Why do we have Easter Mummy?

Easter eggs“So, Jesus, Adam and Eve, and the Aborigines were all the first humans and they all didn’t like Jesus so he had to die because he loved us.  I don’t understand.  Mum, why do we have Easter?”

True story.  So, where do you even start to address this line of questioning?  Erm…well, Jesus was a man who lived long ago… erm, some people believe…erm, and then there are traditions…erm, and some of it is more of an allegory really….erm, no, you probably don’t know what an allegory is do you….erm, yes, yes it would really hurt to have nails in your hands….erm, chocolate anyone?

Easter worries me. You know, just for something new and different. Because there aren’t nearly enough reasons, as a parent, to worry that you’re not making the right choices for your offspring.   For starters, there’s the ‘real’ Easter story.  Now, whether or not you are religious, it’s cool to remind kids that there are reasons for the tradition of Easter. It’s not just a time when we eat too much chocolate and maybe go camping.  I like to discuss the history of any public holiday or celebration with my kids – it helps them understand where we’ve come from.  So far, so good.  Except that quite a few of our public holidays have gruesome origins.  They commemorate war, protest, invasion and death.  Easter is heavy on the ‘death’, if you get down to details, and it freaks kids out.  So, I’m all for understanding the real meaning, but I’m struggling to come up with a version that won’t haunt my children’s dreams in the weeks ahead.

And then there’s Pinterest. “Piiiinterest!!!” (picture me shaking my fist at the lap top).  I can’t live up to the extreme creativity one witnesses online at Easter.  The bar is set way, way too high.  There’ve been no egg shaped sandwiches in lunchboxes at Charming HQ this week – no delicately decorated edible bonnets, no little chicks made of face washers, no recreations of the Easter story out of cheese sticks (if it’s not there yet, it will be). I can’t do it.  Not only do I seriously lack flair in this area, I have a tornado toddler who would render any attempt at crafty bunny biscuit decorating a massacre of rabbit-season proportions.

Then there’s the bunny.   The Easter bunny comes to our house.  We’re not over the top about the goodies he leaves – a small selection of eggs each, a novelty toy or two (it was ears all round this year) – but we do buy into the fantasy.   Not all of our friends and relatives get a visit.   In some houses, the kids grow up quite happily knowing that this fictitious home invader will not be a part of their lives.  Some families make this choice on religious grounds; others just choose to avoid the hype of yet another carefully marketed occasion to buy unnecessary stuff.  Some parents don’t like to lie to their children.  Some years these bunny-free kids might ‘spoil’ it for others by letting the bilby out of the bag;  whereas some years they  might enjoy the conspiracy and authority of being someone who ‘knows’.  Some years it simply never comes up in conversation.   I respect these families’ decision not to conform to a tradition largely perpetuated by supermarkets and confectioners.   In some ways, I envy them for being true to their own values.  I guess I’m saying, I get it.

And yet, I still do it. I get a little thrill out of seeing those first hot cross buns appearing on the shelves.  I love the cheeky choc chip and sticky date renditions.  I look forward to the inevitable ‘whose buns are best?’ comparison piece that will pop up in our local newspaper.   Come Easter Saturday, I’m a little on edge about getting everyone to bed on time.  I come up with a plausible story in case I get caught ‘in the act’ of hippity hopping goodies into designated hiding spots.  I look forward to the early alarm that will bring wide eyes to the side of my bed fizzing with excitement.  “Mummy! He’s been!!”   We encourage our kids to believe.  We even put up with the tantrums and hyperactivity and sticky fingers that follow the Easter morning binge.  We roll our eyes, chastise ourselves…then take photos.

We go through this process of questioning true meanings vs commercialism vs really quite bizarre traditions as each December rolls around and each baby tooth comes loose of its gum.   Why do I perpetuate these funny old notions of lying and buying stuff?  Because I’m a sheep?  A brainwashed consumer?  I like to think not.  Is it because I don’t want them to somehow ‘miss out’ on something other kids enjoy?  That may be a part of it.  But I think it’s mostly because I love their innocence and general kidishness (NB. not a word, but should be).  I’m OK with fairies being real. I’m not ready for the day when any mention of bunnies is met with an eye roll and a yawn.   And I like being in control of the gentle unfolding of religious stories and historical truths, as awkward and challenging as they may be.  It won’t be long before they’re telling me I know nothing at all. When it comes to craft and baking, they might even be right.

So, why do we have Easter darling? Probably just because time passes way too quickly.



17 comments for “Why do we have Easter Mummy?

  1. April 1, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Oh bloody Pinterest! I had to ad lib our Easter basket because we made an unexpected stop over at the inlaws for the night. Used an upturned straw hat and shoved it full of scrunched up paper. Seemed to do the trick. We go to church so P is sort of on top of the Easter story but only sort of. As far as telling the truth re gruesome stories, she asked us about the origin of meat last week!!!!! We told her when animals die we eat them. Left out the method of death! She said “that’s HAPPY!” Like she saw at as in some way recycling the dead chickens. Hilarious.

