Thursday, 19 November 2015

Mummy Wars: The Christmas Edition

Well it seems like it's that time of year again - the Christmas ads are on TV, the dulcet tones of Noddy Holder are blaring from supermarkets across the country, and we're all losing our sh*t over the appearance of the Coca Cola truck in our local towns - it can only mean one thing...Christmas is well & truly just around the corner!

I'm one of the worlds biggest fans of Christmas - infact I can see myself going to extreme's in future years once my kids are grown up and becoming one of those loons you hear about on TV who celebrate Christmas every single day - but of course along with all the many many wonderful things about Christmas, there's bound to be a thing or two about it that grinds your gears.

For me...that thing is the yearly emergence of "The Mummy Wars: The Christmas Edition!"

Most of us parents are familiar with the Mummy Wars - they can start over any simple element of parenting that involves decision making - it starts at the very point of giving birth, did you choose a drug free birth or did you dare to reach for pain releif (Or, like me, go one better and opt for an elective c section - DEVIL WOMAN THAT I AM!).

They continue to present themselves through your childs life - Did you formula feed or breast feed?! Did you go for an Ofsted Outstanding rated school or are you home educating?! Do you let the children play with plastic tat or is it wooden toys all the way?! Do you rely only on amber for teething or do you reach for the calpol?!

No matter what decision it is you're making, there's always another mother out there who made the opposite one - and you'd think, as grown ups, that would be fine and we could each just respect each others decisions and let it go - but no, far too often The Mummy Wars kick in and it seems that we must instead fight our corner and defend our reasons for the decisions we make lest we be forever judged by those who think differently!

When I had my first baby, I found myself both surprised and enthralled by the Mummy Wars and I'll admit it - on occasion they got the better of me and I found myself upset at the judgements I faced...since having Noah I've managed to care a lot less, which is nice, as frankly...why do I give two hoots what some numpty on Facebook with too much spare time thinks about whether I'm baby led weaning or not?!

But The Christmas Edition of the Mummy Wars has got its claws into manages it every year...try as I might, I can't help but rise to the bait and find myself SHOUTING (as in...typing with my caps lock on, these things nearly ALWAYS occur exclusively online you see...) my opinions back at people.

So what is the main bone of contention amongst us Mummies when it comes to Christmas?

Well there are a few - Whether or not you tell your children about the existence of Father Christmas, whether or not you involve religion in your holiday celebrations, and more recently whether or not you partake in Elf On The Shelf (Who knew THAT would be such a massive shit stirrer!! Seriously, do we have nothing of more consequence to debate?!)

But the one that really gets me everytime is...How much do you spend on your children at Christmas?

Now you might think, as I did, that it's nobody elses bloody business what you spend at any time of the year on anything - but you'd be wrong.

Apparently, it is very much the concern of some parents what you spend per child, and you must justify your reasons for doing so!

This evening on good old Facebook, I found myself watching in awe as Mummy Wars: The Christmas Edition began in all its glory on the feed of a popular parenting magazine as it dared pose the question to its readers - How Much Do You Spend?

The magazine conducted a poll, but of course instead of simply submitting their answer if they chose to and moving on with their lives - parents were getting right into the thick of it, mud slinging left right and centre over how much was too much and how irresponsible & unnecessary it was to spend over a certain amount on your children.

The results of the poll as it currently stands look like this:

Now I'm sure if you fall into one of the other categories, you face just as much crap but I can only speak for the category I fall into myself...

Personally, I choose to spend over £150 per child - now bare in mind my children are under 3, and so there haven't actually been many Christmases yet - this is what I've spent this Christmas and the previous 2 that I've been a parent but who knows - perhaps in future my situation will be different and I'll spend less.

The insults I've seen tonight hurled at people who fall into my category are nothing short of mind-blowing.

From the standard contributions of "You're just spoiling your kids unnecessarily" to "You're only doing it to impress other parents" and "You're taking the meaning away from Christmas"....

I'm sorry, but I was under the impression that money I personally earn is mine to do with whatever I wish?

I choose to spend my money on presents for my children, If anything it's probably more for me than for the kids as I'm well aware that they'd be happy with whatever toys they get no matter how many there are - but I enjoy buying them gifts that I know they'll enjoy and use throughout the year, I enjoy seeing their enjoyment, THAT is where I want to spend my hard earned money so who exactly are you to try and make me feel bad about it?

I would never dream of telling anybody who spends £10 on their child at Christmas to do anything other than that if that's what they want to do - so why do I have to face criticism for what I choose to spend?

I got a lot of snotty comments when I spent a fair amount on my childs first Christmas as he was only 9 months old at the time - but the toys I bought for him were played with throughout that whole year and beyond, infact his main gift that year was a ride on train which is still in his bedroom and still used every single day 2 years on! So am I sorry I spent that money?! Absolutely not! Those toys were very much enjoyed and used to within an inch of their lives!

Am I losing the meaning of Christmas? No, I'm not - we very much remember and include the actual "reason for the season" when we attend our local Church every Christmas Eve, thank you very much.

Am I teaching my children to be spoiled and not think of others? No I'm not - I make sure we fill shoeboxes for operation christmas child every year, we send a little gift and letter of love and holiday wishes to the child we sponsor, we donate toys and clothes we don't use anymore to local childrens care homes and hospitals, we go out on Christmas Eve and deliver care packages to local homeless people - my children are/will be very aware that there are people less fortunate than them and are involved in helping wherever they can.

And what about the popular and trendy recent argument that only a handful of toys should be gifted from Santa because it's not fair that Santa brings some children 30 toys and others just 1?

Well I'm sorry but a HUGE part of Christmas for me is tradition, and when I was a child all of our Christmas gifts came from Santa - we didn't get anything from "My parents" at all (And yes I pointed that out to them one year, so I'm ready to face that question myself!).

As someone who likes to follow family traditions, all of my childrens gifts come from Santa too - I don't ever recall a single child at school ever asking me whether my gifts came from Santa or my parents, and I don't recall any serious conversations about what any of us got for Christmas - sure maybe there was excited chatter about a gift or two, but nobody sat reeling off lists of what they got that Christmas when we all went back to school - I don't think children are even the ones who notice these things, I think it's adults who are just looking for more things to get on their soap boxes about personally.

My children will be raised not to brag about what they have, be it at Christmas or any other time of year, but regardless - what other children receive is out of my control and I won't change the way I raise my children to fall in line with it. Should I stop giving them gifts altogether because some children don't receive any? Should I stop throwing them birthday parties because some children don't have them? Perhaps I should stop feeding them because some children in the world are starving? You could go on forever with these ridiculous comparisons - nobody thinks that way so why is this any different?

And as for the argument that parents only spend money on their children to compete with other parents, what a load of crap! Oh I have no doubt that SOME people out there probably do, and they're probably the same kinds of people that feel the need to write these ridiculously judgemental Facebook statuses about what other people choose to do with their money - what I spend at Christmas is for the enjoyment of myself and my kids, and its MY business.

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