It is. Really. From mid October thru Mid January is when I do some of my best parenting. Why you ask, is my best parenting done during the fall and winter months? Oh that is easy. Threats abound. Starting around October 15th, sometimes a few days earlier depending on the enthusiasm of my children I can start in with the whole, "well if you want to go Trick or Treating then you need to blank." Blank can be clean your room, pick up the crafts, be nice to your sister...the list is endless really.
October 31st comes and goes and then it is November 1st. Have no fear my friends....my epic parenting is in full effect! Because all I have to do is mention the elf. Now technically our Elf on the Shelf does not come to stay with us until the day after Thanksgiving, but, just the mere mention of his name gets the kids back on the straight and narrow. This year the girls have been really testing my patience. Granted they have all been sick for over a month now, but still, there are some house rules that need to be followed regardless of the germ factor. So in an effort to get them back on track I casually mentioned that there is a shortage of elves this year and they are being particularly selective in which families they go to visit. I told them how I saw on the news that very morning that since there were not enough elves for all the children they were only going to homes where the children were on their best behavior, they kept their rooms clean and who were nice to their moms. Sara, my skeptic, did not believe me and wanted me to call her Auntie Jen. I picked up the phone and dialed...Sara insisted I put it on speaker phone before she answered, lest I let my sister in on the deceit. I told her Sara did not believe me about the elf shortage I heard about on the news. My sister, who has executed similar lies in the past said not only did she see in on the news, she got an alert on her iphone the night before. Well played Jen, well played. As soon as I hung up Sara put her books away that had been lying on the floor for a few days. It isn't Thanksgiving yet so I still have some time to keep up this charade until Buttery, our elf appears. I really think the local TV stations should put together some phony PSA's about this elf shortage. They seriously would be doing such a great community service for their viewers. I would even pay one of the local anchors to make one...hint, hint
Once the elf is here it is smooth sailing until Christmas. If the kids misbehave all I have to do is glance Buttery's way and they snap right back into doing the right thing. Santa comes and brings the girls their presents and that is all well and good, but it doesn't end there. Santa has 2 weeks to come and take their stuff back if they are acting like turds. So now you can see why for me it is...the most wonderful time of the year!!
Now, thankfully my kids know that I am not going to write a check I am not willing to cash. Once, several years ago we were at Friendly's and they acted up as soon as we sat down. Well, no sooner did I scoop them up and leave without so much as a sip of their drinks. If they were going to act like heathens then no special lunch for them. Ever since then I have been able to take them to any restaurant and they have the best restaurant manners around. Just last summer they were told they needed to clean their room by noon time on Labor Day if they wanted to go to the Duck Race...an event they look forward to all year. They had a good 3 day lead time on that one. The clock ticked down and they didn't get it done. Guess what? No duck race. They were devastated to learn they needed to wait an entire year for it to come around again. Yeah, it sucked for me because I love the duck race also, but, it bought me a little insurance if you will...they know I mean business and I mean what I say. It is just nice to have some helpers from time to time...aka; Buttery the Elf, Santa and the Easter Bunny.
I have heard parents say they are not going to do the Elf because they don't want to "threaten" their kids as a parenting technique. To that I say; their kids must still be too young to have discovered free will. Once they realize they are truly in control of what they do there is no going back. All bets are off and parenting becomes like a Darwinian experiment...survival of the fittest. I am older and stronger so I am going to prevail...even if I have to play psychological mind games with my offspring.
Now, I am all about teaching my kids to do the right thing for the sake
of doing the right thing...but that is what the other 8 months out of
the year are for. I like to think of this as my little parental
vacation. I spend so much time and energy in trying to be a good mom,
role modeling for them that I feel I deserve to coast for a few months
out of the year. Oh, and I get a little break in the spring too. Thank
God for the Easter bunny. He gives me a 2 week reprieve leading up to
So if you hear me humming to myself about it being "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" you will know it really has nothing to do with the birth of baby Jesus but everything to do with me and my quality Holiday parenting. Oh and don't forget...Santa's watching!!