The last few days before Christmas are filled with emotion in my house. There’s excitement from the kids, an actual all-out giddiness about what’s coming. There’s stress and worry from the adults as we try to get all of the last minute things ready in time. There’s an urgency to make sure hearts are in the right place and gratitude is plenty. There’s an undercurrent of everything that’s to come and it’s like a buzz that’s just beneath the surface, ready to burst through at any moment.
The volume of all the feelings can be volatile and unpredictable. What’s one minute a fun family bake session can turn into a whiny, complaining mess in the blink of an eye. I’m learning to embrace the unexpectedness of it all and trying to soak in the happy, sweet moments. It’s easier said than done, I know. Especially because I’m feeling so convicted about the entitlement in our family, from both the children and from me.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m reading Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World by the wonderful Kristen Welch, and it’s blowing my mind…in good ways and bad ways. More than anything, so far it’s making me want to make some changes to our Christmas. Every year I’m almost ashamed about the amount of gifts my kids get. Every year I say I’m going to cut back. Every year, I don’t. However, we came into the Christmas season this year with some different circumstance. My husband just started a new job back in November. Our schedules are different. Our routines and normals are different. I don’t do well with change, and because of all of this, it became really important to me to focus less on the presents of Christmas and focus more on the journey to Christmas.
The days and weeks leading up to Christmas are some of my favorite of the year and I really wanted to make them special for all of us. I began talking to the kids about entitlement and being grateful, even on days when it’s hard. I was thrilled when their Christmas wish lists were significantly shorter than usual. I’ve been pleased with the baking and music and singing and crafts. I’ve felt their hearts shift, ever so slightly. Until today. Today it all fell apart with selfishness and complaining and entitlement of the worst kind. And I’m left with more questions than answers and my head in my hands because this parenting thing is hard. So very hard.
I don’t know how I will work on the hearts of these children tomorrow. I don’t know how to fight the greed monster and the selfishness and stubbornness. I do know I have to put on my mama game face because these lessons are the important ones. The ones that are tough to learn and tougher to teach. Somehow we’ll figure it out together. I have to have faith in us.