Our first son arrived in the world just over one month before Christmas Eve. To say that I was still a little overwhelmed with being a mom for the first time when that Christmas rolled around is putting it very lightly. I would later be diagnosed with postpartum depression, but at that time, I thought I was just failing miserably. I didn't send Christmas cards. I didn't get gifts for all of the people who mattered to me. I didn't even have a large pile of presents for our little baby boy. I was so mad at myself that Christmas.
I look back at that Christmas and just want to hug myself.
More over, I want to hug any mom feeling that way this Christmas Eve.
Maybe you didn't get Christmas cards out this year. Maybe you are struggling financially to provide the necessities in life and the gifts aren't as plentiful as in previous years. Maybe you had plans to bake six kinds of cookies or make a homemade ornament or do something new or do something that has been a tradition for years -- and you just didn't. Couldn't. Tried and failed.
I'm here to tell you that it's okay.
Maybe this time of year is difficult for you for any number of reasons. Maybe you just had a new baby (congrats, by the way). Maybe your household caught a stomach virus and you've been down for weeks. Maybe work is busy or your kids or busy or your partner is busy or being busy is just busy. Maybe the reasons don't matter at all.
Because it really is okay.
As parents, and especially as moms, we place a lot of pressure on ourselves to give our families The Best Holiday Ever. I don't think that pressure goes away, as my mother-in-law who just had major surgery at the end of November was lamenting that she hadn't baked enough, hadn't been shopping enough. She just wanted to give her children and her grandchildren a memorable holiday. While there is no shame in wanting to provide our families with love and laughter and even material things that brighten their lives, I think we need to let go of the internal pressure to make it all elf glitter and snow angels.
Let's face it: The holidays are stressful. Family members are annoying. Your kids won't appreciate their pretty holiday attire or the decorations or that heirloom stocking. Your dog will still pee on the floor. The cat will bother the tree. You will get a gift that makes you think, "Obviously these people don't know me or appreciate me at all." And...
...life will go on.
Don't beat yourself up if this isn't the Christmas Eve you dreamed up when you imagined having your own family. Don't feel that the whole holiday is ruined because you didn't get the It Gift for your kid this year. Let go of all of those pressures to make it The Best Christmas Ever and just enjoy it. Make that your gift to yourself this year.
Merry Christmas, Mom.
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