I started to have mom guilt the other night. December 1st every year it appears. Right when the elf on the shelf ideas  (and bragging) starts to fill your news feed on Facebook. Every year I start to feel guilty. Am I being selfish?? 

Every night moving that little man in his red jump suit and cheeky grin around the house, posing him in some creative matter. Some people set up little scenes for the elf, or even bake little elf size cookies. You have to be kidding me! Some days I fail at baking for my kids, now I have to bake for the elf too!?

OK, I get it that it’s all in good fun for the kids. You are making memories and starting new traditions with your family. However, the one thing I have noticed is once you’re in you are IN! Year after year you move that smug smiling elf around your house every night. You can’t tell your kids after a few years, “yeah elf is not coming back!” Ekkk! No thank you! 

I start to feel selfish for my discussion for not doing it. Are my kids missing out because mom is lazy? 

I really thought about it and the answer I came up with was heck no! We have our own traditions in our house. 

Every day during advent we do one kind thing for others.

Now please keep in my mind my kids are two and a half, and three months old. OK, the three month old can’t do much. However, we have found that there are tons of things that my two year old can do.

It may be as simple as her helping hold the door open for someone, dropping change in the red kettle outside the grocery store, or giving that old woman who sits by herself every Sunday at church a hug. We have found things every day. 

We talk about why we are doing nice things for others, and maybe she doesn’t understand it a hundred percent, however she gets a big grin every time and tells me she did her job.

I understand that the elf is so magical that it flies back to Santa every night to report on how the kids are behaving. However, I have chosen in our house to just teach our kids to be good to others because no one is watching! 

Img_5010 by Live To Create Photography via Attribution Engine. Licensed under CC BY-SA.

Annie Henriksen

My name is Annie. I am the mother of two free-spirted kids, a freelance writer, and the face behind LaughterandKisses.com. Laughter and Kisses is all about filling your home with love and laughing instead of crying over those hard-parenting days! I spend most of my day chasing after these two blurry lightning bolts, I call my children. If I didn’t have my hands full enough with sippy cups and sticky mystery items, I am also on the board of directors of two non-profits. I am a freelance writer for multiple parenting websites; including Her View From Home and That’s Inappropriate. I have been honored to be featured on such sites as Romper, Pop Sugar, and Mummy Pages-UK. I’m not going to lie, I consume a massive amount of coffee each day just to keep up with life. Even though my days are jammed packed, I would not have it any other way! At the end of the day, after all of the struggles, I kiss my kid’s good night and it’s all worth it!