Stressed Moms Are a Christmas Tradition
A relatable guest post on stressed moms and Christmas.
Christmas Madness or Magical Christmas
As I hunkered on the floor, aproned and peering into the oven to check the state of my organic, corn-fed (and apparently this year privately educated) Christmas turkey, I hoped again not to poison my entire family because the juices didn’t run clear. And again I wondered, “Why do I let myself in for this madness every year?” The stress of weaving of a magical Christmas that moms feel responsible for every Christmas is too much. But a bit like childbirth itself, we forget about how painful it was and do it all over again except this time our epidural consists of forced Xmas optimism (probably), gin (likely), and sighs of “but I love it really!”(Definitely)
So which elements cause the most stress for moms around Christmas? The first culprit I would argue is the Elf on the Shelf, who is required to be ever more adventurous and naughty each night from when he arrives on the 1st of December. We’ve done criminal elf: cereal emptied all over the floor remorselessly. We had adventurous elf: zip wiring with knitting wool across the valleys of the kitchen or hanging upside down on the ceiling. Mundane elf anyone? Catching him putting out the rubbish or on hold to car insurance companies to get the best deal. Last night I almost gave up on good ideas and had him on our couch watching CNN because elves can be into politics too, can’t they?
Moms Making Santa Magic
And then there’s the stress moms deal with because of Santa, more particularly as children get older. Santa for the under 5s is as easy to convince as a newly ordained priest into the Catholic Church – it’s unquestionably a tenet of their belief system. However, when little doubting Thomas reaches about 7 or 8 he asks difficult questions like “why would you let a stranger come into our home, Mum?”. The timezones explain a lot about how one man can get to every country in the world in one night but some children seek evidence-based empirical knowledge such as “can I leave your phone so he can take a picture to show us he was really here?” “I’m not sure Santa knows how to use an iPhone as I believe it’s android-only technology in the North Pole!” I answered meekly.
And then one year late on Christmas Eve, I had to drive to a warehouse in the middle of an industrial estate to find a massive bag of soda crystals to look like snow to put all around our fireplace. I felt like Walter White standing in the warehouse wilderness waiting for someone to hand over the massive bag of shiny white crystals as I exchanged cash and drove off into the twilight. The snow worked like convincing magic and as an added bonus for me, my carpet smelled wonderful til Valentine’s Day!
Peak Santa stress for this mom last year as I almost got caught when the kids emerged downstairs right after midnight when Santa had just been. I was forced to hide in the cupboard under the stairs like a middle-aged female Harry Potter. In silence and in darkness for an hour! thought, great. I’ll be found dead here at little Christmas, like a rigor mortis, hypothermic robin, lifeless and splayed over hockey sticks and football boots.
Mom Stress: Christmas Dinner
And finally, there’s the dinner! The basting and heating up of all the things is an incredibly tricky thing that I never seem to get right. The ham is always overdone, the sprouts are undercooked as their mushiness is controversial. The parsnips are burnt like they have recently been yeeted head first into the sun. And the turkey is the moodiest of meats to manage – underdone in parts, colder than Pluto to warm up when cooled down, and basically is the most underrated and dry thing anyway to choose on one of the most important feasts of the year! That’s a good way to stress out a mom! It’s like having an understudy play Hamlet on opening night. A wholly under-qualified meat!
Like a Christmas Cracker
Yet here we are again this year doing the same madness even in a pandemic. A bit like a Christmas cracker joke, we heard it before and know how it goes but we laugh and enjoy it all the same!
Guest post by:
Fionnaigh Connaughton-O’Connor lives with her husband and three children in Dublin. She has a daughter and identical twins boys. She works in adult literacy and cares about equality for all. Growing up as second youngest of a large family in Galway, she once wore wellies all day and helped flock sheep before moving to the big city. Interested in politics, puns, poetry, tennis. Currently removing spots from a cereal bowl and other parenting duties as required. Pisces.