If you can do just one thing for yourself for Christmas this year, what would it be?
I know your mind may immediately conjure scenarios including a night off from the kids, spa treatments, prosecco, bars, adult conversation, chocolate eaten at your own pace because there’s no one there to steal it.
These are all treats that we dream of, and I hope that if you didn’t manage at least one this year that you start 2019 with the goal of getting yourself some serious me time.
But I propose something that on the face of it is a little more simple, though it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
This Christmas your gift to you should be to give yourself a big, fat pat on the back. Congratulate yourself on being a bloody amazing mum, remind yourself that what you do day-in, day-out is more than enough.
And most importantly, leave the mum guilt at the door, well away from your family festivities, where it belongs.
We have a habit of beating ourselves up over every tiny detail at the best of times, but Christmas seems to bring out the worst in the monstrous mum guilts.
We feel bad we haven’t bought enough Christmas presents.
We feel bad we haven’t got the must-have toy.
We feel bad because we are so stressed.
We feel bad we bought a costume for the Christmas play instead of making one.
We feel bad about dragging the kids to the shops every weekend.
We feel bad when we snap because having to do it all is so overwhelming.
Well I’m here to propose that our gift to ourselves this year is giving us a break. Let’s stop the guilts and let’s be content with what we are getting done.
Think of everything you’ve achieved this year; the meltdowns you’ve handled, the vomit-covered clothes you’ve cleaned and the endless cluster feeding you’ve endured.
Most of the time we all run along at a million miles an hour and still feel as if we don’t quite manage to keep up.
December is even harder, with presents to organise, the house to prepare for guests, school plays to attend, kids to entertain and a turkey to roast.
It’s a busy time of year, one where our stress levels can peak, not helped by the endless stream of Insta-perfect festive celebrations being posted on social media.
Now is a time to drown out all of the noise coming from others, because the only thing that matters is you and your family. Drown out the guilty voice in your head saying what you’ve done isn’t good enough, because honestly it really really is.
Remember that whatever you have bought your kids for Christmas – big or small – the thing that they will remember most of all is being with you. When you reflect on your own childhood Christmases the things that stand out may include that bike you got one year, but mostly it will be the family jokes, the meals together and the atmosphere you enjoyed.
Don’t panic that you haven’t bought them the world, because to them you ARE the world. And the moon. And the sodding stars too.
This Christmas give yourself a break and enjoy it for what it is. A celebration with family, not a competition, or a sign that you’ve “won” at motherhood.
Give mum guilt the heave-ho, and while you’re at it, make it your New Year’s Resolution to banish it for the entire year too.