When the kids are grown (in years to come) and picking apart your mothering skills, no one will say that you didn’t do everything possible to make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, right?
Remind them it was not about keeping up with the neighbors who had 20,000 Christmas lights on their lawn, made toys for poor kids and visited every Christmas activity, their mini van’s engine hardly cooling all December.
It was, and still is, about teaching your children some very important life skills while celebrating.
This month is the perfect time to slip in some teaching/parenting lessons, while you dangle the promise of toys in front of them.
1. When you get to Snowflake Lane at Bellevue Square at 7:20 p.m. and find there are no parking spaces or discover that the show just ended, the lesson of planning, checking schedules online, leaving early to avoid traffic would fit in here. (note: This lesson is best taught at Yo Plateau or U Top It in Sammamish where you will drive to make up for your disorganization)
2. Should you take them to Breakfast with Santa, pay extra for a photograph with your children on the Big Guy’s lap, and discover that they are terrified to be within twenty-seven feet of him, patience would be the obvious lesson here. That one is for you. Walk away from your dream of your darlings on Santa’s lap. Avoid future therapy costs and teach your children that Mommy did not put her expectations over her children’s fears. The money she paid for the photo is easily forgotten, as is the idea of having that photo decorate the wall every year at Christmas. Mommy can 'photoshop' one later with a picture of happy children.
The children’s lesson is that Mommy loves them. A letter from the scary man in a strange costume might suffice.
3. Taking children to Toys 'R' Us or any toy store this time of year to pick out a sibling gift is just plain ridiculous. Don’t do it. This lesson is for Mom alone. No child can go shopping at a toy store, this time of year to buy something for someone else without tears. Don’t try to teach the spirit of giving to a young child at a toy store at Christmas. Period. Bartells has toys. Safeway too.
4. Having to decorate only the top third of your tree because this is the puppy’s first Christmas and doesn’t understand that a tree in the house with keepsake ornaments is off limits, is a lesson for your children about sacrifice. If they are upset because the tree looks strange, remind them that they wanted a puppy and then throw in that no one but you walks the puppy or feeds or gets up in the middle of the night with their puppy and you’re too tired to argue about what the tree looks like. (sorry, I’m getting carried away here).
5. When your children make a wish list as long as the driveway and you wonder how you can possibly fulfill their Christmas morning dreams, you must pull out the word moderation and explain that Santa can’t possibly put it all in the sleigh and only a few things will be chosen off that mega-list. Then you can teach them to throw their tear-soaked tissues in the trash when they finish crying. That lesson is cleanliness (as if I have to explain that to a mother!)
Enjoy the season, take your meds, ease up on the chardonay, don't electrocute yourself whilst putting up the lights and don't forget to buy yourself a little sompin, sompin to reward yourself for another Christmas well-done.
Over and out.