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The 12 Days of Christmas. Perfection v Reality.

1
The 12 Days of Christmas: Perfection v Reality

ONE
Perfection:
The treasured, family Advent calendar is positioned in pride of place for all to see. Your children beautifully take turns to open each door with care and attention, revealing the elaborate artwork behind.
Reality:
The garish, chocolate Advent calendar, bought resentfully on the supermarket shop, has no chocolate left and every door ripped off. Never mind that it’s only Dec 5th! Naturally, there was a massive fight for the 24th (always the biggest one) but thankfully you

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2
won!

TWO
Perfection:
The tree looks tall and elegant, decorated exquisitely with frosted baubles, signifying a serene and snowy scene. At first glance, its wonderment invites a sharp intake of breath.
Reality:
The tree is lying on the floor. The dog knocked it over when trying to reach for a seductively, low hanging chocolate. It’s too blooming heavy to lift up by one person alone – you’ve tried. And let’s just say it’s colourful – in a vivid, rainbow-splattered mess type of way.

THREE
Perfection:
The mince pies are home-made in

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the Aga, with fluffy pastry and Waitrose organic mincemeat and a delectable holly sprig on each. You serve these divine delicacies to lovely neighbours, who express delight at their scrumptiousness.

Reality:
The home-made mince pies are burnt to a cinder. Not your fault – you were umpiring a sibling fight when the timer buzzed. They are replaced with supermarket own-brand with no pretty, holly sprig. Alas, you’ve eaten three already, in an emotional haze of stress eating.

FOUR
Perfection:
You party like it’s 1999 because you deserve it! All

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that feeding, cleaning, wiping and organising; you down a load of booze and blissfully forget that you have kids (just for a few hours). What hangover? You’re a spring chicken.

Reality:
You’re a few Proseccos into the party and the babysitter calls, as your youngest has been violently sick. You find yourself back home, trying to fake sober speech to the babysitter, whilst mopping up said sick! And how do you get the smell out of the carpet anyone? The next day, you have the hangover from hell.

FIVE
Perfection:
You slink into your little

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black dress – ‘oh such a classic’ and clinging beautifully in all the right places. You look in the mirror and swoon smugly to yourself.
Reality:
You squeeze awkwardly into your little black dress. You can’t breathe or sit down. The support pants (which are meant to help aren’t they?) are enhancing a bulge you normally ignore quite happily. You hyperventilate all evening from lack of oxygen.

SIX:
Perfection:
You plan your Christmas shopping like a boss. You visit little boutiques and independent shops, selecting perfect gifts for your

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loved ones.
Reality:
It’s December 18th and you are in a shopping Amazon frenzy, choosing gifts by ‘available delivery dates’ and just trying to get something!

SEVEN:
Perfection:
Christmas day is a day of bonding, love, celebration and family.
Reality:
Christmas day is a day of shouting, cursing and fighting with the family.

EIGHT
Perfection:
The Christmas fayre is a time to browse the stalls for unique presents, drink mulled wine and listen to the choir singing carols in angelic voices.
Reality:
The Christmas fayre is packed from

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wall-to-wall with sweaty adults and snotty kids. After 40 minutes queuing for Santa’s Grotto, your child pulls off Santa’s beard, traumatising herself and a generation of school kids waiting apprehensively in line.

NINE
Perfection:
You lay contentedly in bed on Christmas morning rising slowly. You saunter downstairs with a glass of champers, followed by some gentile present opening in the front room.
Reality:
At 5.30am you spring out of bed thinking you’ve been burgled. Everyone is buried under piles of Rudolph reindeer wrapping paper. You

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hear alternating squeals of delight mixed with tears of exhaustion.

TEN
Perfection:
Your Christmas cards are penned weeks ahead with attractive handwriting and a personalised note.
Reality:
The Christmas cards are scribbled in haste on December 23rd. You write ten and then forget to post them.

ELEVEN
Perfection:
From your kitchen window, you admire the scene on Christmas morning, as Jack Frost has dusted the garden with a crispy, white loveliness.
Reality:
You look outside and it’s raining cats and dogs. The kids are high on sugar and

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desperate to run off some steam. You are trapped indoors, with the relatives arriving soon.

TWELVE
Perfection:
You head to a wonderful show in London ‘en familie’ having a joyous trip, whilst taking in the Christmas lights.

Reality:
You go to your village hall to support the local panto. The kids are terrified of the baddie, whilst you are equally traumatised seeing Dad from the school gates, in his bloomers and serenading Cinderella.

Who wants perfection anyway? Reality is where it’s at. Merry Christmas!

