A couple weeks ago, Whitney wrote a darling blog post about the different types of moms in the world, and how we can celebrate the type of mom WE are. Well, I’m here to defend a mom type.
The Holiday mom.
Recently I read an article about the way parents have turned mediocre holidays into larger-than-life productions. I found myself nodding in agreement while I read it, especially since we just finished celebrating St. Patricks Day. (I admire St. Patrick, but I’m boggled why we celebrate it in the US. And the leprechaun makes no sense.) But even though I agreed with many of the points made in the post, I felt the need to defend the ones that love the production.
Because to be honest, I’m sort of one of those moms.
I’m definitely no over-achiever, but for each holiday I do have a few traditions. I dye my milk green and serve Lucky Charms for St. Patricks Day. We have heart waffles and fondue on Valentine’s Day. I own an elf that sits on my shelf at Christmas time. (That’s all he does, he’s rather boring, but I digress.) Those things are fun for me. I enjoy watching my kids’ eyes light up when it’s time to decorate for Halloween. I love that they know that every 4th of July there will be red, white, and blue t-shirts to wear. I love that they expect pumpkin pancakes for General Conference weekend.
I think the discussion over all this comes down to two points: GUILT and MOTIVE.
A friend of mine recently mentioned how guilty she felt when she sent her son to school with store bought valentines, and how the other moms at school will probably judge her for it. As I thought about it, I realized I hadn’t even glanced at my kids’ Valentines. I had no clue who made homemade ones and who purchased theirs at Walmart. But if I had, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. That may say more about my lack of observation skills than anything else, but to be honest, I think 99% of the moms out there DON’T CARE. Which makes me think that any guilt or pressure we feel to make our holidays over the top come from one source.
Do you love going above and beyond for holidays? Great! You shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Do you feel like you have other things to concentrate on? Great! You shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
This year I didn’t post one thing on Instagram or Facebook about our Valentine’s Day celebrations. And of course, no one called or texted me to express concern for my poor holiday skills or the well-being of my children. It sounds crazy to even think someone would, yet we feel like we should live up to the expectations to those around us in our social world. But the expectations simply don’t exist. And if they do, I hope that I am comfortable enough with myself that those opinions don’t matter. The pressure to impress others only possesses power if I allow it. If I choose to rise above, it loses that power.
I think the important thing to ask ourselves is, “what is my motive”? Do we love to decorate and celebrate because we feel we’re building memories for our children? Because it’s an outlet? Because it’s simply a fun gift inside ourselves we want to cultivate?
Or are we doing it to compete? To create jealousy and envy? To get 45 likes on Instagram? To participate in the nobody-wins-game of “Keeping up with the Joneses’”?
If our motives are in the right place, then there’s no need to feel guilt. If you simply love to do it, then decorate! Celebrate! Bake! Have fun! And if all of those things make you squirm in dislike, then celebrate the other amazing gifts you bring to your family. (I even have a non-holiday mom friend who avoids all social media on holidays, just to give her peace about the whole thing!)
So to those who would rather gnaw on an old shoe than throw an extravagant holiday party–you’re off the hook. What you’re doing with your family is awesome.
And to the other Holiday Moms out there, Happy Extraterrestrial Abductions Day.