There is a guest that creeps into your home around the holidays and loves to taunt you during your thanksgiving festivities. He is worse than your conspiracy theorist uncle.
He likes to tell you that your turkey being too dry is the end of the world and that you’re a failure because this year, the cranberry sauce came out of a can.
When you try to be thankful, and can only focus on the things you wish you had, he mocks you.
“You’re a jerk. What’s wrong with you? Can’t you just muster up an attitude of gratitude?”
You listen to him. You don’t know how to block out his voice.
After all, he’s been such a constant companion over the years.
His name is Shame.
He’s been there with you, all the times you never felt good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.
He came in a new, stronger form when you began your family and entered into this crazy, rollercoaster of motherhood.
“Who are YOU to raise that child, you can’t even figure out your own life?”
Even when you read stupid parenting blogs or gaze longingly at your Pinterest feed, he shows up.
“You’ll never be that mom. She has it all together. Look at her perfectly formed lunches shaped like cute animals and scenes from movies she makes for her happy, well-adjusted, genius, gluten-free kids. Why do you even try?”
He’s especially bad this time of year. He gets louder and more obnoxious.
“Another year gone by, and what have you really accomplished? How about those New Years resolutions you made? How about that money you were going to save, that weight you were going to lose, that book you were going to write? You fail. Again.”
You listen to him. You believe him.
You focus on him and forget what matters.
You forget you are loved.
That imperfection is beautiful.
You forget to give yourself grace.
In reality, Shame is a bastard.
He has no power over you.
He is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
And he is NOT invited to my Thanksgiving this year.
This time of year is about family.
It’s about seeing the face of my daughter light up when she sees a Christmas village scene in a store front window.
It’s about childlike wonder and joy.
It’s about cookie dough messes and spilled hot chocolate.
It’s about leaving the notion of perfection far, far behind, and celebrating the little things.
Because when we can do this, when we embrace the mess and love the little things and be free in the moment, there is no room for guilt or shame.
There is only joy and thankfulness.
So, don’t let this unwanted guest into your home and your heart this year.
Do whatever will bring you and your family peace, and that’s it.
Open up some cans, or just go out to eat if it’s less stress.
Laugh more and worry less.
Don’t worry so much about having the perfect table, that you forget to enjoy the people sitting around it.