Why I Don’t Want the Perfect Christmas this Year
Guest Post by Abi Jones from Something About Baby
Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I am your typical Pinterest mum. I have this deep rooted need to make sure every tiny detail is perfect and planned to the last second!
Holidays have an hour by hour itinerary, days out are planned using many, many lists and birthdays and special occasions are organised months (years…) in advance! I always have so many plates spinning, I don’t know what’s what most days. So of course Christmas is going to be one of the most planned-in-detail events of the year for me. I go overboard – way overboard – with my planning and honestly, it can turn what should be a lovely celebration in to one big stressful time!
The details always mattered so much to me. That is, until my second child came along. I found it really difficult adjusting to being a mum of two and juggling the different needs of my children at the same time, especially since I’ve returned to work full time – I’m constantly tired and snappy, my husband and I don’t get any time together, I feel like I’m doing half a job in every aspect of my life…life has been tough.
But that is exactly why I am making some changes, starting with Christmas.
Christmas 2017 wasn’t great – I was heavily pregnant, not dealing with it very well, I had constant anxiety and stress, I was feeling underappreciated at work, but also feeling like I was doing everything wrong (but not really caring because I was leaving). Because it was my eldest son’s last Christmas on his own before his little brother joined us, I was adamant it had to be perfect.
And even with all my advanced planning and stressing to make everything perfect, it wasn’t perfect. It was nowhere near perfect. It was possibly the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. In my head, anyway. Most people would probably think that we had a brilliant Christmas but because of who I am, it wasn’t perfect to me. A lot of it is to blame on pregnancy hormones – I went a little crazy and wasn’t myself at all when I was pregnant – but some of it is purely down to my own desire to have the best, most Instagramable Christmas you could ever have. But, of course that doesn’t really exist.
At two and half my son didn’t care for my carefully planned days out, he didn’t care for the beautiful Christmas decorations or how long I’d spent finding the perfect gift for him. We had an accident with TWO special baubles that got smashed (I cried both times). I wanted to do lots of lovely crafts and Christmas baking but 1) my son has the attention span of a gnat (nothing has changed) and 2) I was just exhausted all the time! My son didn’t want to watch the film I’d picked on Christmas Eve, he didn’t want to pose for the perfect family photo on Christmas morning, he didn’t want to carefully and quietly play with each gift – he wanted to rip them all open and jump from gift to gift in his excitement! And to be honest, who could blame him?
My expectations were far too high (as they always are) and there really is no such thing as “perfect”.
So, from now on, Christmas is going to be different. I don’t want it to be perfect. I’ll still plan lots of things and think carefully about Christmas presents and days out but the difference is I won’t put loads of emphasis on these. I will remember that the children aren’t going to enjoy everything and that’s ok – I just need to take joy in the things they do enjoy.
This year I am determined to see the best bits for what they are – our boys making memories! I still want to have a lovely Christmas, but I’ve lowered my expectations MASSIVELY which means less pressure on me, less stress for me and hopefully a more enjoyable festive season all round. I am going to take joy in my boys opening their presents, knowing that Father Christmas has been to see them and then spending the day with my family and having lots of fun with them. This year is going to be low key, low expectations but hopefully filled with lots of love.
Here’s to a thoroughly average Christmas!