It’s Christmas Day … and according to everything we read, see and hear, we should all be completely exhausted!
According to the popular version of mums at Christmas time, we should all have been spending months shopping for gifts, weeks planning the menu for the big day and the last week getting the house ‘Christmas ready’.
We’ve got wreaths at the door, the house is spotless, the kids are all playing happily by the tree and everyone is bustling ’round the house to the Christmassy aromas of gingerbread baking and fruit mince bubbling.
Very big shoes to fill I say.
Because I don’t know about you but even if I did aspire to this ideal, I’ve never once in my 22 years of being married and 13 years being a mum managed to pull it off – I don’t ever come close. Christmas time for me is usually a mad race to the finish line. The finish line I end up cursing and asking why we all have to have this one day in the calendar that is SO FULL OF EXPECTATION.
Whether it’s true or not, I feel as though everyone expects we’ll spend the day with them – but because of distance, the cost of travel and the fact our house is too small to cope with more than two visitors at a time, this can’t happen. So we spend our lives alternating between families and feeling guilty if we even think about planning a Christmas that might not include them. I’m fairly sure they would understand but again, it’s my own set of expectations playing on my mind.
And as wrong as it is, everything my kids read, see, hear and have been exposed to, creates an expectation of a big pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. And knowing this, I spend the month leading up to Christmas stressing over how much money I will spend. And even if I could afford to go crazy and splash out, I wouldn’t. I find it all a bit scary that so much is invested into one day. By the time each of my children get even a small gift from each set of grandparents, one gift from Santa, one gift from us, one gift from each other (we’re trying to get them to think of their siblings instead of just their own wish list) and their one from Aunt, Uncle and cousins, the present pile is significant. Their gift stash is logical – one gift per gift givee with a dollar limit, but I do still think it’s too much. I worry they have no concept of how much everything costs and I worry when I hear them tell me what sorts of gifts the children at school are receiving!
As I said, it’s my own set of expectations that leave me worrying more about what I’m supposed to be doing, cooking, thinking and feeling. So this year I’m binning my expectations and I’m going to find peace.
And PEACE with your situation is my wish for you too.
I’m going to find peace with the fact that Christmas lunch won’t look like a magazine photo shoot, peace that I don’t look like I could be in said photo shoot, peace with the fact that my kids will probably fight with each other and that my hubby will sleep on the couch after lunch instead of joining in with the boardgame. If this is my biggest issue, I need to get a grip. There are a million people today who have splintered families who will not be together today or any day.
If this is you, my wish for you is peace. A peace that will enable you to get through the day and look ahead to better times.
I’m going to find peace with the fact that for the last 11 Christmas Days, my second son has not been here. He died when he was 17 months old and I miss him everyday but of course more keenly on days like this. I could rage at the universe and ask why he is not here but I know there are thousands of mums out there just like me who mourn their children today and every day.
If this is you, my wish for you is to be able to find a moment in your day to find peace. A peace where you can connect with the memory of your child and hold them close – if only in your mind.
I’m going to find peace with the fact that my Dad died way too soon of an illness that left him disconnected from everything for years before he died. Like my son, I’ll find a moment in the day to connect with him – I’ll remember him through my own teenage eyes – wearing a crazy Christmas cracker hat while he carves the ham and playing water volleyball with us all Christmas Day afternoon!
If, like me you are mourning other family members, my wish for you is peace. A peace that allows you to know that they will always be in your heart.
I could go on and on but you get the jist. The fact is there won’t be a perfect Christmas Day anywhere today. Well not perfect as in what we’re told Christmas Day should be. But the perfect Christmas Days will be those where there is peace, love, acceptance and gratefulness.
I’m not going to say Merry Christmas – too many expectations.
I’m going to say LOVE, HUGS and a PEACEFUL Christmas to you all.
May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing the whole year through.
Nikki (Founder of MoM & Mum of 4)