motherhood monday: the holidays & why I don't Elf on the Shelf


If you are anything like me and you have a multitude of friends who have offspring, your social media feeds this time of year are flooded daily with Elf-on-the-Shelf pictures and what shenanigans that they have gotten themselves into the night prior.  And inevitably, my son will come home and ask, where is our elf?

I get it, I do.  It's something that his friends talk about and a nice Christmas tradition.  What it boils down for me is a slightly selfish reason and also a very real one.  We'll address my selfishness first.  Bottom line: I don't have the bandwidth.  Even before the girls' arrival, the commitment to doing one more thing every night during the holiday season was where I drew the line.  I mean, I don't even wash my hair every night and you expect me to come up with a hilarious (I'm not that funny) and unique (even my creativity has its limits) vignette as to what my elf has been up to while my child sleeps (who, by the way, has anxiety that there are monsters in his room)? It's not happening.  I applaud the families (mostly mothers) who spend the time to integrate this tradition into their household - it is a lot of work and I enjoy seeing the updates on my feeds every morning (I especially enjoy the mother's who troll their children because shouldn't we as parents have a little fun too).  I simply cannot do it.

And I'm here to tell you other people for whatever reason that you don't, selfish or otherwise, drop the guilt about integrating that elf into your life.  Just drop it.  I'm am certain that there are many other ways that you make your children's holiday special and magical with your own traditions.  And this leads me to my real reason that I don't Elf - peace

If you have a child in your house above the age of 2 (or hell, if you've been around one for any amount of time) you know the universal truth that parenting, it's not for the faint of heart.  You have to pick your battles.  You have to talk tiny humans incapable of adult rationalization off of ledges likely at least 2 times before 10 am in the morning.  You argue about what they are wearing ('It's 30 degrees out, are you sure you want to wear shorts?'), what they should be playing with ('No you cannot use your scissors for anything else other than cutting paper, nothing else. No you cannot cut anyone's hair.'), how they should interact with their siblings ('Please stop using your sisters as a car track!').  You get my point - there are LOTS of rules for which my 5-year-old has to navigate, a lot of which don't make much sense to a 5 year old boy.  I refuse to add another parameter in which he must navigate through in our household particularly during the time of year that is supposed to be the most fun of the year.

I'm going to choose peace (or some better semblance of it) this holiday season.  We are going to watch Christmas movies, go ice skating, visit Santa (because isn't he enough of an empty threat?), drink our weight in hot chocolate,  decorate the tree, and maybe even see the Nutcracker this year. To me, those are fonder memories that I would rather my children remember; not that they were being watched over to report to Santa on their behavior for the 23 days leading up to Christmas Eve.

Whether you Elf or you don't Elf, good luck this holiday season.  It's easy to get wrapped up (pun intended) in the to-dos of the season.  I hope you take time to enjoy and celebrate with the people you love. And for those who are Elfing, may the odds be ever in your favor.

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