Thus Begins the Holiday Guilt

Sometimes I swear the holidays were created to make parents feel inadequate. Or maybe just parents who don't live up to the standard parenting norms floating around the world.

Today's guilt? Peatuk's outfit for his holiday show. Peatuk is going to be a holiday elf in his show at school this afternoon. Yesterday, his teacher gave me his outfit- a shiny blue and red costume- and said it needed to be ironed and a belt needed to be added. Simple enough, right? You would think…

My ironing skills are… minimal. I am comfortable ironing heavy cottons that I'm sure won't burn or melt. Beyond that, I'm lost. I was terrified I would melt the fabric, so I tossed it between two pieces of cotton fabric to protect it. Of course, then I couldn't get a flat ironing done. Basically, I failed, and Peatuk's outfit is still all crinkly.

Then there's the belt issue. Peatuk doesn't have a belt. Not a single one. He has a set of suspenders, and that could work, maybe. But of course I couldn't find them because he doesn't actually wear them ever. So pins. Pins solve everything, right? But I couldn't get the lovely little monster to hold still long enough for me to pin things up.

So what happened? I returned the outfit to the teachers exactly the way they gave it to me yesterday. Oops. 

This morning Nikola was tired and didn't feel up to taking Peatuk to school. I didn't want to, either. Not because I was tired or lazy, but because I was ashamed that I hadn't completed my simple parenting assignment. 

Sure enough, on arrival I saw numerous parents handing over crisply, perfectly pressed outfits to the teachers. On hangers. Covered with waterproof bags. Ours? Folded in a grocery bag, wet from where Peatuk sneezed on it this morning.

This is an issue Nikola will never understand. He just shrugs and says, "Oh well, what's important is that he has fun today." 

Yes, of course that's what's important. But there is societal pressure on the female parent that the male parent is clueless about. (Assuming we have a male and female parent). No one will judge Nikola when they see Peatuk in his wrinkled, ill-fitting costume today. If they notice, they will be judging my parenting skills. 

I'm already the mom who doesn't follow gender norms, lets her son go to school with painted nails, backpacks her children, doesn't always have a hat on the baby, and lets her kid be a little more wild than is acceptable. Now I'm also going to be the mom who can't bother to iron her son's holiday costume. 

Now a lot of that I am actually proud of. I'm proud that my son gets to explore gender more freely than most kids. I'm happy that my child appreciates nature and gets dirty in it. I think it's important for Peatuk to gain skills on his own and feel comfortable expressing himself.

There are also some things I'm not so proud about. My house is never clean. My laundry is never done, and I order in food way too often. These are things that bother me, and I feel judged about even if no one is actively judging me. But when people already think you're the quirky foreigner, adding in something like this doesn't help the situation.

So, happy holidays to all the moms. Now is when, more than ever, your moming skills are visible to all. Ruined the Christmas cookies? Failed on the pageant outfit? Didn't get holiday photos done in time? Or, like me, had a hole in your daughter's stockings in the holiday photos? Don't worry, there's always me, doing it just a step worse than you. 😉 

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