parent opinion

OPINION: 'It's time to credit the real Santa Claus: Mums.'

Last weekend as I clutched my A4 sized list of Christmas jobs and giant bags of shopping, I bumped into a friend at the mall. She also had multiple bags, a to-do list and a look of desperation on her face.

We exchanged small talk about the lengthy lists and the need for caffeine and joked that we couldn’t wait for the whole thing to be over so we could go back to usual levels of parenting and work chaos, not Christmas chaos.

We were only partially joking – it’s a tough gig being Santa as well as mum every year and just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean we can simply stop working or unloading the dishwasher or doing bedtime (sadly).

Watch: Things Mums never say at Christmas. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia .

While I quite relish wrapping a few presents while nursing a glass of rosé watching Love Actually on Christmas Eve, I would also happily forget the whole thing in favour of a tropical island escape.

The thought of being on a resort with a swim-up bar on Christmas Day where someone serves us dinner and drinks without a side of peeling prawns and hours spent washing up, sounds pretty great.

Looking back on my own childhood, I remember being mystified when my poor mum, likely fresh from about three hours of sleep, would take a moment to have a quiet cry behind a tissue as we unwrapped a mountain of her lovingly sourced 'Santa' presents.

I would register her emotion but then selfishly go back to my childlike joy of examining new toys and eating fistfuls of chocolate for breakfast.

I never understood why, until many years later after having kids of my own, I hid in the bathroom on Christmas Day and took a few moments to cry it out.

My magical memories of ripping open present after present while enjoying the colourful twinkling lights of our tree and a house full of happy well-fed relatives? Well, that magic mostly came down to the hard work and planning of one person – my mum.

Yes, my dad would have helped with the turkey and the collection of the tree, but really it was mum who did the planning, the shopping, the wrapping and created the undefinable magic of Christmas.

Fast forward to 2020 and Christmas for me now looks like the writing of a million lists that includes; presents for teachers and day care educators, buying stocking fillers, writing and posting cards, tree decoration and never-ending present wrapping.

Thankfully, my husband Jules is all about the food planning, but that doesn’t mean that come Christmas morning I am not incredibly tired and also worried.


Side note: Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

I go from worrying about the effects of excessive consumption on the environment to thinking my boys will be disappointed with their lot. When all the presents are finally open and I look around at the wasteland of clearing up to do and kids to get ready before we leave to go for Christmas brunch and it feels like A LOT. But Santa’s work is not yet done.

Not only am I knackered, but my boys are also tired and hyped-up thanks to all the pre-Christmas social gatherings, lack of sleep and candy canes.

Once the initial excitement of the day has passed (which if you have little kids like me, is probably by 7am), someone will get annoyed because maybe I forgot the batteries for the remote control car or got the wrong colour and breed of squishmallow.

But one slight moan or criticism from either child after weeks of planning and I will likely be making another swift exit to the bathroom to cry and maybe rage a bit, in peace.

Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year, but it is also an emotional and highly stressful time that for many warrants a therapeutic cry or two.

If this is you, know you are not alone – I see you.

If this is your mum or sister or dad or nanna, give them a big hug, won’t you? They undoubtedly really deserve some credit – not the big man in red and white.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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