The Holidays Before Kids VS The Holidays After Kids

If there’s one indisputable fact about motherhood, it’s that kids change everything.

The holidays are no exception. When you have kids, you can practically hear the pitter-patter of reindeer feet on your roof. Santa is alive, well and magical. There are tons of cookies, impossibly cute baby outfits and handmade toddler ornaments for the tree.

It’s all adorable…until 5 a.m. on Christmas morning, when your toddler is jumping on your stomach, “quietly” asking in his best whisper-yell if you’re awake and it’s time to check if Santa brought presents. Didn’t this used to be the morning you could sleep in, guilt-free? In your early-morning, sleepy-eyed stupor, you feel like you’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone for a Christmas makeover you’re not really sure you wanted.

By the time 5:30 rolls around and you’ve seen the sheer delight on your toddler’s face as he rips open his presents, you’ve got a smile on your face again. The holidays are definitely different, yes, but that’s OK…as long as the coffee keeps coming.

Here are 6 other ways having a kid changes the holidays. Thank God those little cherubs of ours are cute. Really cute.

Then: You spent the night before Christmas with your significant other, basking in the glow of the glowing tree, cuddling on the couch, giggling and kissing under the mistletoe.
Now: You spend the night before Christmas assembling toys with instructions that were obviously written by Satan.

Then: You decorated your house from top to bottom with gorgeous, sparkly, breakable things.
Now: You keep those breakable decorations in a box until your kids are past the we-break-everything-just-for-the-hell-of-it phase—you know, like, 25.

Then: You got ridiculously excited about snagging a deal for yourself in the midst of holiday shopping for everyone else.
Now: You get ridiculously excited that you’ve snagged the last three-foot-tall My Size Elsa doll in the entire Northeast. Mommy win!

Then: You stuffed your car with bags of presents and belted out classic Christmas carols on the ride home.
Now: You stuff your car with bags of presents and 8 tons of baby items that you’ll need for one day away from home, then pray that your kid falls asleep for the duration of the trip while listening to A Very Chipmunk Christmas.

Then: You have warm, fuzzy memories of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, even though you haven’t watched it since you were in the single digits.
Now: You wish those memories had stayed warm and fuzzy, because now when you watch that classic with your little one, you realize that Santa’s a jerk, Blitzen’s an emotionally abusive dad and reindeers are bullying assholes.

Then: You overindulged at Santa Con or dressed up as a naughty Mrs. Claus in the privacy of your own ho-ho-home.
Now: You stand on an endless line in a fake winter wonderland till your feet feel like they’re going to fall off, and you’re in serious danger of strangling a way-too-happy elf so you can meet the “real” Santa. And you pay a pretty penny for the privilege of getting your kid’s crying picture with him.

This post was originally featured on Dawn’s blog, Momsanity. Photo via