In Defense of Holiday Mom

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.

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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.

Ourselves.

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.

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  • Jillian @ Hi! It's Jilly - Ha ha! Well said! We put way too much pressure on ourselves. We should just do what we want to do for our families and not worry about it! It’s hard to keep Satan at bay, though. HE’S the one who wants us to feel like we’re “not good enough”!ReplyCancel

    • Brooke - Totally agree, that’s always the hard part right? 😉ReplyCancel

  • Heather H - Love this!!ReplyCancel

  • Sheyann - While I agree with your perspective in most ways, there are those of us that despise the Mommy wars during the holidays for other reasons. I’m confident, no guilt, and great motives, but sometimes, it isn’t about either of those either.

    http://www.andysclan.com/2014/03/in-two-short-years-since-our-daughter.htmlReplyCancel

    • Brooke - I agree Sheyann! There are lots of aspects to this conversation. (In fact this blog post was just a portion of a 4 hour conversation I had with Whit and Soni!) I hope the more we all talk about it, the more we can combat the mommy wars. Thanks for the insight!ReplyCancel

    • Kristin - Thank you Sheyann, this article was so good. A new perspective I havent thought of. I am going to make sure to teach these things to my kids, for their sake and for the sake of others.ReplyCancel

  • Krista M - Aw Brookie, I love this. And you’re so right. It’s all about motive. A man I once was in love with, once told me (and the rest of us sitting in his Sunday School class) “It’s a daily battle to maintain pure motives.” P.S. sorry I gave you grief about your elf on the shelf 😉 xoReplyCancel

    • Brooke - Haha! I know you love me. 😉 And that quote needs to be cross-stitched on a pillow. Truer words have never been spoken! Love you.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - How can I post this to my Instagram page? I would love for others to see it who don’t follow me on facebook.ReplyCancel

    • Brooke - Ah, sharing on Instagram. The bane of our existence! Ha! I think the best thing to do would be to screen shot the picture, then put the link in your comments. It’s not clickable, but people can copy it! Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Robin Wilson - I love that you see both sides. I am an admitted over-achiever. I don’t have little kids anymore. But I go “all-out” when I decorate anything, especially for holidays. I feel like it’s a talent that God gave me. I don’t do it to show off. I do it to share my talent. I do it as a release. It makes me feel good. Some people like it, some don’t. We have enough things in this world to feel bad about. If it makes you happy and feel good… I say, do it!ReplyCancel

  • Monica Alters - I think it’s great that there are a variety of moms out there. We are all here to help each other. Where and what I lack others have filled in for me. I am truly thankful for dear friends that let their light shine in whatever way so I (and my kids) can be blessed by it.ReplyCancel

    • Brooke - You’re one of those moms to me! xoReplyCancel

  • Rachael Coon - How AWESOME is this!!! The post was great because it made me ask myself, “what are my motives?” And I can honestly say, it is my love for my children that makes me do the silly little extra stuff! 2 years ago I gave a talk on Easter Sunday and ever since then my out look on Easter is different and we started our own family traditions. In no way do I expect others to send out Easter Cards or on each Friday 3 weeks before Easter do I desire to have people give me homemade goodies ( we have each kid pick a family they think that need some Easter spirit). It is something that really, really means something special to me and I want to teach my kids that!! Thanks again for not shaming us Holiday Mom’s!!ReplyCancel

    • Brooke - Love that idea about Easter! And I love that your motives are so pure! xoReplyCancel

  • Kelly Jones - Could we give “The Joneses” a break? We’re just trying to live life here, not trying to impress anyone! ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Jones - I, of course….am only kidding. Great post, live and let live, being happy for other mom’s will help us be happy for ourselves.ReplyCancel

    • Brooke - Hahaha! You’re right, you poor Jones people! We should think of another name… 😉ReplyCancel

  • tracy - We celebrate St. Patrick’s day in America because the Irish immigrants who where being mistreated used it as a way to show solidarity and cultural indentification. If you look up the history of these celebrations and why they are held in America, you can teach your children the actual significance of them.ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - Yep. I agree 10000%. If you’re doing for your kids and cause you love it then wonderful,ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - This is awesome. I love being festive and celebrating even the littlest things because it is fun for me. I always worry that it puts off the wrong impression to others, because we are far from perfect. But…if we do it for the right reason, then it’s OK.

    In my opinion, I like having something to look forward to and a creative outlet. Plus, kids remember the little things. I’m not one to have a perfectly tidy house, but celebrating, I’ll choose that over cleaning any day.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Love, love, love! THANK YOU!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ Bombshell Bling - I am a MAJOR holiday mom because my mom was as well and it made my childhood so fun and magical…..but my son still took $2 Star Wars Legos Valentines to school. 🙂 No one cares! 🙂 Embrace the fun, erase the guilt! Great post. Holiday Moms unite!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - Thank you so much for speaking up for us! I was just telling a friend about that other post you mentioned, and I understand what she was saying, but left feeling dissed because I like to do little things for almost every holiday. Like you I don’t get all Pinterest on my kids but if I had the time I’d love to. It’s a creative and magical outlet for me and I love seein my kids light up, it’s not like these years will last forever anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Janell - This could not have been a better thing for me to read today! I definitely struggle being crafty and still being new to the mom thing I’m torn about traditions I want to start with my kids. I really only have to be me! That’s all they want anyway!ReplyCancel

  • anna - THANK YOU. well said.ReplyCancel

  • Josh - Hey, what about the Holiday Dads?? 🙂

    Anyway, I understand what you are saying, but I think you may be missing the point. As parents, it should NEVER matter what the other parents may or may not be thinking about you. The only thing that SHOULD matter is the happiness and well being of your children. I tend to “go large” for my young children (2nd grade and kindergarten) on holidays because I want to make it special for them. Not because of anything remotely to do with me, my social status or my friends on Facebook or follows on Twitter. My job as a parent is to take care of my children, not myself.

    School days, especially for young children, can be long and hard, and it’s our job, as their primary care providers, to make sure they are as happy and well taken care of as possible. I am the Head Room Parent for both my young children in their classrooms and I always ensure their school holiday parties are AWESOME, but I don’t do it to impress the other parents, I do it for the kids.ReplyCancel

  • Kristie - Amen sister! I was surprised other moms would be mad at me for my silly, thrifty traditions. Luckily I don’t really care what they think. And I don’t jude others for different not doing them. I do it to spread happiness and for myself.ReplyCancel

  • Judy Cook - always just be you and enjoy your family.ReplyCancel

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