If it were acceptable for adults to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what we want for Christmas this year, I’d ask for two things: (1) a 25th hour in every day and (2) a magic wand to rid all moms of this pesky thing called “mom guilt.” You know what I’m talking about; a conference call scheduled for 5 p.m. lasts longer than you anticipated, so your child is the last one to be picked up from school that evening. Mom guilt. Your Facebook feed is covered with pictures of your friends’ children in matching red and green outfits, visiting Santa with their wish lists, or decorating the tree, but you haven’t even taken the fake tree out of storage or bought a single present yet. Mom guilt. On Pinterest you see creative and silly Elf on the Shelf ideas that would surely make your little ones laugh each morning if they found that naughty elf getting into mischief; but you don’t have an elf, and if you did he probably wouldn’t have time for mischief. Mom guilt. You open the mail on December 1st to find the first holiday card has arrived and you realize you haven’t even taken one picture of your new family of four in the four months that your newest addition has been alive (nor have you selected a holiday card, arranged the layout or included a personal handwritten note for each recipient – ha!). Mom guilt.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Everywhere we turn there seems to be an opportunity for us moms (and dads!) to feel guilty about what we’re not doing, what we could be doing better or what we think we should be doing differently. It seems to be worse during the holidays, and amplified across social media networks.
During what should be the most magical time of year, it is easy as a working mom to worry about the things I’m not doing. Those lists above aren’t just ones I made up, they’re things I’ve struggle with and felt guilty about myself. But at the end of the day, pictures with Santa, a silly elf and holiday cards are not important. So I’m starting my new year’s resolutions a little early this year and resolving to let it go. I hope you’ll join me!
My sons aren’t going to be upset that they don’t meet Santa until December 23 (or at all if that’s how this year turns out). They won’t know that the elf even exists. And I’ve always loved the idea of Happy New Year cards anyway. The holidays are not about how much you can get done. They are not about capturing the perfect picture to post online for everyone to see. They are not about having the most decorated house or getting your gifts wrapped before Black Friday is over.
The holiday season is about spending time with friends and family. It’s about joy and love and celebration. It’s about welcoming in the New Year and all that a fresh start entails. So please, join me in my campaign to let go of the mommy guilt this holiday season. Know that whatever you are doing is more than enough. Don’t spend one more minute feeling bad for the things you are not doing! Instead, raise a glass with me to a wonderful year and know that your children are blessed to have you and that you are doing a great job as their mommy!
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