**OUR ELF HAS OFFICIALLY RETIRED**
I'm unsubscribing to not feeling good enough...
Here's what went down...
My kids are 11 and almost 9... #ElfOnTheShelf was fun when they were little and for a season or two, but last year it got out of hand...
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would go to bed each night, and just as I was about to fall asleep, I'd have a WAVE of panic and anxiety...I FORGOT to move the stupid Elf...AGAIN.
Begrudgingly, I'd get out of bed, and try and come up with something creative. Or maybe just put him sitting on the tree.
The kids would wake up and if he wasn't doing something SUPER fun or funny (like sitting on the toilet with chocolate chips in the bowl...yes I'm that mom)... they would be disappointed. The Elf thing often just wasn't GOOD enough. They'd go to school and compare with their friends the amazing things their elves did...my son informed me that his friends Elf brought presents. SERIOUSLY?! I can't compete with that.
Feelings of 'not good enough' PLAUGE me in every area of my life...total vulnerability and transparency here. ESPECIALLY during the holidays.
Not enough time for work.
Not enough time for my kids.
Not enough time for a relationship.
Not enough time to workout.
Not enough money.
Not smart enough.
Not pretty enough.
Didn't buy the right gifts.
Cookie plates aren't just 'right' or we totally ran out of time.
Didn't get the Christmas cards out.
Didn't perfectly execute EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE.
And to top it all off...
Didn't live up to the Pinterest standards of ELF ON THE MOTHER FREAKING SHELF.
I keep forgetting to put the Elf out. Yep, he's been in my desk drawer (which my kids have seen and chosen to overlook the logic here) and I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO REMEMBER...let me also make note that the tooth fairy has failed to come the last two nights.
My kids wake up each morning disappointed...that their mom (who works her butt off to pay the bills, keep the house clean, cook, laundry, give to my community, love my kids, keep a somewhat normal life, etc. etc... insert all the things) can't seem to remember to play into the insane story of the Elf.
And then I feel...once again...not good enough.
This is NOT what I want to teach my kids. This is NOT what this season is about.
YALL. This was started as something that is fun and light. NOT TO COMPETE with other parents, or have one more area to 'prove' our love to our kids.
If you participate and get into it, that's TOTALLY awesome, ZERO judgement, it's super fun.
BUT FOR THE LOVE...STOP THE MADNESS IF IT STRESSES YOU OUT, STOP. You may copy me here, please do. Or come up with a way to end it that fits your family dynamic.
I also feel like my kids are old enough this year to transition from receiving magic to giving magic.
I want to teach them that magic, love and abundance isn't reserved for inanimate objects or make believe characters. It's REAL and WE CREATE IT. We GIVE it. We SHOW it. I want them to not feel anxiety about being 'watched' or 'good' for Santa. They're good now. They're enough. They don't have to prove themselves to me or anyone else. But I DO want them to make a conscious effort to spread love, joy, gratitude, kindness and magic.
So here's what our "Elf" wrote:
"Eli & Lexi,
I apologize for my delay, however I have a good reason.
You see, there are millions of children all over the world that don't get visited by an Elf. Many don't receive presents, have clean water to drink or yummy food to eat.
It makes me sad.
SO I thought you would be okay if I spent some of my magic helping them out for a bit.
You two are great kids, Santa knows this.
So I'm going to hang out here while my magic helps other hearts, k?
Here's what I want you to do...
Instead of looking for me each morning, I want you to look for others. Look around you, on the bus, at school, at the playground...help spread my magic and kindness to others. Then in the mornings, sit by me and write down your magic. How are you helping make this world more magical?
I believe in YOU. Merry Christmas!
Feel free to copy and share this, let's let each other off the hook, have less stress and anxiety this season (and always) and teach our children that giving, gratitude and thinking about others trumps overwhelm, competition and going overboard any day.