I think there’s a lot of pressure on moms (and parents, in general) to remain happy-go-lucky during the holiday season. It’s the most magical time of the year, after all.
However, I think with that mindset comes a lot of guilt when there are less than magical moments popping up left and right throughout the joyful, holiday season. And by that, I mean, moments of reality.
On Christmas Eve, I got preoccupied with packing up the boys’ things, my things, the gifts for all the family members and the dog’s things so Jimmy could throw it all in the car while simultaneously preparing lunch for the twins. I turned my eyes away from the boys for just a moment (and we know that’s all it takes) when I heard a cry of pain ring out.
I ran over to them and immediately spotted the ring of teeth indentions on my little boy’s arm. He’d been bitten by his brother.
We’ve been struggling through this biting phase, you see. One of the twins is miles worse than his brother when it comes to biting. And we have tried just about everything in the book. And things don’t seem to be getting any better.
I was tired of the biting. I was tired of the packing. The microwave was beeping. The dog was barking. The laundry needed to be switched over. My child was crying. I was on sensory overload.
And so I yelled at my 15-month-old. On Christmas Eve.
And then I felt immensely guilty.
And I immediately I started crying.
Merry Christmas Eve to us. How’s that for a holly-jolly moment?
As is shown on social media, holiday movie favorites, Christmas songs and advertisements everywhere, the Christmas season is supposed to be filled with “children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile.” And when we and our children aren’t smiling and laughing, there can be some real “mom guilt” there. We can feel like we’ve somehow failed when every moment isn’t merry and bright. Almost like we’ve literally ruined Christmas.
But let me tell you something: while we can certainly create magical moments and cultivate some beautiful holiday memories, it’s important to remember that even during the magical holiday season…kids are still kids. Moms are still moms.
Toddlers don’t stop testing boundaries just because it’s Christmas time.
Moms don’t magically transform into Mary Poppins just because everything tells us we’re supposed to be merry and bright (although how great would that be).
Babies experiencing teething don’t stop fussing just because Santa is coming.
Postpartum hormones still rage no matter how hard you try to stifle them, no matter how hard you’re trying to be jolly.
We’re all still human, even in light of the holiday season.
So, if you had a breakdown or a blow up a time or two because your toddler had a 15 minute nap in a 12 hour period and was running solely on monkey bread and fudge and you experienced some less than merry moments during this jolly season, know this-you are not alone.
If you have any residual guilt hanging around after the holiday season, I hope you go easy on yourself. One day, your children will be old enough to see and remember all the work you put in to make their Christmas magical.
You will still walk out of this holiday season with plenty of joyful memories, no doubt blended with less than cheerful memories-because that is life. Who knows? Maybe it’s the less than jolly memories that will be told around the Christmas dinner table one day. And all of you will laugh together as you think back fondly to these holiday moments-both the merry and the scary.
Because, as they say, these are the “good ol’ days.” We will make it out of these seasons alive and live to tell the tale. And as we tell, we will laugh and cry and argue over the details of our chaos. And we will undoubtedly miss it.