It took me a while to realise that a lot (all) of the problems I used to worry about with my children were not problems at all, they were just..um…life. Is it because our kids these days have all their basic needs met that we feel the need to invent problems to worry about?
One day, in the middle of worrying about one of my children, it suddenly hit me that billions of children before her had experienced the same thing and survived it, and that maybe I should stop assuming that she alone was uniquely ill-equipped to deal with it. (The particular massive problem I was worrying about was called Being the Fourth Child).
There’s a phrase ‘first world problems’ which is useful to remember in our own lives when we’re worrying about stuff which is really insignificant, and this is as good a time as any to remind ourselves of it on behalf of our children too.
To put this into a seasonal perspective, billions of children before yours will have experienced the disappointment of not receiving exactly what they want for Christmas, and billions more will have received nothing. With the increasing consumerist pressure on parents to get Christmas exactly right (so many choices! So many more ways to get it slightly wrong!) it can be difficult to remember that the kids are bloody lucky whatever they get.
So just stop now if you find yourself thinking any of these things:
Will he think his brother’s present is better than his?
Have I bought my children ENOUGH?
Will he think I don’t love him as much if I give her the Beano Annual while he gets the Dandy?
I know he wants just money this year, but will he be upset if there’s no present to open on Christmas Day?
Have I got enough really Christmassy things so that it feels Christmassy enough?
Do these stockings feel just a little…disappointingly empty?
Move away from the lap-top, it’s too late to order now; forget that ‘one last shopping trip’ because what you’ve already bought doesn’t seem enough; relax, crack open the Baileys and chill out.
Not getting exactly what you wanted for Christmas is pretty high on my list of first world problems. Have a good one!