Ho, Ho, No: Why I won’t be taking a crying Santa photo

There are two main reasons I won’t be taking a picture of a tearful Cub on Santa.

One is I can’t be bothered to stand in line at the mall or anywhere else when I don’t know if he’ll like Santa. Plus it would just be one more thing to do and I’m eliminating tasks this Christmas rather than adding.

But the main reason is I don’t find the photos funny. The thing is, I used to laugh like everyone else at the pics of kids screaming on Santa’s lap. Now that it’s my own little one, I just don’t see the humor.

It would be one thing if I put Cub on Santa’s lap and he then started to cry and we could snap one quick. But I did try at a kids’ Christmas party and he was upset on his way to Santa so there was no way he was getting on the strange man’s lap.

And that’s part of it for me….why do we insist on making our kids sit on a strange man’s lap if they don’t want to? To me, it goes against teaching kids to not talk to strangers or to tell someone they trust if they are made to feel uncomfortable. And perhaps in his mind, it’s a big deal. It’s a stranger he doesn’t like. By making him sit on him, he might not feel safe. That’s not how I want him to feel.

Maybe people think this makes me lame, lacking a sense of humor, too sensitive, a softie, reading too much into a silly photo (because it is silly, isn’t it?! Who isn’t it really for?). Maybe I’m all of the above! I don’t care what other people do, but I’m not going to follow (Santa) suit just because tis the season to flood social media with tearful kids. I mean, CBC even asks you to send in your “worst Santa” photos and I’m sure it’s not the only news outlet.

For me, I’ve never liked to make a baby and now I guess technically toddler cry for no reason. I recognize babies and toddlers cry but when Cub does it because I want a picture that he cares nothing about, my heart says no. Why would I upset him for no reason? It’s not my thing.

It reminds me of a story from about 7 years ago. APB and I took his then 4-year-old son to APB’s dad’s Christmas staff party. His son was encouraged to go sit with Santa (who happened to be APB’s dad!). He dutifully stood near his Grandpa, not knowing it was him. He didn’t stay long before letting out a bit of a cry and running to me. He spent most of the rest of the party sitting on my lap, colouring. APB’s mom commented to Doug that I was keeping the child to myself when in fact he just saw me as the safe person who wouldn’t make him sit on Santa.

I recently read a great article about teaching kids to face and overcome their fears rather than just fixing things for them. You might argue I’m fixing rather than facing here. I might agree if Cub was 6 instead of 16 months.

So for this year, this will have to do for a Santa pic. Who knows what next year will bring, but I won’t be forcing him to sit on anyone’s lap if he doesn’t want to. And that includes anyone, any time – not just Santa.

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May you have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and may there be more smiles than tears! Merry Christmas from Mama Bear, APB, & Cub ❤

Deck the halls with expectations

I actually really like Christmas. I strangely look forward to the snow, partly because this year it meant I could let the dogs run freely in the backyard (welcome to dog shit hill!), thus making my life easier. But I also find the snow pretty. And I like Christmas music and spending time with friends and family.  It’s always been a happy season for me.

I know for some it’s not. I also know it comes with a lot of stress and expectations because this year I’m feeling those.

Now, it might also be sleep deprivation, but I lost my shit in a bawling, hot mess on the weekend. I was feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of a part-time work-from-home job combined with being a full-time mama. It’s probably a post for another time. Regardless, APB reminded me that while I kept repeating, “I can’t do it,” that I’m in fact doing it every day, and that the pressure is from me and  what I put on myself as a perfectionist (also probably another blog post).

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Cub seems to like Christmas. He's already started opening gifts.

I recently read a good post from another mama’s blog about reframing stress, so instead of allowing work to overwhelm me, being grateful I’m at the point in my career where I can have a job I enjoy and from home, allowing me to spend as much time as possible with my boy. It’s a goal I’ve achieved and should be proud and happy.

However, in addition to reframing, sometimes you need to let shit go. I’ve been trying to practice this since last week’s yoga practice, where we thought the words “let” and “go” in time to our breath. I try this when I find myself getting frustrated as a parent.

So, in the spirit of the season, here is how I’m going to let go this Christmas:

Gifts. APB told me I don’t have to buy him a gift. I feel like a shitty wife, but I’m going to listen. When I find something, whether in January or June, I’ll buy it. Normally I also make sure there are gifts from APB’s kids to their grandparents, even if it’s just new pictures. Not this year. Again, it might make me a shitty stepmom or daughter or daughter-in-law, but I’ve got to let go somewhere. Each grandparent has a gift from us, as do APB’s kids. Good enough.

I’m worried friends are getting us gifts. I haven’t decided if that means I will get them something as well. I have time to decide and shop if need be.

Cards and letters. I love receiving these, so thank you for sending them. Last year, since we moved a month before Christmas, I sent valentines. This year, it will likely be New Year’s. I threw together a quick letter when I met some friends for lunch. It might just be our Christmas letter because it’s not worth stressing over.

Work. Now obviously I have to keep working because colleagues rely on me to get the job done and my family relies on me for the income. But I’m going to really try to stop freaking about it. It gets done. My boss is happy. I’ve been trying to work extra and bank time so as to be off more at Christmas. I’m going to let that go, too. If it works, great. If not, not the end of the world.

Get-togethers. This one is admittedly meant more for next year. But we do a Christian with APB’s daughter and the grandparents before Christmas and then we also celebrate Christmas. It’s a lot and it’s tiring. I think next year we’ll just say, come here, everyone, during such and such time on this day. There’s such a thing as too much Christmas. We’ve always tried to make it work for everyone but moving forward we need to think more about making it work for us.

Further to get-togethers. When people come, they are getting something I threw, albeit lovingly, into a crockpot or pizza. Our meals will taste good but won’t be Pinterest or Instagram worthy. That’s not really what it’s about anyway.

This blog. Did I mention I am my own worst enemy and put pressure on myself? I think of stuff I could write all the time but I ask myself, do people really want to read that?! Do you care that my son is slowly trying to kill me with night wakings? I figure no. I also don’t want to open myself up to advice, well-meaning or otherwise. I started this blog in part to document my parenting journey, so I may just share less posts if they are about my sleep deprivation. But I hope you’ll keep reading if you enjoy them. I’ll be sure to share what I think are the best ones.

Now. I say all this but I have to actually do it. As I said, it’s hard when you’re about perfectionist but I’m going to do my best to let it go. Perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post in January to let you know…or not! Promising that sounds like more pressure, no?!

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By the way….The only reason I have Christmas decorations or beautifully-wrapped gifts under our tree is my mom. She has done 99% of our decorating. Bless her.

Merry Christmas to you, and thanks for reading. It means a lot.

 

 

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