We need to talk about Christmas, or Stressmas as I have renamed it. This year I am particularly suffering with the pressure of it all. I haven’t started wrapping and I know that when I do, they won’t look like the Instagrammable beauties that fill my feed every day. I haven’t even finished shopping damn it. I haven’t made my own wreath, I haven’t even BOUGHT a wreath! I’ve got to finish the online food shop, I must remember to order more tin foil, I can’t even decide what to eat tonight, never mind next week.  The house is a bomb, there is dirty washing strewn all over the place because after two sleep deprived nights with Tom, i’m too exhausted to nag the boys to pick up their crap. The dishwasher needs emptying, the fridge needs emptying and cleaning before the online shop comes. I haven’t done ANY Christmas baking with the boys -BAD MOTHER! Oh God, I feel so guilty about homeless people and i’m sat here worrying about my dishwasher needing emptying, what can I do to help them. And the environment, am I being environmentally friendly enough?! The list goes on and on and on.

But today I sat myself down and said ‘STOP. JUST STOP.’ I need to give myself a break. David hasn’t been here, not even in the country so I have been flying solo with the kids. The boys are tired and emotional at the end of term, especially Jack who is so upset that his favourite teacher is leaving so those feelings have been coming out in some SPECTACULAR behaviour. Tom has had poorly ears but not an infection because I whipped him off to the doctors at the first sign of a problem and there was nothing there to cause concern so we just had to wait for it to pass. Mum has had flu and been in hospital, then a care home. All these day to day things that I am just about coping with, WITHOUT the stress of Christmas on top. I recently went on a course to learn to practice reiki and one of the precepts that you learn is “Just for today; Do not worry.” I have been repeating this to myself daily as part of my reiki practice but haven’t ACTUALLY been taking it in because it has been swallowed up by my worrying about my Christmas to do list.

And you, you all have stuff going on too. I have spoken to so may people over the past few weeks with so much going on in their personal lives and we all just seem to be finding Christmas too much. My friend turned to me the other day and said ‘I hate Christmas’, I nearly wept at the relief that somebody else felt like this, I wasn’t alone. Actually, so many people feel like this, it’s like an underground movement of secret Christmas haters.

I don’t want to hate it, I want to love it and treasure every twinkly light filled moment. I have visions of myself in a beautiful, tidy John Lewis-esque home , tastefully decorated for Christmas complete with a roaring log fire, i’m wearing something stylish and we’re all opening presents in a civilised manner, glass of champagne in hand. The truth is, my house is like a bomb has hit, my curtains don’t go with my sofa because David and I can’t agree on a curtain colour so we’re stuck until we can agree. The tree is massively top heavy because i’ve had to move all the decorations away from Tom who has been hell bent on destroying them, I have lost a lot of good decorations at the hand of that mini monster this year. I will probably wear something nice to church on Christmas Day and then I will more than likely change into jeans or even JOGGERS when we get back because I want to cook AND EAT in comfort and I also don’t want my nice dress to stink of Christmas lunch. I will probably buy a lot of our Christmas lunch pre-prepared – thank you M&S! The only people who actually care about the food is David and I, the boys will not eat most of it. Their Christmas diet will most likely consist of sandwiches, crisps and lots of chocolate. The presents, well, it will be my crap wrapping and i’ll more than likely just write the boys name ON the paper with pen. THEY WON’T CARE. I don’t remember caring about how my presents were wrapped as a child, I cared what was under the paper! My kids are absolutely the same! As they get older they may appreciate ribbons and tags but at 9,7 and 2, they give no shits. There is also that sentiment of “It’s not what’s under the tree but who’s around it” which is LOVELY but not entirely realistic in this day and age. I can tell you now that if I got my children nothing but went ‘It’s ok, i’m here!’ there would be absolute bloody uproar. They would be appalled.

I think that we all need to give ourselves a break and remember that things don’t need to be perfect. On one of the numerous parenting courses I have been on, one of our teachers said ‘70% is good enough to your child, the other 30% doesn’t matter’. I have to remind myself of that a lot in parenting, and in life actually; 70% is good enough. Your child doesn’t need a perfect parent and they don’t need a perfect Christmas. You are no good to them if you have stressed yourself out so much that you are wrung out, ratty and not enjoying yourself. So cut some corners on stuff, if you’re happy, your kids are more likely to be happy. The other thing that I have to tell myself is ‘Stop expecting it to look how you thought it was going to look.’ No I don’t have a perfect house, but we have a roof over our heads, we have food, we have love (ah c’mon it’s not Christmas without a little schmaltz, stop being sick in your mouth).

The other thing I want to say is that if you do have a perfect home, got up at 5 to prep Christmas lunch, have exquisitely wrapped gifts and are generally ON TOP OF YOUR SHIT AND LOVING CHRISTMAS, then that is great! If you can handle it,  I think that’s fantastic. I am just one of those who has been swamped and had to stop and give myself a talking to and I am not the only one!

As for homelessness and the environment, well I can’t solve these problems myself, I can only do as much as I can and I suppose if we all do a little something towards it, it adds up.

Have a very Happy Christmas; let’s all try to be kind to each other; remember that everybody has stuff going on; do what we can where we can; a smile goes a very long way and do not worry! x

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