As a parent of young children, Christmas can be exhausting — like completely overwhelming leaving you almost longing for the holidays to end and a normal schedule to resume. But I am begging you, do not wish this season away.
Look, Mama. I know you are tired. You finally got your Christmas decorations up — everything in the perfect spot — and yet tiny little fingers have moved them from place to place. While it was supposed to be a joyous event, eager babies may have torn open boxes of memorable pieces — jolting annoyance and sadness in the importance of each piece’s history and their carelessness.
Between the chaos of the month of December — the Christmas school events, shopping, hiding, wrapping, and let’s not forget moving that dang elf — along with continuing on with the day to day tasks of, you know, being a mom — it can completely drain you.
The last thing on your to-do list may be hitting up any free Christmas event where the entire city shows up and there are lines, impatient toddlers, freezing cold weather, broken schedules and babies up way past their bedtime.
I mean why in the world would you ever subject yourself to such havoc of venturing out to these events, especially with a toddler or younger who most likely will have no recollection of what went on anyway.
Trust me, I get it! It is so much easier to just treat the month like any other month — dinner, baths, bedtime — and maybe a glass of wine by the lit-up Christmas tree to help soothe the parental Santa stress. It’s easier that way, and, just like the attempt to compete with the neighbors outside Christmas lights, there’s always next year to venture out to the frenzy of maniacs scooting their little ones from one Christmas activity to another.
But next year, they will be a year older. In fact, maybe you are thinking “next year they will be able to comprehend everything more.” After all, they don’t understand it at this age, and they will never remember it! Why put yourself through it?
You’re right, Mama. They truly may not remember it. You may bust your butt to get home from work and rush to get to the Christmas Tree Festival, then wake up early for Breakfast with Santa. You may even fight a squirmy 3-year-old who doesn’t want to wear the planned outfit because it is “sparkly” and both of you are sweating walking in late.
You may drive 45 minutes out of town for 15 minutes of walking through a lit-up park only for it to start pouring down rain. From screaming babies in car seats, potty breaks, missed meals and kids falling asleep in the car and then waking back up when you get home with no intentions of going back to sleep all for this?
But, did you see what happened when the big man in red showed up. As he walked through the crowd, your eyes, Mama, were not on him but on the faces of your babies as they saw the gift-giver in flesh.
Or what about when your sweet little one jetted from blow-up snowman to lit-up Christmas trees to candy cane gardens.
The awe. The belief. The wonder.
No, maybe they won’t remember walking right up to Santa and waiting “patiently” for their turn. Maybe they won’t remember the beauty in the cookie decorating, the caroling crew, or even the sparkling lights that held their attention and made them giggle with joy.
But, you will remember it. Mama, will never forget that look in their eyes.
Yes, it is hard to throw these events into an already busy schedule — and after every weekend in December I really need a weekend just to recover from my weekend. But it is totally worth it.
Believing in the magic surrounding the season — really taking in the joy of your babies — will quickly fall through your fingertips. After all, you only truly have a handful of years before speculation and questioning takes over innocence and hope.
So, go Mama! Hit up every Santa spotting, light show spying, icing eating event. Schedules, even sleep, (for both you and the babies) will always be there.
Pour an evening cup of coffee if you must, forget the normal routine, know that it won’t go perfect and at least one baby will have a meltdown. But still, venture out. Because this time in their life — their reaction this year while taking in the magic — it will never be here again.
No, your babies may never remember the experience. And you will never remember just how worn out you are. But I promise that you will never forget the magic in the memories.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.