As a mom, it’s easy to feel like a complete failure at times.
Who can keep up with all of the things that “good moms” are supposed to do?
I suspect it is even easier to feel like a failure during the holidays because the expectations of the season make the bar feel so high.
And scrolling through social media doesn’t help. It usually pushes that hypothetical bar even higher. Everyone else appears to be doing life beautifully while you know the reality of your own situation.
Well, I am here to assure you that for every pretty picture of Christmas lights hanging in the kids’ bedrooms, there are realities behind the scenes that weren’t captured for the world to see.
So as we begin a new holiday season, let me share some of the realities that were true during our past Christmas seasons.
Christmas Mom Guilt
The guilt of imperfection can be a heavy load at this time of year. In addition to all of the typical parenting tasks, we are expected to add in holiday traditions and memory making fun.
It can feel like a lot.
But we don’t have to do it all. Instead, let’s learn to embrace the things that bring us joy and be okay with dropping the ball in other areas without feeling the christmas mom guilt.
Dropping the Ball on Traditions
Our family has a few holiday traditions that we enjoy. One of them is our Jesse Tree tradition, which involves a daily reading and ornament hanging.
Unfortunately this year, we didn’t finish. In fact, we didn’t even come close to finishing. We didn’t even make it past Day 10. Oh, rest assured that those first 10 days were good ones, but then life got busy and I just dropped the ball.
I’ll go ahead and blame this failure on my birthday. I turned 40 on December 20th and the month held a few birthday treats including a surprise visit, a weekend away and special dinners. It was a fantastic and memorable month, but the regular seasonal routines were completely thrown off.
And the Jesse Tree took a back seat to Mom’s 40th. How very selfish of me. (*wink)
Dropping the Ball on Decor
Oh I love looking at holiday lights and festive decor. There is so much beauty being created during the holiday season.
So how did my decor stack up?
Here it is in all its splendor and glory:
Do you see it? The fantastic teal Christmas tree?
I grabbed it this year for my mantle because it matched the everyday color theme. The addition of that little tree created the most Christmas-y mantle I have ever had. Normally, I don’t even bother with any seasonal decor, but that little teal tree was calling my name, so I made an exception.
For the most part, decorating is not one of the many adulting tasks that inspire me I would much rather go out for coffee with a friend or write on this blog or read a good book or about a million other things.
Which means that there is a very good chance that my little teal tree might still be there in February. Because I don’t enjoy “un-decorating” either.
But rather than looking at myself as a mom who fails at decorating, I prefer to classify myself as a success at being the mom that doesn’t decorate!
Thank goodness the kids have their dad who hangs those lights in the bedroom. And I can thank my oldest daughter for hanging the stockings in a timely manner each year. I just sit and eat chocolates while they all work (ahem)
Dropping the Ball on Important Dates
Now let’s talk about Christmas Eve. I enjoyed peeking at the beautiful dinners, matching outfits, and table settings while scrolling through Instagram. But there weren’t any pictures like that coming from my little corner of the world.
Our Christmas Eve dinner consisted of leftovers. Everyone had a choice: a bowl of chili or Asian Chicken. And just to make it a little more well rounded, I did put out a lovely bowl of grapes and some baby carrots.
To top off this special meal, we ate our dinner on trays in the living room while watching a Christmas movie on Amazon. Nothing fancy was going on at the Wilson house.
Dropping the Ball on Family Photos
And all of those beautiful family photos of the kids on Christmas?
Yeah. About that.
It occurred to me as I scrolled through Facebook on Christmas Day that I did not take a family picture at all this Christmas. And I certainly didn’t have a picture of my kids in front of the tree. Whoops.
I finally remembered to gather everyone on December 27th as I was headed to bed early because I didn’t feel so hot. So here we are in our finest casual wear for the official 2016 family Christmas photo.
Cause that is how we roll at the Wilson house. In bright red socks with pants that are too short. And tie-dye. And sweats.
I didn’t notice how short Daniel’s pants were until I posted this picture. Seriously. The boy needs some longer pants.
But in all this mess, I am learning.
And I have realized that we often count our imperfections as failures instead of embracing them as part of who we are.
But, instead, I am learning to accept the imperfections as the very things that make me unique.
I’m the mom that might serve you leftovers in our non-decorated family room before we rock out a fantastic card or board game. Then I’ll take you for a drive to look at light displays while we sing Christmas carols in the car. When we get home, it is hot chocolate with whipped cream for everyone!
And I don’t care if your pants are too short.
Because that is the mom that I am.
And I am grateful when my kids remind me that I am enough for them.
In fact, as I was struggling with the guilt I felt about the lack of a fancy Christmas Eve dinner, my daughter made a comment on her way to bed that night:
“That was so much fun, Mom. We should watch a movie every Christmas Eve.”
BAM. There it is. The reminder we all need:
Embrace who you are, Mama! You are the mom they adore.
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