Over the summer I wrote a blog post about some things I was NOT going to be feeling guilty about. You know the type of thing, from sending the kids to summer classes through to not giving them enough ‘exciting’ experiences. So when I was asked by the brilliant Mini First Aid to do a guest blog post, as we approach a time of year which has equal, if not more potential for piling on the guilt (you know, even more than on the standard day) I thought it was time for another list.
Writing this has helped me to highlight potential times where I might be tempted to beat myself up with the nearest Santa hat. It’s helped me to get clear on my priorities and I hope that it might also serve as a timely reminder that those pictures on Instagram, you know the ones, of the family stood in front of an immaculately decorated Christmas tree wearing matching (clean) jammies, are probably in reality eating fish finger butties for the fourth time that week and tripping over a pile of dirty nappies on the way to the freezer. Or maybe that’s just me (though the jammies wouldn’t be clean…or matching come to think of it).
What I won't be feeling guilty about . . .
1. I won’t be feeling guilty about how clean or tidy or ‘finished’ our house is. We’re having guests for a few days over the holidays and there is a part of me desperate to finish that list of jobs that need doing prior to their arrival. You know, like fix the pictures on the bedroom wall that were knocked off during a particularly raucous pillow fight. And sort out the playroom which you can barely walk through because some-how, SOME HOW, more toys seem to walk through our door on their own. And do a big clean so that it is all nice and sparkly for them arriving. But this is not going to happen, because there is too much fun to be had, too many new toys to be playing with, too much food to be eating, too many nativities and present buying tasks in December without adding on a load more. And that is o.k, because our friends are not coming to assess if our house is clean and tidy, they are coming to spend time with us.
2. I won’t be feeling guilty about the presents we buy for our children. Oh my, this one is a biggie. Last year we committed to an amount we could afford to spend and agreed that less was most definitely more. Our kids are so lucky and so happy without needing more stuff. And yet last minute I panicked and ended up buying them all a couple of extra things each. WTF?! I heard them chatting about friends who were getting fancy gadgets, adverts they’d seen for toys that looked AMAZING and the fear of disappointment became too much. But when I asked recently none of them could quite remember what they got for Christmas last year. One of two things came out but they weren’t the ‘main event’ but rather random stocking fillers - whoppee cushion for a £1 anyone? And the things they do talk about are the activities and experiences we did together, like going out to see the Christmas lights in their jammies and the pantomime they went to with my sister. So I won’t be feeling guilty about reining it right in when it comes to present buying this year. Why should you feel guilty when you’re just doing your very best with the time and money you have available!
3. I won’t be feeling guilty about any of the short cuts, quick wins, ‘cheat’ options that are going to make Christmas a bit less hectic and stressful this year. Our main mantra is ‘the simpler the better’. For us that means pre prepared vegetables (in fact, who am I kidding, pre prepared entire Christmas dinner), Christmas cards purely for the elderly folk in our extended family, and getting as much done ahead of time as possible. We’re consciously considering which parts of Christmas bring us the most joy and making sure our time is spent on these and not anything else which we feel we ‘should’be doing.
What we are NOT going to do!
To help with this we’ve chatted through a list of things we’re just not going to do and although a few of them felt a bit, eeeek, actually it’s a bit of a relief. For example:
- We’re not going to attempt to bake when what actually happens is that we struggle to fit it in and then end up running to Co-op to buy some mince pies last minute.
- We’re not going to force the kids to get dressed on Christmas day for when the rellies come round, they can stay in their jammies for the whole week if they like (pretty sure this includes me too, ha).
- We’re not going to spend £60 on taking them to some sort of orchestral performance which will actually just feel like an endurance test and cost us another £60 in snacks to keep them sat still for the privilege.
- We’re not going to care if our Christmas tree looks like four kids have decorated it (because they will have done).
You get the gist. Obviously this is a list of things unique to us, but I’d encourage you to try and create your own. Then when it comes to feeling that guilt, zero tolerance!!! No comparisons, no ridiculously unrealistic expectations, no guilt!!!
Have a good one! The Guilty Mothers Club xxx
Oh and if you do fancy a bit of a guide to planning Christmas (including tips on how to share the load equally if you are in a relationship) then you’ll find one of these on the Guilty Mothers Club website here. As well as the waiting list for our new membership which launches in January where we’ll be absolutely ditching the guilt and finding time for ourselves in 2020.