‘Twas the month of December and all through the land, moms were making their perfect Christmas time plans. Plans for cute Santa pictures with no crying, gingerbread house making, and fabulous gift buying…
Sound familiar? If you’re like me, it does. I am notoriously guilty of getting swept up in the idea of having the “perfect experience” on every holiday. This need for a wonderful, fairy- tale-like day is especially bad this time of year. My love for Christmas, combined with my Type A personality, makes me a little crazy. Like most moms, I want to give my kids a wonderful Christmas filled with smiles, traditions, and magical memories. But I also want (and expect) the day to go smoothly because, well, it’s Christmas.
Unfortunately, what I seem to forget is that just because the calendar says it’s December 25th, does not mean the world suddenly turns into a Hallmark movie.
Life still happens – the good and the bad. Honestly, when you stop to think about it, Christmas is a recipe for disaster. The lack of sleep, change in routine, and sugar consumed are enough to send even the best kid over the edge. And with children, when does anything ever go according to plan?
Last Christmas gave me and my naïve expectations a big dose of reality.
It was the first Christmas in which my girls were old enough to appreciate all the festivities of the day. I had so many plans for all the fun we would have together. I was so excited for them to experience their first “real” Christmas. I was also determined that we were going to get a good quality family photo before the day was done. It didn’t seem like a lot to ask. It was going to be easy… So, like any good Southern mother would, I dressed my twin girls in coordinating smocked Christmas dresses complete with matching bows. They looked adorable and I was convinced that we were going to have the perfect day full of all the magic of Christmas.
We were at my grandmother’s house for less than an hour when disaster struck.
One of my daughters had a poop blow-out diaper the likes of which I had never seen. And, as luck would have it, this daughter also happened to be sitting in MY lap when the blow-out occurred. Her sweet Christmas outfit was a goner and so were my leggings. My husband and I spent the next half hour cleaning up the mess. We washed her off in the tub and I did my best to clean myself off too. To make matters even worse, I discovered I had forgotten to bring extra clothes for the girls. My cousin graciously lent me an extra onesie from her diaper bag. But, as luck would have it, it was too small to snap at the bottom. The family Christmas picture I wanted so badly, ended up featuring my daughter wearing no pants.
Looking back now, I can laugh at the whole situation. But in the moment, I was crushed. As silly as it seems now, my plans for the “perfect” Christmas day seemed ruined. Nothing went the way I had planned and I couldn’t believe it.
But, we have all been there, right? Holidays rarely seem to go the way we imagine. Children (and families) still fight on Christmas, tantrums still happen, moms still get tired, children still get sick, etc. We all want a Christmas we can look back on with only fond memories, but putting so much pressure on this one day living up to every expectation will only end in disappointment.
I have learned that when we expect perfection, we often miss all the little perfect moments occurring amidst the chaos. Even though something seemingly awful happened, I still saw my girls’ faces light up when they opened presents, I still got to be a part of four generations coming together to celebrate, and I still spent time with my huge, wonderful family. Those little moments are what make the holiday season so special.