Christmas is like childbirth…I look forward to it and forget how much I actively dislike it until it’s upon me and then a few months later I’ve forgotten all the pain and start to look at it through rose-tinted glasses again.
There is colossal pressure on a mother at Christmas; I have heard tales of fathers who get actively involved in the whole thing… planning presents, actually setting foot into a shop to buy them and gasp wrapping said gifts. These men are rare and I can possibly think of 2 that I have encountered in my whole life; bearing in mind that I work in retail. We have to do the tree, the shopping, the cooking, the row diffusing.
As a mother we have to listen carefully to our kids in the months leading up to the event… “what’s that you said? You don’t like zombies anymore, you like My Little Pony”… fuck, fuck…. another trip to Argos for a refund (I am positive I’m on a watch list by the staff there for exceeding an individual’s lifetime of exchanges and refunds).
Then there’s the PNP videos that I normally do when they are in bed and always encounter a glitch of some kind and wind up staying up till 3am swearing profusely at Santa. When I show them the videos and they are not ecstatic, I want to bang their heads off the screen as I’m sipping on my 4th coffee and wondering if a nap is out of the question… it is!
There is the big Smyths trip where half the stuff they’ve asked for is out of stock and I am left wondering why the manufacturers have not considered that they may need to up their sweatshop order in Asia to cater for Christmas. Lucky mine are young enough to be swayed in another direction; ie I buy something random, show them in the catalogue and wax lyrical about the toy till they think it’s their idea and desperately want the inferior product. I use a similar tactic on my husband when I need a night out; he genuinely believes it was his idea… even my new outfit, shhhh.
I have to attend a carol service in my kids school which while very sweet irks me that they sing religious songs and puts me in mind of brainwashing and I have to do some damage control later and explain that while god is a fairytale, santa is not… it’s a tangled web and before you judge me, I celebrate Xmas for the capitalist aspect… the presents and food, alright??? I did have a proud moment when Koray on the way to his service dressed as a shepherd (my only good tea towel on his head) asked “who is this Jesus they keep making us sing about?”
On their last day of school I collected them and had Xmas FM on and was singing away and starting to feel Christmassy and teary (always close to emotion at Xmas, don’t know what that’s about) and they began killing each other in the back and I was screaming I was going to throw them all out at the side of the road or drive to the police station but instead turned the music up full blast and sang like a psychopath; I saw similar scenes in cars all the way home.
Christmas Eve was lovely although I was in panic mode and could cry or shout at the drop of a hat (I must investigate HRT). We went to see Star Wars in the cinema which was amazing but slightly dampened my Christmas as I wept and wept (not giving anything away but really if you are a fan you should have seen it by now) even when I was home the tears dripped… Damn it here they are again, is there a support group?
We got home from the cinema about 6pm and I was just in the door when Conall tore past me and stripped naked at the top of the stairs “Mam, Mam… quick run the bath.. I need to get to bed” he shouted. Sometimes his anxiety works in our favour and he was bathed and in bed by about 6.07pm. The other two helped leave out food and begrudgingly went to bed… a little scared.. it is scary and I found it tricky explaining that an old, hairy man would visit their bedroom while they were asleep and leave them toys.
Once they were asleep I sent Ossie to the attic to bring down all the bags of toys and I laid them out panicking that they all had the same amount. A few more glasses of wine and I couldn’t care less. I boiled the stinky ham and we watched Get Hard…not a porn.
The kids were all up early, delighted with their stockings and we came downstairs to open the presents. Conall was disgusted with his laptop that I had spent a week downloading Universe Sandbox onto as was requested and for the second year in a row we discovered that the games he likes are strictly for gaming PCs. He went into meltdown and I tried to focus on the others while a rage bubbled up in me. I had to bite all my “we spent a lot of money on that” and “I spent weeks choosing that laptop and a lot of time setting it up” cos it was Santa’s fault and I explained that Santa is a very old man and doesn’t know much about technology. He was placated with binoculars and a promise to buy him a gaming computer in the future (they start at €1,500 so he may be at college by then).
My parents arrived and I prepared the dinner as my Mam sipped Prosecco from her throne and stated repeatedly that she felt so bad just sitting there. Dinner consisted of chicken, ham, roast beef and a gazillion veg. Once eaten I filled the dishwasher and had a moment of confusion about the remaining dishes in the sink… what was to become of them? My Dad pointed out that it was possible to wash dishes in a sink… who knew?
I think all mother’s should be rewarded with a few days spa treatment for all their hard work.. just throwing that out there. If Christmas is like childbirth … shouldn’t there be that lovely moment post labour when baby is placed in your arms… That would be when my sister and her family arrived and we cast Youtube on the TV and danced like strippers on chairs while guzzling vodka.. fab.