This Christmas, I don't want a fancy bag or a new piece of jewelry or a cashmere sweater (though now that I think about it, I definitely wouldn't say no to any of those things). As much as I love a thoughtful present and surprises under the tree, there's truly just one thing that is on my holiday wish list, and it's the one thing that no one in my family ever seems to think to deliver. And that, my fellow parents, is a little freaking appreciation . . . because when you're a mom, Christmas is a real mutha.
In November and December, I'm in a complete holi-daze. My family's tree has been trimmed, and the house has been decorated (six hours of work, all by me, with a 4-year-old's "help" adding at least 45 minutes to the ordeal). My kids' Santa wish lists, delivered directly to the man himself last weekend, have already been filled and are sitting in Amazon boxes in the basement; many were purchased months in advance to ensure I wouldn't have to relive the great Hatchimal debacle of 2016.
Last year, he actually asked me a few days before Christmas if I had bought the kids gifts from Santa. It took everything in my power to keep my eyes from popping out of my head.
Too many plans have been made — gift exchanges with various family members, adults-only holiday parties with the necessary babysitters booked, school Christmas parades, concerts, and parties I volunteered to chaperone months ago, holiday vacations scheduled and booked — all by me and me alone.
Advent calendars are ready, our Elf on the Shelf is back, and I still have at least a dozen gifts to buy for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and distant relatives. Then there's the wrapping, shipping, and packing. And in between completing all these holiday tasks, my family still expects me to do all my regular jobs (laundry, homework, cleaning, cooking, and schlepping), and my employers expect me to complete my professional ones. It's no wonder I'm running out of holiday cheer . . . and by cheer, I mean wine. Note to self: buy more wine.
Yet, while I'm running around like a deranged elf, trying to make the holiday season as special for my family as possible, no one seems to even notice that my workload has tripled. And by no one, I mean my husband, who, yes, will attend a few holiday parties and events once I add them to his calendar and might remember to buy me a gift on Dec. 23, but even that is questionable (I love you, honey, but last year's IOU was a major fail).
When it comes to Christmas, I'm Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty, and he's Hermey the dentist elf, cute but entirely superfluous. Last year, he actually asked me a few days before Christmas if I had bought the kids gifts from Santa (an insane question that, wildly, has been echoed by many of my closest friends' spouses). I tried to remember the generous spirit of the season when I answered that yes, I'd started in October and finished in early December so that I had time to wrap them in special Santa paper and ship them to our Christmas destination so they'd be waiting under the tree. "Oh, good," he responded. It took everything in my power to keep my eyes from popping out of my head.
This year, I'd just like some appreciation. Because Christmas is wonderful and magical, but let's face it, I'm the one who makes it that way. And damn it, I deserve a thank you. And maybe a fancy handbag, too.