The Enlightened Mama

Santa Doesn’t Come Down Our Chimney…

* This BRILLIANT and TIMELESS blog post was originally written in 2013 and has been published on CTworkingmoms.com and Lovefrombaby.com

I never told my kids about Santa. I was uncomfortable with the whole lying aspect of it ~ telling them that he comes down the chimney, puts the presents under the tree, and eats our cookies just felt icky to me. It’s not that I don’t believe in magic ~ quite the contrary. My family makes villages for the Fairies in our garden and we talk about aliens and hell, I communicate with unborn Spirit Babies! All those things we believe in. But Santa Claus coming in our house and bringing presents…well, that’s just not real!

The other aspect of the whole Santa Claus thing that always made me uncomfortable was the “naughty and nice” crap. Telling our kids they will only get presents if they act a certain way feels very wrong to me. Take that whole first stanza of the popular Christmas Carol:

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Telling my kids that they shouldn’t feel sad or angry or anything negative, because they’re being “watched” and they’ll be put on a “naughty list” to me sounds like a recipe for emotional repression. It also sounds to me like conditional love: “You’re only worthy of love and good things if you act the way I want.” I want my kids to know that ALL emotions are appropriate and that they’re ALWAYS worthy of love and good things no matter how they feel.

The Santa tradition also stinks strongly of conformity: “Act THIS way and good things will happen. Act THAT way and you’ll regret it.” Hmmmm….sounds like the government…and corporate America….and public school. But I digress!

My children have taught me so much, since even before they were born, and one of the things they’ve taught me is that they are not blank slates here to be molded into what I want. They came here with their own agenda, their own life purpose, their own passions and their own internal compass of what is right and wrong. Granted, I’m here to guide them when needed and to help them put a name to their feelings. But their feelings are to be trusted ~ when they’re sad, they’re sad for particular reasons. When they’re angry, frustrated, etc, it’s for particular reasons. I don’t have to try and fix those reasons but I can certainly accept and validate their feelings. I don’t even have to assure them their feelings are appropriate ~ THEY know that until we tell them otherwise. So “naughty and nice” have no place in our home.

All this being said, my kids learned about Santa from other sources ~ friends, cousins, television, and movies. And they believe all those things I never told them: he comes in our house, he puts presents under the tree, he eats our cookies. Yearly I’ve internally cringed each time they mention such things but I’ve never corrected them. Lately, however, they’ve been asking me if Santa is real and since I’ve not known quite how to answer I always put it back to them: “What do YOU think?” They always say yes. The questioning got more intense this last week, though, and they’ve been prodding me for specific answers.

So this is what I said “You know how we believe in Fairies, Angels, Spirit Babies and Other Things We Can’t See? We know those are real. So many people believe in Santa that he MUST be real on some dimension. He doesn’t come in our house and put presents under the tree, but I believe he helps all parents each year. He probably helped me find all the presents you guys wanted, helped me find the money to pay for them, and helps me find the inspiration and motivation to make Christmas magical. I believe each year the Spirit of Santa enters into our home from whatever realm he is in and helps us in any way we need. Yes, Santa is very, very real. More real than most people know.”

And I believed what I said. My kids did too. And then they started elaborating on all the ways Santa helps us, like when parents eat the cookies, the magic goes back to Santa and we all benefit. Sounds true to me.
So, Santa doesn’t come down our chimney. He doesn’t expect my children to conform to a certain code of conduct nor does he expect them to repress their emotions. But he loves us very much from his magical dimension and helps us celebrate Christmas each year.

Yes, Santa Claus IS real.

The Enlightened Mama

The Enlightened Mama: LOVE for Halloween Candy

Enlightened Mama Disclaimer: I share these things not to say “THIS is the ONLY way.” I believe that every mama has wisdom in her own heart and does what is best for her family at any given time ~ it will often change (as it has with me!) and it will look different for everyone. I share these things to show ONE possible way ~ the way I follow my own heart.

When mothering my first son I took pride in the fact that he didn’t like candy all that much ~ I’m sure I used it for bragging rights, like I’d done something amazing in my parenting. So of course when my second son came along he was immediately “My Candy Man.” He couldn’t get enough of the stuff, providing me endless opportunities for reframing my ideas and ideals about food.

