One might think the holiday season begins in December. But for most Moms, it began in October. The launch of the season we now refer to as Hallothanksmas.
The juggle is real, my friends.
We're just days away from December. On the one hand, I absolutely love every single thing about “the most wonderful time of the year.” The twinkle lights, the music, the movies, the generous hearts… On the other hand, the Christmas season means a boatload TON of more work for me. The entirety of my family's Christmas joy rests on my shoulders.
The house has perfectly strung Christmas lights outside. The front door boasts of a flawless Pinterest-inspired wreath. Your real Christmas tree (that your family drove miles to retrieve from a charming tree farm) is decked out with all of the traditional family Christmas ornaments.
Homemade eggnog, family movie nights, tickets to the Nutcracker, ice skating, a gingerbread house made from scratch, a driving tour of Christmas lights with hot cocoa in thermoses and the end-all, be-all…a perfect family photo taken somewhere rustic, on a high quality photo card mailed to all of your friends and family.
That's what “good Moms do.”
My Journey to Becoming a Bad Mom
Last year I was invited by a local Mom-blogger to attend an early screening of A Bad Moms Christmas. Three under-appreciated and over-burdened moms, feeling tormented by the pressures being put on them to stage the perfect holiday, rebel against the unrealistic expectations of Christmas.
Let's just say I was inspired.
Being a Bad Mom means saying no to the Pinterest-perfect, all-the-boxes-checked kind of Christmas. It doesn't mean you don't care or take pride in creating a memorable holiday for the ones you love. It simply means identifying what is most important to your family, and eliminating the superfluous rest of it in the name of peace on earth.
Raise your hand if you want to dial it down and be a Bad Mom with me this season? I have five tips for you.
1. Simplify the decorations.
Really all you need is some festive garland (any kind will do), twinkle lights, a few candy canes and you're all set. Don't spend endless hours trying to make your home look like a holiday home decor catalog. Your kids are simply looking for a few images of Santa, a tree, and some lights. They're not looking for grand holiday scapes on the mantle. Who are you doing this for?
If it makes you happy, by all means, proceed and I will be one of the first to admire it wholeheartedly.
But if it feels at all like a burden, a competition or a “should” in any way, shape or form…please stop now and go watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special instead. His tree was pretty sad, but that wasn't the true meaning of Christmas, right?
2. Embrace Your Pinterest Fail.
Pinterest. I love it. Hate it. And everything in between.
If you absolutely insist on crafting or baking from scratch this season, embrace the mess. However it turns out, it was sure fun trying, right? Google “Pinterest Fails” you'll discover that there are thousands of other women whose ambitious DIY projects almost ruined the holidays.
Don't do it. You have all year long to DIY something if you really want to give it a go… Maybe this isn't the time of year to add a homemade gingerbread house to your list. Buy the frosted cookies from the grocery store bakery.
3. “Deck the halls and not your family… fa la la la la”
I confess – when I become overwhelmed or tense, my family is the first recipient of my wrath. Remember this moment from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?
Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas…”
In an effort to avoid a similar moment at my house this year, I'm going to lower the expectations right here, right now. Rather than draft a list of things we should do this holiday season, I'm going to draft a list of things we shouldn't do. Pick a few of your favorite activities and traditions, then spend the rest of your time cozied up on the couch watching holiday movies with your family.
4. “Moms don't enjoy, they give joy.”
This was my favorite quote from The Bad Moms Christmas movie. According to that Mom, we're not supposed to enjoy the holiday season, we're just supposed to tirelessly create joy for the ones we love.
Nope. You, my fellow Mom, need to enjoy the holidays, too. Your kids are growing up quickly; you should absorb all of the special moments right now.
You need a breather from time to time. Your energy is not limitless (although pretty close). We Moms desperately want to soak up the sweetness of the holidays as much as anyone else does. So yes…give joy…but maintain boundaries that allow you to enjoy as well.
5. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…on social media.
You do not have to supply evidence to the world that your family is enjoying the holidays.
I do love to share pictures online and I enjoy seeing my friends' sweet pics also, but the pressure that I feel to share our photo with Santa because everyone did, is just insane. It's sort of a “me too, me too!” mentality and it's exhausting. You are under no obligation to stop everything and document your special moments for the world's entertainment.
And please realize that it's okay if your family doesn't attend/do/make the same things as you saw your friends doing online. Christmas is not going to look the same for every family. Your traditions are your traditions. And it is enough.
From My Heart to Yours, Fellow Moms…
We're not supposed to do Christmas…we're supposed to celebrate it.
Christmas isn’t perfectly polished, it's messy. And hopefully, fun! Determine what is most important to your family, and settle into the appropriate level of holiday fanfare that you can reasonably execute without losing your peace and joy.