I was caught up in the wave of excitement in my final year of university. The build up to the last day of term was becoming feverish. Finally, around 10 of us travelled into London, singing carols and Christmas songs all the way. At Waterloo Station my friends and I all headed separate ways to 'home'. I was almost giddy as I walked towards my parents house and saw the Christmas lights in the window.
The minute the door opened, reality hit. Hard. The wave of excitement vanished. The scene in my childhood home wasn't what you saw in those Bisto gravy adverts. There was no warmth, joy and certainly no peace. I was an imposter in my own family.
Despite protests, I left my parents house on Christmas Eve and spent Christmas Day on my own at my student digs. I ordered a pizza and watched Morecambe & Wise. I chatted to some friends on the phone and laughed a lot. I realised I'd rather be alone, calm and in a non-toxic environment than pretending or hoping for something different from a place that never changed..
10 years later, I spent my first Christmas with my partner who was to become my husband. This will now be our 10th Christmas as parents.
Motherhood has changed my life. It's bloody hard but I wouldn't have it any other way. I never liked Christmas before I had children. The worst Christmas I had was not the one spent alone.
But now I'm excited - for my children, my husband and for me. I get the 'Christmas tingle'! My children are experiencing the Christmas I never had. A magical Christmas, filled with joy, love and presents!
If the family you were given are not what you wished for - Stop waiting for them to change. Accept them as they are or find and choose your own family. Break the cycle and have the Christmas you deserve.
Apart from the Samaritans, in 1996 I was not aware of organisations that could support in tough times. More people talk about mental health these days and fortunately there are many organisations that can support in times of need. If you are struggling do get in touch with one of these organisations.
Finally, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas! The majority of people that read my blogs are educators. It's been a hell of a term.
It's been a hell of a couple years. But you did it. Please have a proper break and enjoy the time you have with your friends and or family. In the words of #Teacher5aDay, try to #connect #exercise #notice #Volunteer #learn.
Malarvilie is a former senior leader and history teacher. As an Education Consultant and Executive Coach she supports leadership development through InstituteLM recognised leadership and coaching skills courses. Contact her now if you'd like a complimentary 30 min coaching call to discuss some of the above.