I see you, with your perfectly crafted, homemade Pinterest-style Christmas cards that you’ll be posting to your family members with a sense of smug satisfaction that you managed to get your six under 5’s to make something so social media worthy. And guess what? I think you rock. I usually try my hand at said crafts and they suck – no really, last year’s attempt at a finger print reindeer sleigh card looked more like we’d tried to play dot to dot with rabbit shit. Yeah.
On the flip side, I see you mama of one who hates crafts with a passion and has spent her Christmas in the local John Lewis store buying all the *perfect* Christmas cards and gifts, enjoying your child free time and sucking up as much of Christmas without kids as you can. And I think you rock. I envy your ability to be confident and just say ‘I hate crafting, we’re not attempting that shit’. I love that your child’s Christmas won’t be any less special and you know it.
At this time of year we seem to see an increase of people who love to pull the judgy-pants on and tell everyone else how they are doing it wrong. I like crafting with the kids, I’m not very good at it, but I like to give it a go when I get time (which FYI is never at the moment – mainly because two of them have outgrown it and they don’t want to at all). Providing we don’t include glitter, I’m a happy wee chappy. Glitter, in case you didn’t know, is the herpes of the craft world and should be banned. Just because I like the odd crafting session, doesn’t mean that everyone does and I think that’s ok. I don’t believe that there should be some sort of mummy mafia telling the pinterest craft mums that they are ‘showing off’ or ‘putting others down’ – they aren’t, they are just proud of what they have managed to do with their children, and they are celebrating their achievement. We have to ask ourselves at what point we decided to really buy into our very British attitude of never celebrating ourselves or our achievements? I think if I see another “oh gooodddd, as if she had TIME?!” comment on a craft post on facebook I will combust. So you didn’t have time or inclination to spend approx. 42 hrs crafting a igoo out of empty milk cartons so that your child would have something utterly cool in their playroom? Cool… tell me again how that gives you the right to diss the mum (or dad) that did? Tell me again how that makes her a subject of mucho scorn? No really, go ahead, I’ll wait…
We’ve become very much a nation that believes to celebrate one’s achievement is to brag or be smug, but I say brag-on, be smug. You did a damn good job at something? You managed to work hard and enjoyed yourself? Get on that brag train and ride it to look-at-how-fucking-awesome-I-am town. Let’s celebrate together please? By the same token – you hate crafts? Try to avoid as much of the child themed Christmas stuff as you can? Great! Have an amazing Christmas that I will envy because of it’s organisation and perfection, do it your own way. As long as you and your chosen family/people/pets are together at this time of year it won’t make any difference to your babies whether you visited every craft workshop, every grotto or spent hours making up stories about Rudolph and Gingerbread men. It won’t.
We need to stop picking at each other, especially at this time of year. We need to celebrate each other’s achievements – whatever style they come in – and say, hey you’re doing your own thing, I’m doing mine. That Pinterest mama isn’t trying to make you feel bad, she’s too busy crafting to give a shit about you and that mama sipping a latte in the shopping mall child-free avoiding anything homemade isn’t being lazy, she’s too busy loving her free time to care whether you are or not.
At Christmas time in particular, where the pressure has always been turned up high and the stress levels are intense, we need to afford ourselves these moments of joy – whatever format they come in. For some people, crafting is literally saving their lives. Literally. It is the only metaphorical barrier between a world of depression and anxiety and for other people getting away from everyone, especially the hyper as fudge kids, is what allows them to take stock and return a better parent. Doing the Christmas shopping alone, the food shop without “mummy, mummyyyy, mum, mum, mum” is what rocks her world and allows her to come home and read that bedtime story without running from the house screaming like she is an extra in The Walking Dead.
So, a judgement free Christmas eh? Next time you see an amazing craft that you know fine well you won’t even attempt, send love and a virtual high five. Next time you see the mum out shopping alone and enjoying her hot chocolate in peace, give her a nod. Do it your way.