|It's easy to forget yourself in the chaos of Christmas|
If ever there were a time when the stresses of parenthood should be acknowledged and rewarded, it's surely at Christmas.
Now I can accept that if you hate Christmas, then telling yourself you are putting yourself through the nightmare of shopping in the overheated and overpriced emporia of commercial excess for them may well make it a bit more bearable.
But how sad.
How sad if we can't enjoy the fun. How sad if we can't bedeck the fridge with tinsel. How sad if we can't indulge our inner child and cover shelves with elves, stags, fake snow, snow globes and enough tealights to illuminate a football pitch.
Christmas should be a time to reflect; to congratulate yourself on another year of challenges and triumphs. Another year of seeing your children grow, develop, mature in wonderful ways you probably never dreamed of.
Why dull their pleasure by not entering into the spirit of things?
Children want to see their parents happy.
And, the Christmas story is very much a celebration of parenthood isn't it?
Traditionally we women bear the brunt of the shopping, cooking and organisation. Some of us put ridiculous amounts of stress on ourselves because we focus on making everyone else happy.
But why don't we find a few ways to make ourselves happy?
Whether that's a bottle of our favourite liqueur or our favourite chocolates, a scented candle, a new cushion or a special Christmas decoration to add to the tree, there are many ways to acknowledge ourselves.
It's not about buying things; it's about acknowledging that we are very often the rock to which others cling and sometimes we need strengthening - otherwise we will find ourselves chiseled away.
Sometimes the best treat we can give ourselves is a little while alone, with a book and a coffee. Time to reflect, regroup and breathe.
I hope that, as the Christmas preparations ramp up a gear this week, you will remember that it's your Christmas too.
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