Stop saving the damn china. You are a good and viable family now. Your home counts too, even though there are two. Of course it’s not perfect and of course your kids’ “other home” seems like a Norman Rockwell painting. Don’t believe it though, every day, life is tough, holidays are tougher….
When my ex and I were married, I was a stay at home mom. Yes, I worked here and there, but during the day, I stayed home and cared for our girls while he worked, or traveled for work. I was with them the majority of the time and still think of my oldest as my “sidekick”. Come on, the poor kid sat in my lap while I had a cavity filled, that’s love right there…and a lack of childcare. When we split up, I somehow forgot this fact and suddenly felt inferior. Allow me to explain….
My mother died when I was 15 and my father and I are estranged. They were both only children so I have no aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. While I have my sister and her family, they often spent holidays with her husband’s family. I felt like I had no family to offer the girls. Or at least, it sure seemed that way. As such, I agreed outside of court that their father could have them every Thanksgiving and Christmas and I would take them for Halloween and Easter, since his family is not big on those two. Was I miserable? Yes. But I thought at the time, that it was the right thing to do. You see, my ex has a huge family that all converge on one family home for every holiday. It’s loud, it’s fun, and it’s an environment I don’t have to offer. Sitting with boring ‘ole mom all alone and missing out on that seemed stupid and selfish to me.
My sister and I coordinate more holidays together. Additionally, my ex voluntarily offered to start rotating the major holidays. My ex deserves credit for simply offering, because he wanted me to see the girls on important days, and thought it was good for the girls. That’s a good dad and a good friend folks.
I am grateful for those things every single day. But you know what? I didn’t need them to be worth spending Christmas with. I am their mother and that was enough. My girls love their holidays with me even though I don’t have a huge group to offer. I may screw up, but I’m still their mother and they care more that I showed up than whether my execution was perfect (thank goodness, because it usually isn’t).
Don’t wait until you have what you think you need. They were yours the second you brought them into this world and you don’t need the perfect house or the perfect family. You are the perfect family because you’re theirs. Stop saving the china for some annoying holiday tradition you think they need or want. By the way, the china is probably ugly anyway and you’re only keeping it because some dead relative gave it to you and you think you should use it. Stop assuming the “other” family is better. You matter, your family matters, and so does your home, no matter what that looks like for your family. Your kids love you. You will struggle until you love you too.