Have you ever noticed how much mothering energy is spent around FOOD? Have you ever felt judged (at least by yourself) every time you go to the grocery store with the contents of your cart on display? You know what I’m talking about! Being militant about food has become a significant signpost of being a “good mother” (or even just a “good person!”). The current generation of mothers has been programmed to believe that to be “good,” you and your family must eat only organic food or be gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, or some other version of deprivation. At the very least you MUST control the sugar intake of your children or you’re bad, bad, baaaaaad.

Well, let me tell you, society at large would call me a VERY bad mother because I follow NONE of those things. I may not have always known what I was doing, and yes, constant candy eating was a challenge when I was young in mothering, but ONE thing I always knew for sure: I NEVER wanted my children to be afraid of food.

So I decided NOT to program them with society’s food rules. We never discussed “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Dessert was never a reward for eating their vegetables, and they were never forced to eat anything they didn’t like. When they were younger I’d make them a big tray of snacks, and sweets got equal billing next to veggies. I never judged food in their presence and hoped they wouldn’t end up judging food either.

Food rules are hard to escape, though, you see them EVERYWHERE. So, every now and then one of them would ask “Is this food healthy?” My rote answer is the same now as it was back then: “If eaten in JOY, ALL food is healthy.”

It’s truly NOT about the food, it’s what we BELIEVE about the food. If we believe what we’ve been programmed to believe, then yes, some food is healthy and some is not ~ and we will live out that reality. But to me, those sorts of beliefs are based on fear, judgment, and limits..and THAT is where I choose NOT to live.

Back in November of 2011, when I was in the midst of what I call my “Soul-Merger-Initiation,” I was told two things specifically about food:

1.) There will come a time when food has no impact on your health or weight.

2.) There will come a time when you go to the grocery store and say YES to everything your boys want.

Nine years ago, both those ideas seemed like QUITE a stretch, if not down-right miracles. But now it is absolutely TRUE. It has taken me nearly a decade of spiritual growth to embody these freedoms, with a whole lot of unlearning, rescripting, and TRUST. Slowly but surely, though, true food freedom started to come naturally and easily. Just the other day I realized I’ve been saying YES to whatever they want for quite awhile now.

I was told something else back in November of 2011, and it was SO important I wrote it in sparkly letters and put it on my wall: “Trust children. Allow them to be the MASTERS they are.” That notion is the cornerstone of my mothering. I trust my children ~ I trust their ability to self-regulate, I trust the wisdom of their bodies, I trust them to follow their own inner guidance, and I trust that, if I stay the hell outta their way, they will always listen to the limitless, fearless voice that is inside them.

So Halloween candy? No guilt, shame, or limitations here. They don’t have to trade it in, give it away, or have it doled out to them in small quantities. This year we decided not to trick-or-treat (because 2020 seems to be a year to do everything differently) and instead I spread hundreds of pieces of candy around the house for the boys to gather while costumed up. I had a blast buying all their favorites ~ so much so that I made three separate trips out just for Halloween candy. And it was a success. They got all the good stuff with none of the crappy stuff no one likes, deeming it the best Halloween loot ever.

This morning I asked my youngest, “Do you want me to make you some food, or are you having candy for breakfast?” He answered, “I’m having candy for breakfast.” And that was simply that.

I’m choosing to live in a limitless world ~ one that doesn’t back-fire on joy nor make me pay for freedom. In Enlightenment I’ve come back full circle to my childhood innocence (with A LOT more experience and wisdom), where food is something to be fully enjoyed without judgment nor fear of reprisals! And what is childhood for if not to enjoy candy for breakfast? Right, I’m off to eat a Baby Ruth….

P.S. When my “Candy-Man,” turned 11 years old he apparently had his fill. Seemingly overnight, he traded in candy for carrots. Now instead of sweets for dessert, he eats a big raw carrot after every meal. Of course I use this for bragging rights, “You see, you stuff ’em full of candy for 10 years and then they start craving vegetables!”