Post-Christmas Mommy Guilt


The guilt started as we drove home in the dark after a not so silent night at my parents Christmas Eve service. Much of motherhood, especially the preschool years, must be met with humor and a lot of patience. This night was no exception. During the Children’s Message (in which all of the kids in the church service were invited upfront), my boys and their partner in crime cousin thought it would be a good idea to have a wrestling match. As the pastor closed in prayer, our boys were piled on top of each other like a triple stack at IHOP. Then, at one point during the service I looked around and noticed I was alone on the back pew, save for my sleeping 3-month-old in her carrier. The other 9 people in my extended family were in the foyer due to poor behavior! Surprisingly, I was not bothered by these chaotic events—it just typified the season of life that we were in.

However, as we drove home that night the mental barrage began: “Once again, another Christmas season has come and gone and I have not claimed the real meaning of Christmas for my family. 

The Advent wreath under utilized; the Jesse Tree made but not experienced; so many great ideas that never happened. 
When will I get it right? When will baby Jesus not get lost
in the to-do lists, the presents to wrap, the Christmas cards
to address, or the out of town packing?”

As this mommy guilt heaped upon my shoulders, all of a sudden—it hit me; a silent nudge from God. “What about the rest of the year?” 

What if I did everything just right during the holidays, but Jesus was not celebrated the other 11 months of the year? I can surely seize more moments next Christmas season, but if that is the only time of the year that baby Jesus—King Jesus—is lifted up in our house, then something is clearly wrong. What does my everyday life speak to my kids about Jesus; about His love, His patience, His grace and forgiveness? How does discipline in our home bring them to a better understanding of the true reason of why He had to come as a baby? How does the joy that I exhibit through trials or suffering demonstrate the power of a living God inside of me?

“What if Christmas is not like a firecracker that flashes in the sky and fades as quickly as it appeared? What if Christmas is the culmination of this growing crescendo throughout the whole year?” 

This would give greater texture and veracity of the Truth of the Christmas story for our kids. They would know that it is real—not because the calendar says so, but because of a well lived (absolutely not perfect!) life before them.

So, for those like me who are burdened by the guilt of “I didn’t do this right…somehow I missed it again this year,” let’s throw off the lie that the enemy is feeding us. 

“Christmas is not a once a year celebration;
one that we either ‘got right’ or ‘missed the boat…again!’ 
The story of Christmas is for everyday.”

Everyday I mess up, fall short, and indulge in the selfishness of sin. Everyday I am in need of a Savior, a baby Jesus, to come and make things right, to make me new again. Everyday I can be part of His redemptive story, living out the Truth before my kids in such an attractive way that they can’t help but notice what’s up with their crazy mom. So, let’s seek Him in the not so silent moments of our chaotic lives. And even if we seemed to have missed it this Christmas, we always have today!