How to become the most hated mom at preschool, in just one day!
We deal in facts in my household, choosing to speak truth while trying to maintain some semblance of magic. It’s a narrow path to travel – and one that just bit me solidly in the rear.
My Preschooler announced to the ENTIRE class that Santa isn’t real.
Yeah… so that happened.
Here’s the thing – while we don’t do Santa in our household, we tell them that Santa is a very fun game that lot’s of people play, and some kids don’t know yet that it’s just a game. We have even offered to play it too, if they wish. Both have expressed a bit of interest, and we’ve even left out cookies on Christmas Eve. I’ve marked presents from Santa, though they both already know that they are from us. So far it’s worked for us, at least it did… till yesterday.
Santa isn’t real
I’m not sure if she was having a bad day, or had another run in with a little girl in the class who has been stealing her toys lately, or what – but she spilled the beans to a class full of 3-4 year olds.
The teacher’s intervened right away when it looked apparent that my little one was going to throw down – and told her that people are allowed to believe what they wish. Considering that this is how I would have handled it as well, I was pleased with that response, though I feared my daughter thought she would be in trouble. She’s not.
How we got here
My husband and I made a very deliberate choice in the way we raise our girls, opting to tell the truth at all times, even when it’s uncomfortable. This includes Santa. When one of them asks me flat out if Santa is real, I will not lie to her – even if it steals a bit of magic from the season. Her trust in me is more important to me than some marketable belief in a magic man that sneaks down the chimney’s of good little boys and girls. I need her to know that I will always tell her the truth.
In the beginning days of parenting, this was a precious and easy ideal. Yet it has become a bit more difficult as the days have worn on. I find myself choosing my words carefully in order to explain large concepts to growing minds, offering them truthful, if edited, explanations of complex issues in a way that they can understand. My father’s death. Sex. Crime. And yes, even Santa. They are all topics, that while wildly different on the surface, fall under an umbrella that has grown to encompass all aspects of truth, even the trickier sides.
The trickiest and stickiest side to truth is belief. This is a mire waiting to suck us down and trap us in this precious ideal we have adopted. Just because I may believe something doesn’t make it true, and just because someone else believes something that I don’t, doesn’t make it untrue. Beliefs are personal, special and unique in the realm of truth -in fact, most often, they dance outside that line with an abandon that marks everything human.
Personally, it is my belief that people need beliefs – but everyone is different and my belief may not be yours. The challenge I face now is how to express that to my children in a way that can be understood and accepted. This may have started with Santa, but it is quickly growing into a conversation about respect, acknowledgement and acceptance.
They will encounter other beliefs throughout their entire lives, some outlandish, some quite normal, and some that may very well become the foundation on which they build their world view. It’s an exciting… and daunting, prospect.
Err…. thanks, Santa?
What about you?
Does your household do Santa? Have you ever had any problems? Did you grow up believing in Santa? When did you stop?