It’s that time of year again. It hit me like a brick wall on December 1st.
As a blogger, I spend a lot of time on social media. It’s part of the “job,” so to speak. But many of my friends are opting out of social media because the temptation to compare their lives to others is too great.
I get it. As a blogger, I’ve had to confront these feelings head on. There’s always someone out there getting to do something I wish I was doing or getting invited to something I didn’t. There are way better photographers and people who do really creative things that I don’t have the time or resources to do.
I’ve come to terms with it. Over the past year, I have developed an inner voice that reminds me that everything is not as it seems on Instagram. I’ve come to a place where I am relatively happy with my life and at nearly 40, I feel pretty secure in who I am. I’m also regularly encouraged by a lot of honest mamas who aren’t afraid to talk on social media about their kids’ tantrums or how they haven’t showered for two days. And I try to be one of those mamas as often as I can.
But come December, social media hits me like a punch in the gut. I look at all the meaningful, crafty, special Christmas traditions people are doing with their kids. And every December I scramble around at the last minute, trying to measure up to some imaginary bar set way too high.
This morning I put a leftover piece of (non-Christmas) Paw Patrol wrapping paper around a Lego advent calendar and stuck it in a Santa bag. The paper didn’t even fit around the present, so half of the box was showing. After my kids opened it (one box for two kids – have I learned nothing!?!) my two-year-old broke my heart by saying, “Is there one for me?” And my 5-year-old had an epic (and I mean EPIC) meltdown over the fact that he couldn’t open all of doors in one day. All 3 of us ended up crying and the incident pretty much ended my resolve for any fun plans for the rest of the morning. And this is just December 1st.
Then I took a look at Facebook, and people were asking, “What fun Christmas crafts do you love to do with your kids?” and discussing ways to do an advent countdown with Handel’s Messiah. I’d be doing the Hallelujah Chorus right now if this would all just go away! Pinterest is filled with posts like “Christmas Traditions Kids Remember for the Rest of Their Life” (no pressure) and “25 Christmas Traditions to Begin Now!” (25!?) There’s the 25 Books of Christmas, the Elf on the Shelf, Handprint Ornaments, 3 Wise Men Gifts, The Four Gift Rule, The Night Before Christmas Box, The Birthday Cake for Jesus, The Snowman Breakfast . . . AAAUUGGHHH!!!
I know, I know, last month I wrote 21 Things to Do with Your Family this Christmas and sure, you can look at my blog and say, “but you do lots of fun things with your kids!” It’s true – we do lots of things OUTSIDE of the house – but I feel like a major mom failure when it comes to traditions at home.
So post epic meltdown (by at least 3 of us in this house), I spent the day thinking about my options. What do I do during the other 11 months to survive the temptation to compare on social media? And what is it that I really want to do this December? Here are the ideas I came up with:
Turn it off. Last year this issue got to me so much, I took December off from Facebook. Honestly, it helped.
Take a few steps back to look at my life from the outside. We DO have traditions. I can decide that they are enough.
Make a change. It’s not too late. It’s only December 1st. My kids are young. If I want to start something new, I still can.
Pick one thing. I don’t have to do them all. In fact, doing them all is a sure fire recipe for crazy-making. I can pick one new thing this year to do at home.
Plan ahead. I can’t sit here on December 1st and wish I had wrapped 25 books or be scrambling to start a complex advent project tonight. But I can think of things that will still fit somewhere within the next 25 days.
Be realistic. Don’t force things that are ill-fitting or won’t work with the people who actually live in MY house.
Making this list has helped. I’m actually kind of excited to try just one new thing this year. And hopefully, I can find peace in what I decide to do and let myself off the hook for the rest! It would be a shame to waste December measuring myself by some kind of social media yard stick. And here, in front of the Internets, I pledge not to.