    • This Charming Mum
      April 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Oh that’s so cute! Well, I’m all for happy endings while they last! :)

  2. April 1, 2013 at 7:35 am

    So, so true

  3. April 1, 2013 at 11:03 am

    And then there’s Pinterest. “Piiiinterest!!!” (picture me shaking my fist at the lap top). I can’t live up to the extreme creativity one witnesses online at Easter

    I know exactly what you are talking about, have you seen these beauties from Pinterest, I had tears in my eyes with this.


    As this is the first full year we are home educating my daughter reminded that when she went to “real” school they would have made Easter baskets ready for the eggs, which we forgot to make.

    I love the way you explain it and we too have fairies, Santa, tooth fairy, Easter Bunny and others at our house, not to follow others but the let our kids be kids for as long as they need to, to become good adults.


    • This Charming Mum
      April 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      I needed that site Phil, thanks! It makes me feel much better about my hopeless attempts :) I need to get my craft on now that it’s school holidays though.

  4. Meg
    April 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    The difference with Easter “these days” for me (having being brought up catholic) is that now there are SO many different beliefs that I cant just run the catholic version. When I was little, no one needed to say anything, I learnt the religion at church or school and the celebration was family at Easter, some chocolate, lots of food and fun, but most importantly cousins!!
    Now my kids dont go to church so I dont know what to tell them. Infact we had similar questions and it all seemed very messy to me! I dont think my kids are any the wiser (I was so at a loss as to explain the whole dying on the cross/resurection) that I think I just confused them, and now have grumpy kids who had too much chocolate over the weekend and now we’re all suffering!!!

    • This Charming Mum
      April 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Lol Meg! Sounds a lot like our house! At least all the chocolate is gone from our place now – fresh start tomorrow. I had a Catholic upbringing too – I must say, it seemed much easier back in the days of following without questioning! But I’m glad for my kids to have much more choice about what they believe in and how they wish to interpret religious holidays as they grow up, but when they’re little they also like certainty. It’s tricky to get the balance right without compromising your own beliefs. Try again next year eh?

  5. Enid Bite'Em
    April 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Lara! I agree it’s so important to explain the historical context (whether you agree or not with the religious explanations) – I find the public school system need to do away with Easter in the guise of political correctness so Big Brotherish. Ignorance is never the way to understanding. I really enjoyed this post.

    • This Charming Mum
      April 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks Enid. Yes, I can understand if non-religious families don’t wish for their children to be taught religious messages, but from an historical point of view it makes sense to still teach the kids something about the origins of the holiday. I’d love an Easter-for-Dummies version of the story for my kids actually – heavy on the historical significance but lighter on the macabre details!

  6. April 2, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Too many questions, and no definitive answer! My husband and son (4.5yo) are both Catholic. Hubby can take it or leave it. Nick doesn’t really know anything about it – we haven’t been in a while but I suspect now he’s older he would ask questions. He has a few books from my BIL (soon to be a catholic priest!), one called “Jesus is My Special Friend” and he likes to read it. When we get to the part about Jesus he says, “But where is he, is he invisible?” Oh man, I’ve never attended church in my life, I’m not the right person to ask! I think I’m going to defer to my BIL for all the answers to this one! As for pinterest, I just stay away, lest I end up on the pinterest fail blog! -Aroha (#teamIBOT)

  7. April 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I loved this post :) Refreshing and balanced.
    Charlotte did her first Easter egg hunt this year. At 20 months she got the idea straight away, and the best thing was as she put the eggs into the basket, we could take them out and hide them again! I don’t think we will get away with that for too long.

    • This Charming Mum
      April 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks Wendy! Sounds like Charlotte had a magic Easter. It’s amazing how much they do understand at 20 months – my son is about that age too and he had a ball this Easter!

  8. April 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I dread that question. I think I’ll just explain the whole religious thing and say that there are those who believe that blah blah…I think it’s important kids learn about these things but are able to make up their own minds about whether to believe!

    • This Charming Mum
      April 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      I agree, but then again I think kid struggle if you leave things too vague. Or maybe that’s just my kids! Thank goodness there’s another year until I need to deal with this topic again :)

  9. April 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    This post made me giggle, because I’m fairly certain pinterest was designed to make all of us feel inadequate!!
    Obviously for us, as a Christian family, easter is a fairy important time, and my children know the details, and yet they have never been scared by them. We always emphasise that it was because He loved us, that Jesus died, and whilst my eldest cried at that this year, it was a good cry. A joyful cry I guess you could say. I suppose for us we don’t gloss over the specifics, but we highlight what we consider the most important parts. Does that make sense?
    No idea how you do it though if you have a different belief system! Have fun working it out for next year! 😉

    • April 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Fairly important, not fairy!!!!

    • This Charming Mum
      April 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Thanks Jess. It sounds like you’ve been very practical and positive in sharing the Easter story with your family. Perhaps I need more practice at highlighting the positives, as you’ve said – thanks for that idea. And let’s hope Pinterest vanishes by this time next year! 😉

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