This year the pressure of festive perfection seemed to have upped it’s game! Last year, I made wrecaths, glue gunned the life out of decorations I’d seen tutorials for on Pinterest. This year? I’ve got a 10 week old along with my three year old and struggle to get off the sofa most days.
I’m still feeling the pressure, the pressure for my eldest son to not miss out on anything his friends are doing. The pressure to be organised, plan presents and activities on top of normal day to day life admin. The pressure to look presentable and get dolled up when the reality is I just want to be in leggings and a T-shirt.
I want to say that I’m adult enough now to not bow down to peer pressure, but surrounded by #Ads and influencers has meant it’s been impossible to avoid perceived perfection. My reality is that this will never be me, I’m just not polished enough but I do have my own stresses and pressures. Now, I can look back at pictures and realise that the best thing in the photograph is the smile on my child’s face, beaming in to the camera and not the wonky Christmas tree.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The 12 Mum Stresses of Christmas
1 Christmas Tree
Who knew there were rules for Christmas trees? Not too fat, not too bushy but not bare. Perfectly proportioned ready for photographing your cherubic children in the festive spirit. Imagine my shock and horror when my husband bought home a tree that he hadn’t actually seen out of the wrapper. My first thought was “ok, that’d better photograph well for Instagram”…and then gave my head a wobble and realised there were enough perfect trees on Instagram so who cares whether mine is perfect or not. Am I half tempted to buy a pre lit, pre decorated tree next year? Yes, yes I am. But apparently you have to order those in advance so that won’t be happening.
2 Elves on Shelves
Yup. 2. I upped the bar. This year I became a Mum again and my eldest is obsessed with siblings. So on 2nd December as I queued in Poundland, I spotted a box on sale for 50p a piece and grabbed two. I wrote a lovely Pinterest inspired letter introducing them….was my eldest interested? Was he heck. One good thing did come of it though, I introduced kindness cards with the elves. Each day they come back with a little bag filled with tokens that the eldest can complete to gain extra “nice points”. Surprisingly, that’s what he likes more than the elves.
3 Never Ending Piles of Laundry
Christmas is all well and good when you live at home, pampered by parents, piles of chocolate that you’d never normally buy lying around. Not so much when you’re a fully functioning adult and people are depending on you for clean articles of clothing. Now, since I’ve become a mum of two I’ve become a little obsessed with laundry. I swear it’s the only thing I can control since our home life exploded and I am obsessed with empty laundry baskets. What I’ve learnt is no matter how magical Christmas is, real life never stops.
4 Attempts at a Christmas List
That is legitimately how many attempts my eldest son took. Firstly he didn’t want a list because “Father Christmas is magic and knows what I want anyway”. Great. Fabulous.
When it was finally narrated to me, I took extra mum points in photographing the contents because he will inevitably remember what he’d asked for.
5 Christmas Jumper Days
They’re never ending. And not sure about your children but mine like to wear theirs in June, so come December they’re a bit tired. So that’s another one to buy.
And I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a bit of matchy matchy twinning so of course that’s two new jumpers.
6 Bottles of Disinfectant
Yup. 6. You’ll probably need them. And you have to stock pile ahead of a Mrs Hinch video in case your favourite disappears (yes, some people used zoflora before it got popular *preens*). Why? Why do you need these? Inevitably a sickness bug will hit your house in the run up to Christmas. It might be stomach flu, or just a really gross cold. Either way, it’s almost as guaranteed as the Queen’s speech so you need to be prepared. My house is currently struck, and I’m desperately trying to convince my three year old to not lick my newborn in an attempt to contain the spread.
7 Party Invitations to Turn Down
It’s party season! But who cares now, you’re a mum! No fun for you! Unless you count a quick glass of mulled wine at your child’s Christmas concert. But I don’t. Seems like since I became less available, more people invited me to parties. And now there are two children it’s even harder to find a babysitter.
You’ll find yourself trying to choose which would be the most fun and the most economical use of childcare. And then you’ll freak out because you haven’t worn make up the rest of the year and forgotten whether sequins are still “in” (spoiler, sequins are always in) or whether people still crimp their hair (spoiler, apparently that’s coming back.).
And once you get there you will be torn between letting your hair down and remembering how hellish a hangover is with children to look after. You’ll want to stay out and party the night away, but you’ll also miss the cosyness of home and the chaos that bedtime brings.
8 Different Types of Potato
I’m not even cooking Christmas dinner this year and I’m still thinking about potatoes. Or more specifically, sides. Last year was my first year hosting and I loved it. The whole process really satisfied the control freak in me. But I researched that menu for months. I felt I had legacies and years of my mum and my mother in-laws reputation to uphold. I wanted to be different, I wanted to be modern. I only did two sets of potatoes. Soz.
9 Trips to Father Christmas
Because queuing up in your local shopping centre isn’t the done thing any more – although some of the best Father Christmas pictures I’ve seen this year have been exactly that.
Did you not know you now need to have Father Christmas come to your house to surprise your children? And don’t forget breakfast with Father Christmas and lunch with Father Christmas and all day experiences. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a good Father Christmas trip but I couldn’t believe the costs of some of them and I know in my heart of hearts at 3, my eldest would be grumpy and overwhelmed. Will I do it in the future? Let’s be honest, probably.
10 Attempts to Put a Baby to Bed
I apologise in advance for badly wrapped presents this year. They’re not usually great, but I now have a baby that doesn’t really like to be put down. So I’ll try repeatedly to put the baby to bed, start wrapping a present under the false pretence that’s he’s asleep, and have the house screamed down for daring to move my hands away from him. To be fair, my husband is actually the better wrapper so maybe I’ll just be in the corner observing and holding the baby with a glass of wine.
Every year I get over invested in Pinterest and Kirstie Allsopp and think I’ll make my own wrapping paper…and every year I end up finding other things to do.
Either way, unless in the next fortnight my baby changes his sleep preferences there will be a lot of interruptions this festive season.
11 Likes on Instagram
The magic number. Although with the new algorithm this is taking longer and longer. I admit, I’ve stopped caring about getting that perfect instagrammable shot and everything has become a lot more real and not curated because that’s been more fun. My house isn’t sparkling and my children don’t sit still for photos so I’ll take what I can get!
12 Hours of Unbroken Sleep
Top of my Christmas list. Keep your fancy stuff. My list is usually filled with all kinds of ridiculous things but this year I’ll settle for 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Same again next year?