There can’t be any time of year when we feel as much pressure to be perfect as we do at Christmas.
Is it something that parents feel more than anyone else? Is it something mothers feel more? Is it something some mothers are able to turn their back on? I don’t know.
Is it something we put on ourselves? Or something it’s impossible to avoid?
I know that for me, the ideal of a picture perfect Christmas is something I can’t help but want. Not for me, but for my children. They are too young really to know whether I feel like I get everything right come Thursday. They’ll have the best time just because they’ll be surrounded by family making a fuss of them with little to do other than play. Yet still, I have in my mind an image of all the things I want for them on that one day. Why?
Of course, I tell the world all year that supermum doesn’t exist. I try to believe I can see past the creation of the motherhood myth (in which the dream mother never raises her voice, makes her own Christmas decorations and gifts, and generally goes the extra 17 miles to make life beautiful)… Despite all this – at Christmas, that perfect mother and her Pinterest-pretty life overshadows everything.
She’s there watching me when I’m feeding my son chocolates from his tacky advent calendar because I didn’t hand stitch one and craft a miniature nativity figure for each morning. She’s there laughing when I drape tinsel and cheap supermarket baubles on the tree because we didn’t bother making salt dough decorations. She’s there when I forget to write the Christmas cards, when I fail to get the kids to make any paintings to give to family members, or cookies to give to nursery teachers.
The perfect mother, with her Instagram-ready life, with her beautifully decorated home and her carefully wrapped presents, she’s in my head. All. The. Time.
And the more she is there, the more I realise, my life is so far from picture perfect that it’s laughable – particularly as Christmas nears.
I worked today and every day last week. I’ll log on and do a little every morning through the holidays. The kids will probably watch TV. Not so perfect.
In the last month, Jasmin has had a chest infection, both her and Milin have had conjunctivitis, and both have had chicken pox. Jasmin’s is so bad that her tiny body is still covered. She woke with a fever and I had to swap the office for the doctor’s surgery.
It’s been a long year. Life with a two-year-old and a one-year-old makes you tired. I took on too much work. I missed too many yoga classes. We are trying to buy a house and full of the stress of mortgage arrangements and full surveys. We carry the burden of over-burdening my amazing parents because we can’t shoulder life on our own sometimes.
And so, life doesn’t look perfect.
But what it feels like, when I manage to turn my back on the mother I will never be, is something very wonderful.
When I have the sense to step away from the image of a model Christmas, I realise how bloody lucky I am to have the Christmas we will be having.
We are all largely healthy and happy and together. We will laugh and drink and feast. We will cry over crap movies on the tele. We will sing songs out of tune. We will play silly games and concoct fanstastical tales about Santa and the elves. Milin and Jasmin will be happy.
I am trying my hardest to ignore the mythical motherhood figure who I know doesn’t exist. I don’t need her around this Christmas.
To have a good look at the reality of Christmas at our place, take a look at my vlog on Perfect Parenting for Mum Talk TV…. and let me know what Christmas looks like at yours this year….!