Let’s be gentle out there: Surviving Christmas 2021 and contemplating 2022

Jennifer Deinlein//December 27, 2021

Let’s be gentle out there: Surviving Christmas 2021 and contemplating 2022

Jennifer Deinlein//December 27, 2021

Well, we made it. 

I honestly did not think I’d successfully pull off Christmas. As the days wound down, I found my brain to be a pile of mush. I can be forgetful and disorganized as it is, but I was flat out forgetting where I’d stashed something I’d purchased just days before. I didn’t finish my Christmas cards (hey, the 12 days of Christmas are after Christmas, so I still have time.) I didn’t bake the cookies I said I would. Our Christmas tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve.  

The Christmas gifts? I did take my own advice, to some extent, and there were a lot more gift cards than usual, which benefitted my daughters’ school, along with some experiences, but I feared Santa wouldn’t live up to the hype. 

But, while I was convinced I was failing at pulling off the “Mommy magic” of Christmas, the day came and went, the girls were happy and I think my husband even liked the four pairs of sweatpants I bestowed upon him. Hey, he said he wanted some, and I just wasn’t sure which color or style he’d prefer, so when I hit a sale at Kohls, well, I went a little crazy.  

As I contemplate this Mommy Blog, I’m looking ahead at the new year and wondering how to wrap up this one. The “looking back” post is a bit cliché, but this time of year does lend itself to some introspection. 

I’ve noticed that I went with the “rethink” concept on this blog more than once this year. Throughout the year, I’ve read plenty of news articles and posts about how the pandemic is messing with our brains. I don’t think I’m the only parent who feels like their brain is completely fried.  

It seems to me that we are in a great big hurry to communicate – probably thanks to the immediacy of social media – but very slow to listen. If we stop to think about it, instead of being quick to argue or get offended, I think we’re going to find a lot of similarities with each other. We’re all doing the best we can. 

I think that’s parenthood overall, in bad times or good. Society can be pretty judgmental and I think we’re forgetting others’ humanity in our rush to express our opinions. 

That tired mom may need a hug or a word of encouragement, not to be told “that’s motherhood, suck it up.” She’s already going to soldier on, but a cup of coffee or something to make her feel less exhausted would be nice.  

That forgetful mom could probably use a bit of solidarity and a “hey, I’ve been there, too.” She’s probably tired and has a lot on her mind, which is a tough combination. 

That mom whose kids are arguing in the store has likely been trying for days, weeks, months to get them to stop. She’s not just letting it go, even though she’s standing there with her eyes closed and a defeated look on her face. She’s attempting to marshal the strength to deal with it – and also asking herself, what are my kids REALLY upset about and how do I help them with that? 

Moms, dads, and other caregivers: we’re human. It’s OK if things don’t go as planned or you struggle. You’re doing your best. 

Outside world: parents and caregivers are human. Things are not always going to go as planned and they may struggle. You may not see it, but they are doing their best. 

Going into 2022, let’s all remember our own and others’ humanity and go forth gently. 

Be gentle with your kids. 

Be gentle with others. 

Be gentle with yourself.