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What I Wish I Could Say to My Kids During the Holidays

December 02, 2015 3 min read

The holidays are a stressful time. Relatives are visiting from out of town, staying in your guest bedroom, and taking too long in the shower before work. Gifts need to be researched, bought, wrapped, and distributed to friends and family. Meals need to be prepared for big family gatherings and you need to keep track of who is paleo or vegetarian or only eating kale on Tuesdays at dawn.

 This can be a time when kids are especially prone to causing trouble. They are out of school, free to roam the house creating messes and terrorizing the cat.

Kids ask a lot of questions. And the answers we give them are usually watered down, kid-friendly versions of the truth.

This is for good reason. They aren’t always prepared to handle the reality that mommy just doesn’t know everything or difficult concepts like internet security.

Sometimes we don’t have the words to tell them the kid version. Sometimes we wish we could tell them exactly how we feel.

I have no idea what I am doing.

This rings particularly true for my firstborn. I am figuring this stuff out at the same time you are. So when I forget the names of Santa’s reindeer, or when 6 months into parenthood I STILL can’t figure out how to remove your car seat, or when I burn the turkey, or when I don’t have a great answer for why the sun is round...just keep in mind, I’m winging this.

Thank you notes are hard.

Yes, it takes you 10 minutes to write, “Thank you for the sweater and xylophone, Aunt Norma.”  And yes, Aunt Norma will throw away your hard work 5 seconds after opening it. But thank you notes are just something you have to do. I had to write thank-you notes growing up, and so do you. They are important. They tell people we care about them, and we’re grateful they care about us. 

I hate that you won’t have the childhood I had.

My childhood was not perfect, but I never had to deal with cell phone cameras, internet trolls, or drones. Parenting these days comes with its own unique set of challenges (and opportunities too). Every time I post a picture of you on Facebook or Instagram I wonder if that was OK, but I do it anyway because that’s just what you do. I’m not sure how technology and the world we live in will impact you, and that’s scary for me.

We are not there yet.

Are we there yet? No, we are not there yet. You have an iPad to play games on and videos to watch. You have no idea what it was like when we had nothing but the license plate game on a long drive. I know the 25-minute drive to Grandma’s house seems like 10 years at your age, but please relax. We’ll be there soon.

Please like me more than I like my parents.

Because I LOVE my parents, but I don’t always like them. They drive me nuts and especially this time of year when we see so much of each other. Right now you and I share a routine and a home. We are on the same team. But that will change as you grow up, and I just hope that we can maintain a degree of closeness. I never want to be a chore you have to check off your list.


As much as I want to scream this out the car window when I drop you off at school, I can’t. But I do love you, more than I ever thought I could. When the holidays roll around, I try hard to make everything perfect because I want you to remember these moments as special and exciting. And sometimes I fail, but I hope you have tons of fun anyway.