As usual Christmas reality doesn’t quite match up to Christmas expectations.
Expectation: Christmas eve would be spent singing carols around the piano with my family.
Reality: I sang out of tune, my son banged on the piano keys and whacked family members incessantly. The grand finale was provided by a traditional family arguement because – well because it was Christmas eve and isn’t that what it’s there for?
Expectation: I would get a glass of red wine for all the hard graft I had put in as ‘father’ Christmas, left next to the fire place by my kind son along with a mince pie and carrot.
Reality: No bloody wine left apart from Ginger wine. Who the hell likes Ginger wine? My mum apparently, she necked it. Meanwhile I was stone cold sober on Christmas eve and had a carrot to nibble on (I don’t even like mince pies).
Expectation: I would read the night before Christmas and my son would get a warm fuzzy feeling of excitement before falling asleep.
Reality: I forgot the book at home. My mum couldn’t find any other Christmas stories so we read a book about first day at school and fairies. I guess fairies are sort of festive somehow.
Expectation: Going out in town on Christmas eve with people I haven’t seen since the last drinks on Christmas eve.
Reality: A toddler who was quite adamant that I needed to be there for bedtime and bedtime would not be till approximately 11.32pm and not a second earlier. Followed by the realisation that I had to sort his stocking out. Eventually collapsed in bed at about 12.30am, followed by a few hours of insomnia to top it off.
Expectation: Son would be really excited to see the crumbs of mince pie and the end of the carrot left by father Christmas and the reindeers respectively.
Reality: All evidence of the crumbs and carrot remains were gone in the morning. I blamed a family member going on a Christmas cleaning spree. Apparently not so, the only explanation was a mouse!
Expectation: All family members would be cooing over my cute little angel skipping angelically around the Christmas tree all day.
Reality: All family members repeatedly screamed at said angelic toddler for over-zealous cheek pinching and enthusiastic slapping. Que a big old pang of parenting failure fears – am I bringing up a little shit after all? According to all the child rearing experts in my family it’s a resounding yes. Oh and there was a big old blast of single mum guilt thrown in for good measure where I got to feel bad for my kid not having a dad to rough-house with as most dads seem to do, instead my son was trying to rough-house with all the relatives and just ended up annoying them. I’d learnt that rough-housing is normal for kids and helps them learnt to distinguish between play and aggression – not so apparently, I’m just a crappy mum for allowing it.
Expectation: Sitting around the table eating a lovely christmas dinner.
Reality: Little one doesn’t touch a bite. Steals all the chocolate biscuits and scoffs them down followed by some old, soggy leftover breakfast cereal. Yum. That was worth the effort.
Expectation: The little gift bag on the Christmas tree from my son would contain some lovely, thoughtful gift. I know this may have been a slightly unrealistic expectation given he is three years old and doesn’t receive any pocket money. But the other day he walked into Pandora, all on his own accord so I was keeping my fingers crossed.
Reality: The bag contained burnt gingerbread. I don’t even like gingerbread. And I really don’t like burnt anything. Apparently my son doesn’t know that son’s of single mums are supposed to learn to steal before they can recite the alphabet. Does this mean I’m failing at being a failing single mum too?
Expectation: The family would sit around in the afternoon playing some of the little ones lovely new board games.
Reality: We sat around and shouted at little one numerous times to “play the game properly”. Eventually we gave up because it wasn’t actually fun for anyone.
Expectation: The family would enjoy a lovely evening of bonding watching family films.
Reality: Little one ran around the room through the first thirty minutes of Lion King, then disappeared. I was grateful for the peace and quiet for approximately ten minutes until I realised he’d gone upstairs and was having a bath! (bonus points for doing something vaguely useful though).
Expectation: Tears on Christmas day – it’s kind of a hazard of the job as a single parent.
Reality: I managed to be tear free on Christmas day (I think I got rid of them all on Christmas eve) and instead it was actually an alright day (shock horror!) and there were even some really lovely moments with my son. Not sure I dare say it for fear of jinxing the next 15 Christmases to come – but I think that I might be starting to turn a corner with this single parenting at Christmas malarky. Edit: OK, so I wrote the first draft of this at 10pm on Christmas Day, at 11pm there was a near tears incident but I managed to swallow them down. At 2am after another couple of hours of insomnia I cried, technically it was Boxing Day though so I’m still winning on this one right?!?
How was your Christmas? Did it match expectations or not? Or perhaps it exceeded them!