SelfishMother.com
Harriet Frew

By

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- 30 Nov 18

The 12 Days of Christmas: Perfection v Reality

ONE
Perfection:
The treasured, family Advent calendar is positioned in pride of place for all to see. Your children beautifully take turns to open each door with care and attention, revealing the elaborate artwork behind.
Reality:
The garish, chocolate Advent calendar, bought resentfully on the supermarket shop, has no chocolate left and every door ripped off. Never mind that it’s only Dec 5th! Naturally, there was a massive fight for the 24th (always the biggest one) but thankfully you won!

TWO
Perfection:
The tree looks tall and elegant, decorated exquisitely with frosted baubles, signifying a serene and snowy scene. At first glance, its wonderment invites a sharp intake of breath.
Reality:
The tree is lying on the floor. The dog knocked it over when trying to reach for a seductively, low hanging chocolate. It’s too blooming heavy to lift up by one person alone – you’ve tried. And let’s just say it’s colourful – in a vivid, rainbow-splattered mess type of way.

THREE
Perfection:
The mince pies are home-made in the Aga, with fluffy pastry and Waitrose organic mincemeat and a delectable holly sprig on each. You serve these divine delicacies to lovely neighbours, who express delight at their scrumptiousness.

Reality:
The home-made mince pies are burnt to a cinder. Not your fault – you were umpiring a sibling fight when the timer buzzed. They are replaced with supermarket own-brand with no pretty, holly sprig. Alas, you’ve eaten three already, in an emotional haze of stress eating.

FOUR
Perfection:
You party like it’s 1999 because you deserve it! All that feeding, cleaning, wiping and organising; you down a load of booze and blissfully forget that you have kids (just for a few hours). What hangover? You’re a spring chicken.

Reality:
You’re a few Proseccos into the party and the babysitter calls, as your youngest has been violently sick. You find yourself back home, trying to fake sober speech to the babysitter, whilst mopping up said sick! And how do you get the smell out of the carpet anyone? The next day, you have the hangover from hell.

FIVE
Perfection:
You slink into your little black dress – ‘oh such a classic’ and clinging beautifully in all the right places. You look in the mirror and swoon smugly to yourself.
Reality:
You squeeze awkwardly into your little black dress. You can’t breathe or sit down. The support pants (which are meant to help aren’t they?) are enhancing a bulge you normally ignore quite happily. You hyperventilate all evening from lack of oxygen.

SIX:
Perfection:
You plan your Christmas shopping like a boss. You visit little boutiques and independent shops, selecting perfect gifts for your loved ones.
Reality:
It’s December 18th and you are in a shopping Amazon frenzy, choosing gifts by ‘available delivery dates’ and just trying to get something!

SEVEN:
Perfection:
Christmas day is a day of bonding, love, celebration and family.
Reality:
Christmas day is a day of shouting, cursing and fighting with the family.

EIGHT
Perfection:
The Christmas fayre is a time to browse the stalls for unique presents, drink mulled wine and listen to the choir singing carols in angelic voices.
Reality:
The Christmas fayre is packed from wall-to-wall with sweaty adults and snotty kids. After 40 minutes queuing for Santa’s Grotto, your child pulls off Santa’s beard, traumatising herself and a generation of school kids waiting apprehensively in line.

NINE
Perfection:
You lay contentedly in bed on Christmas morning rising slowly. You saunter downstairs with a glass of champers, followed by some gentile present opening in the front room.
Reality:
At 5.30am you spring out of bed thinking you’ve been burgled. Everyone is buried under piles of Rudolph reindeer wrapping paper. You hear alternating squeals of delight mixed with tears of exhaustion.

TEN
Perfection:
Your Christmas cards are penned weeks ahead with attractive handwriting and a personalised note.
Reality:
The Christmas cards are scribbled in haste on December 23rd. You write ten and then forget to post them.

ELEVEN
Perfection:
From your kitchen window, you admire the scene on Christmas morning, as Jack Frost has dusted the garden with a crispy, white loveliness.
Reality:
You look outside and it’s raining cats and dogs. The kids are high on sugar and desperate to run off some steam. You are trapped indoors, with the relatives arriving soon.

TWELVE
Perfection:
You head to a wonderful show in London ‘en familie’ having a joyous trip, whilst taking in the Christmas lights.

Reality:
You go to your village hall to support the local panto. The kids are terrified of the baddie, whilst you are equally traumatised seeing Dad from the school gates, in his bloomers and serenading Cinderella.

Who wants perfection anyway? Reality is where it’s at. Merry Christmas!

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Harriet Frew

I'm a Mum of three (one daughter and twin sons). I'm a therapist specialsing in eating disorders and body image; working for the Adult Eating Disorder Service at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge and in private practice. I am passionate about supporting people to recover from eating disorders. I like to try my hand at ninja warrior training and parkour, when I have time!

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