This morning I thought I was going to burst. Having a child-free day, you may or may not know from experience, is a luxurious treat and I am always faced with so many things that I could do with this time to myself that I rarely achieve what I want because I spend so long choosing what to do first.
So instead of buying outstanding Christmas presents, washing my hair or phoning the doctors as planned, I became obsessed with sorting out my Tesco clubcard boost points – a task which makes me cry every year. Why? I have no clue. I have no clue why I started to obsess over it but I do know that it makes me cry because I am very low-tech and any online admin is only made ten times worse by forgotten passwords, screens timing out, and other things that are making me sweaty just thinking about.
Anyway it was a total Faff Fest and in the end I left the 2-pack of toddler joggers and padded snow mitts that I wasn’t even that arsed about in the basket and frisbeed my ipad across the floor in a sulk.
It took a little cry, some deep breaths, a cup of tea and a ciggie to get over it. Yes: get over it. How privileged I am that my biggest problems are checking out non-essential online shopping. But it wasn’t just about the mittens at all. It was that with only a few days to Christmas, I wasn’t ready. My house isn’t sparkling from top to bottom, I don’t have an abundance of presents under the tree with home made gift tags on, I haven’t made mince pies.
So this was the opportunity for me to have a reality check.
(1) Father Christmas has probably shimmied down the chimney into some real shit tips in his time, and he’s the only non-family member who will be setting foot in my house this Christmas. So if I haven’t hoovered out the cupboard under the stairs it’s not the end of the world. Get a grip and stop finding more work to do.
(2) There will be presents under the tree, if I stop faffing around with F&F mittens and order a bloody train set. There. Job done.
(3) Oh let’s cancel Christmas over some unmade mince pies shall we?
Sometimes you have to stop yourself in your tracks and realise the absurdity of a situation, and I’m sure there’s loads more people out there who have got themselves into a pickle too. You only have to scroll five pics deep into Instagram to be gripped by inadequacy…
Why aren’t I doing Elf on the Shelf? Why haven’t I made a gingerbread house with my toddler? Sorry, where’s my camel coat ‘n’ cashmere photo shoot with Oxford Street Christmas Lights backdrop? Why aren’t we in Lapland laughing our heads off in matching fair isle sweaters and getting Kardashian-worthy selfies with reindeer? Why have I been watching Paw Patrol since 6am and eaten two thirds of the tin of roses that I’d bought for the window cleaner?
OK that’s last one’s not strictly Instagram related but my point remains: ‘Tis the season to feel shit about yourself. As a mother and a woman and a human being, there’s nothing like Christmas to make me feel like a poorly organised failure.
It’s time to let myself off. Because once you let yourself off, you can really start to enjoy Christmas.