Christmas Pressures and Being Realistic

With my husband not being well for the past 2 weeks and unable to come with us to collect the Christmas tree I wanted to do something really special this weekend to make up for it.
I haven't felt as Christmassy as I expected, and at times I can't understand why we have the tree up as it feels like it is months away from Christmastime.
So we planned to go to a local-ish garden centre which we knew would have potential to get us in the Christmas spirit.
When we turned up we went straight for a coffee and to get something to eat. A hot room, a long queue and over-excited boys soon made us wonder if we should have stayed at home.

Promises were made that behaviour would improve and we then went off to look at decorations, pick up a couple of Christmas presents and to find the Reindeer.
Behaviour didn't improve, and despite us saying "don't touch", they touched. Which I kind of don't blame them for, glittery things do scream "TOUCH MEEEEEE". We searched for a Christmassy Yankee Candle for me, the only one I liked had been scraped by curious fingers it seemed, and although this may make me sound like a total brat I couldn't help but feel a little upset as I had been looking forward to getting one for so long.

We picked a decoration each, went to see the Reindeer, picked up the little bits we need for a Christmas present and left, with Harry crying because he wanted to carry the bag and we wouldn't let him.

I felt disappointed, and really quite gutted that this day hadn't gone as I hoped.
On the drive back home I went over and over in my head about whether or not the boys behaviour was due to me being a bad mum. I had to go through certain exercises I'd done when I went to therapy and although I came to the conclusion that I'm not a bad mum, I can't help but to question my parenting.
I'm going wrong somewhere, but where?

Are my expectations too high? To I give in too easily? Am I too strict?

With being so into social media and into blogging it's easy to see peoples posts and photos and to want what they are having. To do what they are doing. To have things all lovely and perfect.
And that's when you need to give yourself a little slap, a wake up call. These photos and posts will just show those lovely moments, because that's what we want to remember. 
I think Christmas brings so much pressure. Everything has to be perfect. We want it to be that one time of year when we are all happy.
We want it to be magical, but the reality is that children ARE over-excited. Parents ARE stressed. And those two things together clash. Big time.

I realise that today doesn't mean that Christmas is completely ruined. It doesn't mean that Christmas has to be cancelled.
It doesn't necessarily require a phonecall to Santa to tell him that our children have been disobedient.
It was just one bad day. And we will have better days.
We will have days like yesterday, when they sat up the table doing Christmas crafts. Enjoying each others company. Telling each other that they had done well.
Doing as they were told. Smiling.
And yes there was a mess but I didn't let it get to me. Sometimes you have to realise that there are downsides to certain activites and mess can be cleaned up. It's not important and doesn't ruin a day.

So, we draw a line under this. Remind ourselves that not all children are perfect, and that Christmas outings don't have to be full of magic and tales for people to idolise.
We need to take these days, tear them apart a little bit, and pick out the good parts. Discard those horrid moments, and remember which bits made us smile, and take those with us.

We are not a perfect family, our children do play up sometimes. And that's real life. And that's fine with me.

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