It breaks my heart to think that if she finds out Santa is made up then God and Jesus will go with him. I couldn't handle that because my jaded, patchy grown-up's faith is so strengthened by her perfect child-like one. At this time of year I need that more than ever; I honestly don't know how people survive Christmas without Christ.
Religion is actually a very beautiful philosophy. It is sad that these days, the world is so polarised, over-sensitised, fearful, filled with irrational hatred and cowed by political correctness when it comes to religion. I had to think twice before writing this, so conditioned am I into thinking that the r-word is a tinderbox that could incite a large, destructive flame.
Having been one of those parents who had practiced this many times, until someone gently pointed out how I was coming across, I've now stopped. This one time I'm talking about is when I've said 'I'm sorry' but what I really wanted was relief from my own uncomfortable feelings of being a dysfunctional parent or to be allayed of my guilt.
I used to vex about how happy my children were, and still do sometimes, but with experience I've come to realise that their fundamental needs are very simple. They want to be heard, loved and given some special time. If I give them these three things every day, they thrive. So I do everything I can to ensure I make that happen and I know I'm investing in their happiness.
I remember a work colleague of mine from some years ago, who regularly told me that work was easier than looking after his kids. "The office is a break for me," he used to say, "I'm heading home now to the real job". I didn't have children at the time and I assumed he was exaggerating. In fact, as the work we were doing at the time was very challenging, I thought it was a form of self-praise - a humble-brag of sorts.
Children who may be suffering or who are at greater risk of neglect, but whose circumstances do not reach an authority's threshold to receive social care support, are less likely to get the help that they need. Instead, their situations can be allowed to deteriorate to become even more desperate or dangerous. It is a tragedy that due to a lack of gathering the right information, children whose lives could be improved are needlessly put at further risk. Child neglect can be stopped in its tracks.
This loss of everything I took for granted in my adult life was much more overwhelming to me than the love I felt for my baby. I know, I said it, shoot me world - and what a world we live in when it comes to 'views' on mothers. How we should feel, how we should look, how we should react... the expectations are real and they are fired at a new mother like arrows from a bow.
Kirstie Allsopp is not telling every woman that she needs to have a baby, flat and nice boyfriend by 27. I'm sure that in the light her comments to the telegraph she will be railed against for these suggestions, made as they were to her theoretical daughter. She is however most certainly a feminist and I'd argue many of her other beliefs far more radical than the average.
Parenting and worry seem to go hand in hand. But what happens when your incessant worry results in arguments, discord and tension between you and your child? You obviously mean well, you care and love your child and want the best but your child does not see that, resulting in frustration, anger and guilt.