Another story I wrote so long ago when my kids were little and I really had no idea what I was doing…not at all like now. My kids are huge now.
NO SANTA FOR YOU…
Yes, it’s true, I took Santa away from my kids one frustrating evening in December. I have never been one to use the line “if you’re not good Santa won’t bring you any toys”. I just don’t think I should have to blatantly threaten my kids to behave; at least not with a threat I have no intention of following through on. Now, give me a threat that I can carry out and I’ll use it; the “no TV”, “no dessert”, “no allowance” threats are in regular rotation in my home. Anyway, this particular evening Mike was on shift and I was supposed to take our kids to the local volunteer fire department for the annual Christmas Potluck and visit from Santa. The day had been horrendous and by the time 5 pm rolled around I had reached the end of my rope. Ranting and raving about their behavior I began with threats from my usual list. When these did not have the desired effect I went above and beyond the ‘no toys for Christmas’ threat…I jumped straight to the big man himself. “That’s it,” I cried “no Santa for you!”
Yep…call me the Christmas nazi….I leapfrogged the standard escalation of threats and went for the big guns. Now, as the words left my mouth, I realized the huge hole I had just dug for myself. I watched my kid’s faces as shock registered on their features. I was teetering on the edge of that hole and my footing was faltering. If you don’t have any kids you might not understand the situation I had put myself in; I had entered the land of “stuck between a rock and a hard place”. If I followed through on my crazed statement of “No Santa” I would be subjected to hours of crying, stomping and “you’re a bad mommy”. However, a lesson would be learned and hopefully another such evening might be avoided without such a strong threat. If, on the other hand, I chose to live in peace for the evening, as was so tempting, and did not make good on said threat, my credibility would be shot. I might not see the effects of this choice tonight, they would more likely crop up at the next similar situation. What had I done to myself….
Well, after much repentance a compromise was worked out: the kids would not be allowed to attend the entire evening’s festivities but if they could complete their chores in time they could go to the potluck. Kind of like small-town Cinderellas. I guess that means I went from the Christmas nazi to the wicked-(step) mother…I shudder to think of what that says about my parenting skills.
As we piled into the car I was still far from anything resembling the Christmas spirit. We were not even out of the driveway when the kids began to argue. I locked up the brakes. “I will turn this car around…” Aha, a threat I would gladly carry out. After a volley of “No, we’ll be good” and “PPPLLLEEEAAASSSEEE”, we began the drive again. I was not looking forward to this.
About four miles into the drive we came over a rise in the road to see flares shining through the fog. Amber lights and the fire department’s duty pickup were the next images to form. Great. “Now what!” I said with all the frustration from that night surfacing in my tone of voice. After a quiet pause the small voice of my middle child came from the back of the car: “I didn’t do it mom, honest”.