I've stewed on this blog post for two days. I feel like I have things to say in retaliation to a recent blog post titled "Why I'll never tell my children there's a Father Christmas," but at the same time I don't want to come across as little miss judgey pants, because I try and live by the Mommitment.
When I first read the post I jumped on the defensive, but I couldn't understand why? Here was a woman who was saying that when she has children in the future she won't be telling them that there is a Santa. That's fine. Why was I bothered? I'm never usually affected by other people's parenting choices.
At first I thought it was just that she'd broken my Christmas spirit a little. But there's more to it. I realised that here was a woman who was not yet a parent, justifying her future actions, but in doing so was actually placing judgment on present parents. She was already involved in mum wars before she even was a mum.
Now I can take the mum wars, I'm used to it. But mix the mum wars with Christmas and I'm one pissed off mummy.
I have to retaliate in defence of all the 'believers' out there.
So here goes!
"We all know that spoiling a child senseless does nothing but help shape them into an ungrateful, entitled adult, yet so many parents have a complete disregard for the consequences. I've heard of countless kids ripping open a whole room full of presents, without even a pause or a thank you. It's disgraceful."
I fail to see what the belief in Santa has to do with this comment. You can't put all parents who choose to go along with the 'Santa Story' in to a Christmas wrapped box and stick a label on it entitled "parents to spoilt, bratty kids."
Having children who believe in Santa doesn't automatically mean that they are going to be greeted with a room full of presents. We are all in different financial situations. Some parents choose to have one or two gifts from Santa, some choose to have them all from him. Some children will have a room full of presents, and some will have 3 or 4, sometimes less.
Some parents who do "spoil" their kids at Christmas perhaps do so for a reason; reasons that only a parent will understand. That's not a dismissal of anyone's opinions or values who currently don't have kids, it's just a fact that until you have experienced the classic guilt that comes part and parcel of parenting for a number of different reasons, you will not understand the urge and temptation to sometimes spoil your children. As wrong as it may seem to you it's just something that we can fall in to, despite the knowledge of possible consequences. But that's our choice.
I also wouldn't use the term 'disgraceful' to describe a child ripping open presents without a pause on Christmas Day. I'd be more inclined to say the behaviour is due to joy and excitement, and just being a child! But maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm disgraceful too?
"In a time when so many are living in poverty, how can you raise a child to just expect a whole hoard of anonymous gifts from some mysterious man in the sky? I love giving presents, but I want my children to know where those things came from, and that they are lucky to have them, as some people have nothing."
What is actually being said here? Its unacceptable for you to allow your children to believe Santa brought them presents when you have actually bought them? Because you love giving presents? So is this about you wanting to feel the benefit of someone receiving presents from you, or is it about kids in poverty. I'm confused. If you want to teach your kids about children who are less fortunate how is the belief in Santa relevant? Kids living in poverty believe in Santa too you know. We're not all upper class snobs with bratty kids and money growing on trees.
You can teach your kids about those who are less fortunate throughout the entirety of the year, not just Christmas. Teaching kindness, selflessness, lack of judgment and empathy are lessons you can teach as a parent every day. They are not values that can only be highlighted at Christmas.
"I asked my mother if she was Santa. Rather than carry on the charade, she told me the truth - that it's just a nice story parents tell children to get them to behave."
Wrong. This is not the truth. We don't ALL tell our kids about Santa in order to get them to behave. Believe it or not we are not so incapable of being parents that we have to rely on mythical beings to keep our kids in check. There's this thing called "parenting" where you lay boundaries and instil discipline. How do you think we get on for the other 11 months of the year? Some of us tell our kids about Santa because we want our kids to be kids, have an imagination, believe in magic and fairy tales whilst they are still innocent enough to do so. Because we enjoy seeing the excitement in our children's faces at the whole idea of Santa, his elves and reindeer. In a world that is full of cruelty, wars and all the other sick and twisted stuff, perhaps we just enjoy the fact that for now, our children believe that the world is a more magical place than it actually is.
Aside from this, the tale of Santa is not just a 'nice story.'
Santa is based on St Nicholas who was a real person. The story of St Nicholas is one of kindness and selflessness, some of the values you want to teach your children about Christmas whilst simultaneously disregarding the fact that this person ever existed. Because after all, he's just a made up man in the sky who stops your kids from misbehaving.
"Not only are you essentially lying to your little ones, you're showing them you (or Father Christmas) doesn't keep their word either. So when you tell me I'm going to be a 'terrible' parent, please just keep that in mind"
I believe there is a vast difference between lying and allowing your child to believe in something that brings them joy. I'm sure most kids get to an age where they realise that the whole thing is bullshit, but I'm yet to meet an adult who has been scarred by the realisation that Father Christmas isn't real and feel that they have been lied to and betrayed by their parents. Like it or not, there are probably going to be a million other ways that we will let our kids down at some point that will be completely out of our control, Santa or no Santa.
I'm really sorry that before even becoming a parent you have been made to feel that others would have such a negative view of you, but here's the deal. Most of us don't care what you want to tell your kids. They're your kids. But this is what we do care about. We care that in your defence of being a "terrible parent" you have ultimately stereotyped and judged a large percentage of mums and dads. If you are going to write an article defending yourself, you cannot expect your justifications to be respected or taken seriously when you attack others whilst doing so.
You will not be a terrible parent for not telling your kids that Santa exists. But we are not terrible either for telling them that he does.