‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – A Busy Mother’s Perspective

It’s the day before Christmas, the house is a tip!
I’m nowhere near ready, I’m in need of a kip.
The stockings aren’t hung, and the tinsel is wonky.
The nativity scene has a three legged donkey.

The children are tired, excited and ratty,
They keep fighting and crying, it’s driving me batty.
I’m certain I missed things when online food shopping,
The bathroom needs cleaning, the floors all need mopping.

There’s dust, mess and clutter all over the house
The cat’s present to me: a half-eaten mouse.
With Herculean effort, it has to be said
I feed and wash children, and force them to bed.

Then from outside the house there’s a noise and a clatter
I go to the window to see what’s the matter.
The sight I behold is by no means pretty:
My husband’s back home from some drinks in the city.

With deep concentration he unlocks the door
And chucks his belongings all over the floor.
He giggles and slurs, and is rather amusing,
But within thirty minutes the b*gger is snoozing.

“Oh right!” I rhetorically say to the wall,
“When it comes to Christmas, I’ll just do it all!”
I crack open the wine, and I’m cleaning and glugging
And allowing myself to indulge in “humbugging”

I sprint-clean the house, and then get to the wrapping
The scissors are chopping, the ribbons are flapping
And in spite of it all, I am feeling quite merry,
Surrounded by paper and main-lining sherry.

And just after midnight, when most jobs are finished,
(And alcohol supplies are somewhat diminished)
I hear jingling bells from the outside domain
And go rushing right back to the window again.

And what to my half-drunken eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer!
The old fella driving has familiar banter
And I know it an instant it has to be Santa:

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all”

I glance in the mirror and to my dismay
My make up is smudged and I’m in disarray.
My hair roots are grey, and there’s a stain on my top,
I’m just not guest-ready, despite working non-stop.

But too late to change now; a scrambling sound
And down the chimney St Nicholas comes with a bound.
I’ll spare you the details, he looks as he should
Red suit, jelly belly, beard, so far so good.

But faced with the main man, I feel quite unsteady
And bleat “Go away, Santa, I am not ready!
Christmas can’t come till my chores are all done,
When everything’s just right, then we’ll start the fun.

“My kids need perfection, and they deserve all
The homemade delights of my Pinterest haul.
They must have perfect presents and a day to remember
I’ve been striving for this since the end of September!”

It might be the wine, but I feel kind of crummy
And Santa is looking at me a bit funny.
A shake of his head and a stare just too long,
And he says, “You daft woman, you’ve got this all wrong!”

“The kids want for nothing, thanks to all that you do
What they want for Christmas is time spent with you!
They don’t care about wrapping, whatever may come
They just want a laugh and some time with their mum.

“You must stop competing; you’re going off kilter
Concerning yourself with the Instagram filter
To prove your success with airs and with graces,
Not seeing the unfiltered joy in their faces”

I couldn’t believe it, the cheeky old elf!
I wanted to punch him in spite of myself.
I stood in a sulk as he went to his work,
He fills all the stockings and turns with a jerk.

He gives me a stare that is rather intense,
And says “Come on, Lady, you know it makes sense.”
I catch in my breath, and then in a fright
I realise the old dude’s totally right!

I’d been so busy planning out everything well
That I’d landed myself in a weird festive hell.
The pressure I felt was all coming from me
And not from the family, I suddenly see.

Christmas is not about wrapping and bakes
Mums everywhere, please learn from my mistakes!
Cut your festive workload by at least a half
Spend time with your loved ones and make time to laugh.

Now St Nick is done, to the fireplace he goes
And then with a nod, up the chimney he rose.
I hear him exclaim as he glides out of sight:
“Happy Christmas to all, have a relaxing night!”

©️Michelle Harris

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