The Rockwood Files: Mom’s Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

By now you’ve probably received letters from my kids. Don’t worry about the length of their wish lists. I’ve told them not to expect everything on the list to show up under the tree. A trampoline and a pony won’t fit in our living room anyway.

As for their niceness or naughtiness, I can attest to more nice points than naughty ones. Besides, we wouldn’t want kids with round-the-clock perfect behavior because then they’d seem more like creepy Stepford children or those eternally cheerful kids from the Barney show who never have a bad day. Our kids are just naughty enough to keep things interesting around here.

As for me, I’ve been trying to decide which list I’m on this year. I really do try to be “good,” Santa. So it’s frustrating when I constantly feel like my level of “good” is not nearly good enough. It makes me wonder if the problem is a warped definition of what it means to be a good mom.

For moms caught up in the quest to do more and be more, being good also means being busy. Because good moms stay on top of the housework. And good moms make wonderful dinners. They volunteer at the kids’ schools. They vacuum the inside of their minivan at least once a month, and they never allow a stray chicken nugget to fossilize under one of the car seats.

Speaking of nuggets, good moms also avoid fast food. They Zumba every chance they get and they love it. They know their calorie counts, and they know how to pronounce and cook things like quinoa. They own running clothes that they actually run in instead of just wearing them to do the grocery shopping.

Good moms read insightful books anytime they’re not working or folding clothes, and they’ve never even heard of some of the shows on the primetime lineup. They keep work and family in perfect balance and never disappoint the kids or their husbands. They’re punctual, organized and totally committed to daily flossing.

If that’s the kind of good mom you’re looking for, Santa, then go ahead and FedEx some coal to my address because I fall woefully short. But my instinct tells me your definition of goodness has more to do with the love in our hearts versus our list of accomplishments – more about bonding than busyness.

Even you, worldwide bringer of joy, don’t hold yourself to impossible standards. You have elves running around to help with your countless chores. You practically invented the art of delegation. (And I’m certain Mrs. Claus plays a big part in the process – even though we don’t hear much about her behind-the-scenes contribution. I’m just sayin’.)

You also have that magical flying sleigh, which must save time that the rest of us spend in traffic and at the gas station. And I have to assume you’re not the kind of man who begrudges a hungry mama a treat or two during the holidays – seeing as how your belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly. (By the way, I hear that Zumba is very good for that kind of problem. I also find Spanx especially helpful.)

So, yes, mark me down for the “good” list, Santa. Despite all the things I could and should be doing better, I’m still a good mom. And for Christmas, I hope you bring me the good sense to skip the holiday hustle and bustle and just be with my family – to soak in the joy and blessings of the season.

Yours truly,

Gwen Rockwood, a good and imperfect mom

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.