Dear Mom In Line: I Saw You And You’re Doing An Awesome Job


To the mom in line behind me for Santa’s Workshop, I want you to know I saw you, and you’re doing an awesome job. 

Let me back up … 

Last Friday night, I took my daughter to a local holiday event. It was unseasonably warm. We’d never been before, and my husband – the loveable Grinch that he is – had to work late. All of this added up to a perfect mommy/daughter date night filled with hot chocolate, cotton candy, beautiful lights, and lots of fun. But, despite the good cheer, I overheard something that broke my heart. While waiting in line for Santa’s Workshop, a father and his probably 10-year-old son joined the queue behind us. The son asked why they weren’t attending a different Christmas event, and the dad responded, “Well, we can’t go this year because your mom dropped the ball and didn’t get tickets. Total fumble by her, I know.” 

My head involuntarily whipped around, and I instinctively glared at the father, although I’m not sure he noticed. While I don’t know this family, their dynamic, or how they divide their responsibilities, I do know moms. And I guarantee his wife had 100 balls in the air trying to do all the things to create holiday magic and be all the things for her children during a busy time of year, and dropping one while keeping 99 afloat? That’s pretty dang impressive and it was infuriating to hear him discredit her to their son.

And my heart only hurt more when the mom and her daughter joined the dad and son in line shortly after. The mom gently mentioned that she didn’t get to finish looking at the light display she wanted to see. Did her family care that she didn’t get to do something she wanted? No. Her husband huffed a, “What did you expect? They like the [other event] better” response while the children complained about how long the line was taking.  

I caught the mom’s eye and gave what I hope was an encouraging, understanding smile. Because I wanted her to know I saw her. I saw the effort she put into managing the holiday calendar, coordinating schedules, and obtaining tickets. I saw the rush as she tried to get everyone out the door on time, so they didn’t miss their entry window. I saw the selflessness of being constantly on the move when all you just wanted stand still for five minutes to take in a beautiful light display. I saw her hope that, despite the chaos, her children would keep these holiday memories for a lifetime long after she was gone. I saw the guilt of wondering whether you’re ever doing enough. And I saw the frustration of feeling unappreciated for the load she carries always and even more so during the holidays.

As my heart broke for this stranger, my blood boiled replaying the dad’s words. First, the mom absolutely did not need his help to feel bad about “dropping the ball” on tickets for the other event. I guarantee she had and continued to beat herself up enough for both of them. But, even more concerning to me was the example the father was setting for the next generation. Through his words and attitude, the dad only reinforced to his impressionable son and daughter which gender should be responsible for the entire mental and physical load of holidays. Again, I don’t know this family; maybe, just maybe, dad is the one doing all the shopping, wrapping, meal planning, and cooking. 

But I doubt it. 

In that moment, I saw her, I saw me, and I saw all of us, who are the primary magic makers for our families, especially during the holidays. And I want you to know that – no matter what anyone says, how many cookies we don’t bake, events we don’t attend, or balls we drop – we’re doing an awesome job.