Last week we took our children and grandchildren to go ride the Polar Express train for Christmas. As I was watching my daughter-in-law getting her two year old son and her four month old daughter ready to go it reminded me of how utterly exhausting it can be to a mother with small children. The feedings, the diaper changings, the diaper bag loaded with about everything you own so you’ll be ready for whatever disasters strike while you’re out and about, the children crying…the mother wanting to cry…it’s just a lot! And it reminded me of a really cute letter a young mother wrote to Santa years ago which read:
I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.
I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years.
Here are my Christmas wishes: I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you’re hauling big ticket items this year I’d like a car with fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.
On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and ‘Take your hands off your brother,’ because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the in-laws’ house seem just like mine. If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. If you don’t mind I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs to eat contraband ice cream in his pajamas at midnight.
Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch a cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.
P.S. – One more thing…you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.
I know this is an especially crazy time of year for parents with young kids, but the PS in that letter is the part to hang onto, because one day when your kids are all grown up you’re gonna miss these times of them being little like crazy…
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )