A message to single mothers for Christmas
Hello! Hello you! I see you there, staying up late, looking for the best deals and worrying about how you’re going to put gifts under the tree. I know you have been throwing away money since July hoping to surprise your kids with more than you could give last year.
I understand all too well how much easier it would be if you had another income to work with. How much weight would be off your shoulders if you didn’t live from paycheck to paycheck year round?
I know this time of year is difficult, if only because you want to do so much more for your children than you can.
But I’ve seen you carry a tree as big as you through the property by yourself without complaining or asking for help. I’ve seen you gathering the whole family together and going from neighborhood to neighborhood to admire the lights while Christmas carols were playing on your car radio.
I know that on most of the nights that you haven’t been too tired or shabby, try to sit with them and read at least one Christmas story, sometimes in front of a fire. I saw you make hot chocolate and break out the advent calendar, determined to make beautiful holiday memories for the little people you love so much.
I know you shared your favorite vacation movies and smiled with pride when your kids laughed at “Elf” or giggled through “A Christmas Story” (fun fact to impress: The same kid who played Ralphie grew up to play one of the head elves who oversee Buddy at the North Pole. Ask your kids if they can spot him!)
I’ve seen you flipping through your Christmas cookie recipes and trying to schedule a time to bake with your favorite little people. Even more so, you went to extra lengths not to think about how much you don’t need these cookies in your home. (It’s the holidays, indulge yourself a little. I promise you deserve it.)
I know you may be worried (or even heartbroken) that you will be spending Christmas alone this year (maybe it’s up to your dad to have you) or that you can’t give them the Christmas they deserve, when they are with you. I know it’s not just the gifts that get expensive this time of year.
The visits to Santa Claus, the tree, the new ornaments, even the baked goods; it all adds up. And maybe you have a job where you don’t get paid on the days you don’t work. This is a short month with less money to come.
I still see you trying to do the best you can.
I know you snap out of bed a few nights reminding yourself that you forgot to hide the elf. So you jump up and move it while you think about it, and then you can’t go back to sleep for two hours. Only in the morning do you realize how unoriginal your new hiding place was.
And I know that you are the only one wrapping presents and that the corners are not exactly right because you are tired and stressed and have little time to yourself. And you have a few gifts with scraps of paper stuck together because you don’t have to waste any.
But, you know what? Your children don’t seem to care. They don’t mind that there are few presents under the tree or that the tree is used and a little bit beaten up.
They’re not upset that you had to skip Santa Claus’s visit this year, and they’ll remember all the Christmas stories by heart – because you’ve read them every year before. And do you want to know the best? They think you are beautiful enough to eat all the cookies without fear.
Maybe this is the first year you’ve done everything by yourself, or maybe it has always been like that. In any case, there is additional pressure if you are a single parent on vacation. You never want your kids to miss anything. You never want them to feel like they don’t have everything every other family is doing. And at this time of year it can be even more difficult to ignore that lack of presence.
But I promise you will be fine Amazing, in fact.
Because with every step you put your children first. You are pushing and trying to make this Christmas season better than the last, sticking to the traditions, creating memories and showing your kids how much you love them.
You are a super woman. And I’m here to tell you, even if these attempts don’t go exactly as originally planned, you know.
And they see you too.
You can see how you bend backwards to make the holidays extra special. You see how you put a smile on your face as you sing, even though the circles under your eyes are dark. You may not yet shine with gratitude; In fact, it could be years before they tell you how much your efforts meant. But they see you and the memories that you work so hard on.
You create Christmas on your own and your children benefit from it every day. They see you and will always remember …
The Christmas carols.
The hot chocolate.
The lazy elf.
All of this will mean so much more to them than anything you could possibly put under the tree. In fact, in years they won’t remember what gifts they received for Christmas – but they will remember how hard their mom worked to make it special.
You are doing a great job. So be kind to yourself this holiday season. You deserve some fond memories too.