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Great Holiday Expectations

$118.00

That is the absurd amount of money I spent last year on Etsy purchasing 1 Thanksgiving and 1 Christmas outfit for my daughter. Because she just HAD to have them. They were just cute. 

Guess how many times she wore each of these outfits? 

ONCE.

Essentially, I paid over $100 for a few cute pictures. My daughter certainly didn’t get an immense amount of joy from wearing her custom-made ensembles. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that she didn’t care one bit.  You can’t exactly wear a “My First Thanksgiving” onesie year round.  Not to mention those adorable costly creations fit for only a brief period of time when you have a growing babe.

ENOUGH.

Not this year, not for me.

So far we’ve survived the Halloween season. She got a $5 pumpkin shirt from Kroger (who knew?) and a $15 costume of TJ Maxx. I’d consider that a win.

Now here come the heavy hitting holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas. As tempting as it is to scour Etsy for personalized this and that, I won’t do it this year. I refuse.

The pressure to create a seemingly picture-perfect holiday in a social-media-obsessed world is downright exhausting. Last year, as a first-time parent, I fell victim to the crippling stress, and I fell hard.

Let me take you back … all I wanted last year was a nice picture of my family on Thanksgiving. I even bought my then 6-month-old and I matching shirts (because of course, I did). One seamlessly staged photo, sounds doable, right? Of course, I’d plaster it all over Instagram and show that hey, I totally have this baby thing down! I’m the best, most put together parent ever!

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. 

Two days before Thanksgiving, I got the flu. We’re talking days of being quarantined in the basement and wearing a face mask when I dared to venture upstairs. In fact, I didn’t even go to our family Thanksgiving. My husband and daughter went, and she was a disaster. She was at the height of her clingy stage, so she screamed and screamed, and then she screamed some more.  

Once I felt better, I figured I would take a few days off and enjoy the belated holiday with my family, but guess what?I didn’t have enough PTO.

Life, it seemed, had its own ideas about my masterly crafted plans.

No one is living in a Pinterest Perfect world, despite what you may see online. We show what we want to show through pretty filters on social media. In the real world, though, there are meltdowns. Babies cry. People get the flu. You run out of PTO. None of that stops just because it is a holiday.

Entering the second holiday season with my daughter, I like to think that I’ve wised up at least somewhat. This year I know that festive (overpriced) clothes won’t make my daughter happy. I know that the anxiety of trying to create that one flawless picture is not worth the stress. I know that things will not go the way I envision them.

So I’m going to let go of the great holiday expectations. I’m going to try to be flexible (super hard for me), adaptable (also super hard), and go with the flow (for probably the first time ever). 

Mamas, I invite you to join me in lowering the pressures and expectations the holiday season can force upon us. Let’s be okay with having imperfect holidays where yes, things go wrong and every moment isn’t Instagram-worthy. In fact, let’s be more than okay with it; let’s celebrate the fact that we are living real, authentic lives.

Happy imperfect holidays from my family to yours!

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