited playing hide and seek as they did when the Elves brought fun activities and it’s MUCH easier. It’s much simpler. Best of all….they may not even move every day! #winning!
Changing the way we do our Elves has taught me a lot this season.
It has pointed out how, a lot of the pressure I was feeling was unnecessary.
My kids don’t NEED a silly elf to make the holiday special or to help us show kindness to others.
My kids don’t NEED me to risk my life pretending to be Clark Griswald and hanging up award-winning Christmas lights in our yard (no matter how many times they beg me for more Christmas blow up decorations!)
My kids don’t NEED me to have fresh-baked sugar cookies for them to decorate after school.
My kids don’t NEED me to take them to the Christmas tree farm to chop down a tree.
You know what my kids DO NEED?
They need me!
They need me to be the confident mommy that I am. They need me to have enough energy to tuck them in at night. They need me to keep making them healthy lunches and doing so with a grateful heart. They don’t need me so worn out at the end of the day from giving them the “perfect” Christmas that I can’t be their “perfect” mommy.
I love them so much it hurts.
The holidays are supposed to be a special time for us all to enjoy that love we have for each other.
So, do me a favor. Stop. Just stop trying to make Christmas “perfect.” Stop trying to make your tree look like Joanna Gaines decorated it. Do it with your kids and smile when you see those bulbs all clustered at eye level.
The memories are made in those moments when we slow down to just enjoy the moment. When we are too busy trying to perfect things, we lose sight of what it’s all about.
Take it for me.
I started this Christmas season feeling a bit low.
With my husband deployed, I assumed it was just going to be an awful holiday this year.
But, you know what? It’s turning out to be one of the best ones we’ve had. We have simplified SO much which has made it all so much better!
Mele Kalikimaka everyone!