Not So Merry and Bright: 3 Emotions Every Mom Feels at Christmas

Analyze your expectations. “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen,” according to author Susan David. And expectations abound during the holidays. Soooooo… what are your expectations for this season? Do these match up with the expectations of others? Are your expectations helping or hurting your relationships?  

Ask yourself if you believe you’re owed. Feeling owed is the soil in which disappointment grows most easily. Sooooo… what do you believe you’re owed: recognition, thankfulness, time, or maybe attention? As moms we do so much for others that it’s easy to create transactional relationships, which can turn into opportunities for you to employ guilt to get your way. To banish guilt and reciprocity from relationships, ask God to show what you believe you’re owed and start to root out that entitlement.

3. Moms experience stress at Christmas.

By “stress,” I mean trying to live up to all the expectations everyone has around Christmas. You desperately want everyone to be happy and for your people to make magical and wonderful memories. The pressure for a perfect tree, meal, gifts, and decorations make you feel crazy so….

What’s a mom to do with stress?

Here’s what you’re not gonna do: you’re not gonna carry what isn’t yours to carry. Instead, you’re going to relinquish what isn’t yours.

Relinquish the belief that everyone must be happy and that you are responsible for their happiness. Evaluate where you feel responsible for the feelings of others. What is people-pleasing driving you to do? Are your activities and attitudes serving you well?

Relinquish the belief that you must meet unreasonable expectations. Expectations are taskmasters, and God came to free us from them. When you believe in and follow Christ as your Savior, He’s freed you from unreasonable expectations. God wants you free, not bullied by the taskmasters of expectations. He grants you freedom so you can worship and obey Him.

Moms, Christmas brings out all our feelings.

Christmas is wonderful, merry, bright, and joyful. It also highlights other emotions as well: overwhelm, disappointment, and stress. Mama, I encourage you to feel everything you’re feeling, but to always bring it back to Christ. He loves you and is quick to remind you of how crazy He is about you. He alone can set you free from all the expectations, beliefs, and frustrations keeping you away from joy this season.


This piece originally appeared at, published with permission.

Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick is the writer behind, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl. Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.

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