What SHOULD Happen On Your Santa Visit Versus What ACTUALLY Happens
Ah, Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year... said no mother ever.
Of course, there are those two minutes thirty seconds of unbridled joy on Christmas morning seeing their happy little faces, but apart from that, meh.
Each year we book the panto, a visit to Santa, Christmas carols, ice-skating in a bid to recreate family life from the American movies. And each year the children cry the whole way home with wet bums from falling on the ice, bored of carols and high on jellies. Each year we ask each other why we even bothered. They are 100 per cent happier playing with cardboard boxes and eating selection boxes in front of the TV so why do we try to manipulate things to how they 'should' be? I guess it is because we are mums and we are obsessed with creating happy memories.
Take the annual Santa visit; The build up is huge. Probably because it is all I ever talk about for the days leading up to it. Visions of family perfection clog my Facebook feed, and now I am feeling the pressure.
Nothing screams 'we are the happiest family in the world' than the all-important picture of all the family with Santa; The festive jumpers, the gummy little smiles, Santa looking as magical as possible, the Christmassy backdrop and the perfectly wrapped gifts by the floor. Daddy looks so proud of his family, and the little one snuggles into Mama enchanted by the spell of Santa. A.DOR.ABLE.
Except it's not.
It is one big pain in the arse where the oldest is having a tantrum, the middle child is, well...being his usual middle child self and refuses to take off the sheriff's hat he has been wearing for weeks now. You are sweating from the effort of it all. Your husband is pissed off because he is missing a match and for some reason is blind to snot. You hiss at him to wipe their noses but get more frustrated when he can't understand your whispery nags. Or your frantic hand gestures.
You are trying to keep it on the down-low because you don't want to scare all the other lovely families in the queue. The baby has red blotchy cheeks and looks more Chuckie from Childsplay than Chuckie from Rugrats.
Meanwhile, you have been digging into the depths of your handbag for your lipstick which is the only thing that might distract from your eyebags but to no avail. You pull down your messy bun in the hopes that you might look boho chic. Then it is your turn, and you look like a pack donkey laden down with all the coats. Your children are suddenly paralysed with absolute fear, and you ask yourself why you are trying to coax them into a dark room to sit with a stranger and tell them their secrets.
But those festive jumpers need their moment and this is it!
It is done. That wasn't too bad you reason to yourself as you quickly remind Santa of the three lists you have memorised. Your husband saunters out ahead whistling as if he has forgotten he even has children. You make a mental note that if you ever remarry you should definitely attempt lesbianism. You collect your picture while simultaneously stopping a fist fight, thank Santa AND all the elves, put on jackets and hand out snacks. You mop your brow and discover that your picture is 100 per cent not social media presentable. You look more hobo than boho, the children look borderline neglected with their runny noses and you have the sheen of sweat that is usually only associated with delirium.
Oh, and the children HATE their presents.
You drive home feeling somewhat defeated.
But the more you look at that little picture, the more you realise that this is a perfect Christmas memory. You examine the little faces and realise that if you look past the snot and the sweat and the lopsidedness, there is unadulterated excitement in their little eyes, your husband looks very handsome in his reindeer jumper and how sweet that he wanted his own copy for his desk. You mentally renew your vows. There is no denying you look like a total hag, but that is just the stage I'm at with little children keeping me up at night and there is always filters (and fillers)
You proudly put the photo up on the mantle and cherish the chaos it has captured.
You vow that next year you will definitely have your sh*t together .... and you go back to scanning the living room for Elf's next Big Move.
Is your Santa visit a blissful affair? Let us know your expectation versus reality moments! Mail me Amanda.Cassidy@HerFamily.ie