I love the holidays. October through December is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather and shorter days. Attending harvest festivals, exchanging sentiments of thankfulness, and wrapping presents for everyone I know is totally right up my alley.
I love seeing everyone’s smiling, pajama-clad photos around the Christmas tree on Facebook, too. I even posted one of me and my kids on Christmas Eve. I’d like to think that some of these other moms are truly happy, calm, and singing “fa-la-la-la-la” all twelve days of Christmas, but I secretly hope that at least one of them yelled the f-word and threw a handful of candy canes at the wall.
Because I definitely did that on Christmas Day. My temper was germinated by a sleepless night with a toddler, watered by three kids jacked up on presents and hot chocolate grew due to ceaseless sibling fights over new toys and ripened when the long day with too much sugar and screaming finally hit my system full force.
Celebrating Christmas with the traditional presents, stockings, and Santa Claus myth is fun. I’m going to keep telling myself this for the next 11 months because we all know I will repeat this process next year. Hopefully, I can eliminate the breakdown and not cuss at the kitchen wall, though. I felt remorseful about losing my temper, and I also felt guilty because I realized I accidentally bought my middle child fewer presents than his siblings. Luckily, he is four years old and didn’t notice.
I noticed, though. My husband noticed. I felt guilty, even though the affected child wasn’t negatively affected. I knew my oversensitive reaction was largely fueled by lack of sleep and too much caffeine, but I started fixating on this single oversight.
And then I realized why I overlooked this particular aspect. It’s because Santa isn’t a myth; his name is actually “Mom” and he has too much to do in December. I took the kids to look at Christmas light displays, sit on Santa’s lap, and shop for gifts for their father. I designed, printed, and mailed our Christmas cards.
I made photo calendars to send to extended family members, some of whom are on my husband’s side and I have never met. I selected gifts for our three kids and my husband, carefully staying under budget. I picked out thoughtful stocking stuffers. I wrapped all these items, wrote out name tags, and artistically arranged them beneath the tree on Christmas Eve. I made cookies for Santa with the kids and helped them write their notes to leave on the table next to a carrot for Rudolph.
Next, I went to bed for two hours before the toddler woke up. I rocked him to sleep, then got up with him again in another three hours. He woke up again at 5:45 a.m. and we rocked in the recliner until the rest of the family woke up.
I know I’m not the only mom who is exhausted from all the festive fun we planned, orchestrated, and pulled off like a champ this holiday season. So, until next fall, let’s all pour a glass of wine and admit that we are glad the holidays are over. It’s time for a long winter’s nap.