gather round

Here’s An Honest Christmas Card, For Once

Why yes, that WAS a brag.

Written by Laura Onstot
Originally Published: 
Emma Chao/Scary Mommy; Getty Images

Each year, I look forward to receiving Christmas mail, particularly, the cards where everyone lies about how perfect their lives are. Yes, it’s an excuse to blatantly brag, and I’m definitely guilty of it myself. But wouldn’t holiday cards be so much more interesting to read if we were honest? If we all said what we were really thinking when we picked those photos and tucked all those fun little details into our happy holidays messages?

I'll go first:

It was hard to pick from the 5,679 pictures we took this year, but after hours of thoughtful consideration (texting each other from across the house), we believe the ones we selected (fought about) are most representative of our year. From left to right in our collage of family photos: me lying on a cot in the emergency room depleted from pooping my brains out, Alice coming down in her pajamas for the 50th time after we tucked her in, Avery complaining about what I made for dinner, and Chad and I arguing about how much golf he plays. We've also included a photo of our daughters on the first day of school, and we will be sure to spam your social media feed with their last day of school photo so you can see just how much they've grown.

In case you haven’t already Zillow-creeped us based on the return address — I definitely looked up yours! — know that we are proud to have two guest rooms, but please never come visit us; we have too many visitors because we are so popular. A colony of ants moved in, and we coexisted peacefully until I poisoned them all to death. Additionally, three lizards attempted to walk through the front door (when someone left it open), but we rehomed them (a process that involved a lot of screaming and yelling, “Just grab it!”) to our front garden, which is full of weeds. One sneaky lizard remains somewhere in our house, probably dead.

Despite our concern for the environment, I’ll never give up on the war on weeds, so I’m pleased to report I found a new chemical weapon: concentrated vinegar. I didn’t want to get cancer from weed spray, and it seemed like a safer alternative. I realized it is straight-up acid, and our house smells like salt and vinegar chips for a week after I spray it, but the weeds are dead.

Alas, we still aren’t perfect. This year our HOA notified us that our garbage can was visible from the street. Ashamed people knew we produced trash, we sent out a community-wide apology letter. Our garbage cans are still visible, but we planted a bush in front of them, which we hope will satisfy the HOA.

When we aren’t at home, shamefully producing visible garbage and chasing lizards, we travel. On my birthday trip, I cleaned up-chucked curdled milk between airplane seats with my bare hands. Let me be clear: it was not my own vomit. On our next trip, I ended up in the emergency room, after pooping more than a human body should be able to hold (please see picture #1 in the photo collage). Turns out, I had C-Diff, which is basically a highly contagious diarrhea from hell, and spent the rest of our trip bleaching the bathroom, living in fear that another family member would succumb. We just love the quality time we get when we travel together, and we always return so refreshed.

And speaking of quality time, this is the first year both of our children are in full-time school. Our sex life has never been better! We no longer have to barricade and lock the door, nor do we have to turn up the volume on Lion Guard to mask the squeaky bed, or pause, mid-thrust, when we think we hear a kid searching the house for us. Please note, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement. Yet.

When our children are around, we spend time at the trampoline park, where we (are rich enough to) have a membership. I almost dislocated my shoulder when I used the zipline. Before we leave, we buy the $7 slurpees they sell (because, again, we’re rich), and we allow our children to fuel up on red dye #40 and straight-up sugar.

And before I forget, yes, our children are superior to yours. This morning, Alice told me black wasn’t a good color on me and also remarked that I’m a bad mom. She’s so insightful. Avery finds great joy in her ability to make fake burping noises, a skill that we know will take her far in life. #Blessed

Each day, I remember that life is a gift and, more importantly, that I am a gift to everyone who meets me. I hope this note has reinforced my superiority; but if it hasn’t, please know that I worked out five days this year.

Happy Holidays,


Laura Onstot writes to maintain her sanity after transitioning from a career as a research nurse to stay-at-home motherhood. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids binge-watch TV. She blogs at Nomad’s Land, or you can follow her on Twitter @LauraOnstot.

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