Holidays With Kids Series #3: Moms, you are not Santa.

Moms, you are not Santa.

You do not have magical reindeer. You cannot consume a gazillion chocolate chip cookies without getting gravely ill. And, most importantly, you do not have a staff of elves to do your bidding.

In a recent post I talked about how moms have overblown expectations for the holiday season—they expect magical things to happen and are crushed when the holidays don’t live up to the hype. Moms also have overblown expectations for themselves during the holidays. They believe they need to procure the perfect gifts, make the most delicious food, and be the most gracious hostesses. This would all be possible if moms had an extensive staff of willing elves, but unfortunately most of us are on our own.

Whenever I discuss this topic I think about one of my niece’s first holidays, when the hot toy was the “Chicken Dance Elmo.” My dad went through hell to get her one, only to have her toss it aside in favor of a $10 baby doll that my mom had bought at the drug store two days before Hanukkah. I also recall my own desperate and ultimately unsuccessful efforts to make a peanut butter pie, and the shocking realization on Christmas day that absolutely no one missed it.

The bottom line here is that holidays don’t have to be perfect to be really fun. Take the pressure off yourself to make things amazing, and ASK FOR HELP if you need it. Also, it’s fine to cut some corners. Go ahead and purchase some (a lot of?) prepared food; not everything needs to be home-cooked. Recognize that your kids don’t have to get every single item on their wish list to have a great holiday.

Cheesy as it may sound, what makes the holidays truly special is the people with whom you share them. Everything else is just gravy (or cranberry sauce, or whatever else you serve with your turkey).

I’ll say it one more time: Moms, you are not Santa. Embrace your limitations, cut some corners, and try to actually enjoy the season with your loved ones.

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I’m Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, Ph.D., aka DrCBTMom. combines the expert advice of a self-help book with the warmth and readability of a mommy blog.
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