If you see me running through the town, screaming in the dead of the night, it will hands-down be from sleep lost and stress felt from trying to keep all the magic of childhood alive for my children.

I hear so many parents say they are sad to think of the year when Santa no longer comes to their house on Christmas morning or when the Easter Bunny is no longer making an appearance. 

I, however, cannot wait to break up with these traditions. I will miss my kids’ little hands tearing open wrapping paper and lispy voices singing Christmas carols, but I will not miss trying to pull off the lies that are mythical folks that sneak into houses at night.

It hasn’t helped that we steeped our kids in extra magic from the word go.

Santa left footprints, the bunny left chomped-on carrots behind and the tooth fairies (yes each kid has their own individual tooth fairy complete with backstory) left not only fairy dust in their wake, but also their individual emails so kids could correspond with them in the offseason.

Let’s just file this all under overly enthusiastic parenting and cross-reference with the file I call Things That Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time but Later Caused Deep-Seated Regret.

So here we are, kid number five is still going strong and for that matter number four shows no sign of slowing.

I, on the other hand, am equal parts exhausted and filled with anxiety about how long I can keep the magic coming.

Of course, our kids excel at keeping the magic alive as they are delusional late bloomers that also may want to push us to tip out hands. I can never tell if they are messing with me. There is always a chance they have conspired to see how long old mom can keep up the charade.

But like in any good battle of the wills, I will not crack and let them in on any of the truths until they ask. At least until I’m convinced their belief in Santa is going to get them laughed off the middle school lunch table, then I spill all the beans. The lies I have told them to build up the magic render me unable to confess unless absolutely necessary. 

When I finally come clean it’s all crying and disappointment on behalf of my offspring and a corresponding swell of relief.

Because I cannot keep up this charade much longer, I feel sure of this. I’ve already started my slow slide into barely making it.

Teeth are no longer under pillows not only because I was forgetting my Tooth Fairy duties for nights in a row, but also because the thought of sneaking in while my kids were asleep to pull off the bait and switch was causing me such anxiety I would start sweating profusely at each wiggly tooth. My sweaty palms aren’t good at holding money or teeth and so this madness had to end.

Hiding Easter baskets and having to act surprised at where they were found left me almost unable to head to church after the frenzy due to the lying-induced migraine I felt after feigning surprise that the crazy bunny left a basket in the oven AGAIN!

And Christmas Eve? Don’t even start. Waiting until the kids are asleep, explaining that stupid Santa tracker and then sneaking gifts in rustling Target bags past closed doors? It almost kills me dead. I could come to your house, break-in while you were sleeping, and make off with your treasure and it would feel about the same to my conscience. I am a liar trying to pull off the most intricate scheme of all time . . . emptying the contents of my closet (after emptying the contents of my wallet) under a tree and making my kids believe a fat, jolly man sprang for the goods.

I cannot even say a word about the Elf on the Shelf without openly weeping.

I’m officially over it. The end of this part of childhood cannot come soon enough for me.

I long to put my feet up and listen to my children talk about how they knew all along or even how I killed their dreams when I let them know it was all a giant scheme to bring them joy and happiness.

Whatever, people. I will be sleeping the sleep of a mom with a clear conscience once again. And we all know moms getting to sleep soundly is the real magic of life.

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.