It was the winter of 2015 that I was introduced to the extreme shitfest that is a gingerbread house kit. There I was, strolling the grocery store, having my ears assaulted by Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You,” when I happened upon the supposed confectionary holiday magic in a box. I thought of my son and how his face would light up with a big, doofy smile. “Mommy, you’re the best! There is, and has never been another mother as great and perfect as you!” he would exclaim, in a British accent, because for some reason my brain decided to give him a British accent in this daydream. We would make childhood memories that my son would tell his children about someday. Oh, yeah, I was about to make it rain all kinds of holiday cheer up in this motherfucker. That was when I gently placed the nervous breakdown in a box inside of my shopping cart. What an asshole.
Much like everything else that has to do with parenting, the gingerbread kit came with some general instructions that wound up being a bunch of sugar-coated bullshit. But, hindsight is 20/20 (that is $20 I can never get back, and at least 20 WTF’s muttered under my breath).
What the instructions fail to mention, is that in order to erect the gingerbread house, you need to be an actual licensed general contractor. Then again, the instructions fail to mention a lot, so I’ve taken it upon myself to rewrite them entirely.
Step 1: Breathe in the cookie stink of the bakery and, ignoring that tiny voice inside of your mom brain that is whispering, “What the….what the fuck are you doing? No!” toss the ridiculously expensive gingerbread kit into your shopping cart. Give your vag a quick little “good job” spank in the grocery store when no one is looking. Who’s the most festive mom of all? You are.
Step 2: Proudly declare to your offspring that you are going to partake in bonding and merriment by erecting a structure made with their favorite food groups: sugar and bread. Don’t worry, there’s some vegetables in there, too. ‘Cause ginger. You are straight winning at motherhood today.
Step 3: Empty the gingerbread house contents onto a table. Smack all the tiny hands away as they begin grabbing for sugary delights like tiny, starved goblins.
Step 4: Completely disregard the instructions.
Step 5: Cut open the wrong icing packet (because you didn’t read the instructions) and commence playing the most fucked up game of culinary dominos ever.
Step 6: After losing your shit no less than 5 times already and strangling the icing packet, take a moment to re-center. You will not be this gingerbread house’s little bitch.
Step 7: Glue two walls together and hold them in place to dry while your children beg to eat the roof pieces and begin sucking icing straight out of the nozzle.
Step 8: Reassure everyone who is screaming and crying to just let them eat the candy already, they’re bored, they want to go watch YouTube until their eyes fall out of their heads, why, Mommy? Why? That this will all be worth it in the end and say some wholesome shit about patience while your own is slipping away just like this one goddamned ginger wall.
Step 9: After acquiring your general contractor’s license and using actual mortar to get the walls to stick, begin working on the roof, which your children have been gnawing on.
Step 10: As the roof begins to crumble, empty your entire arsenal of curse words at it in a last-ditch effort to salvage the house, the day, and your sanity. “You g*ddamned sh*t motherf*cking c*ck waffle!” Not out loud, of course. Internally, where you quietly store the rest of your problems until they make the blood vessel in your forehead burst.
Step 11: By some dark magic, you’ve managed to put together a janky ass gingerbread house. You go to frost some stupid windows on the stupid walls. Your children are no longer involved at this point, they’ve all gone to cozy up to their other mother, the iPad, or retreated beneath the table the moment you started violently mumbling to yourself.
The moment the tip of the icing nozzle hits the wall, the whole thing caves in. Rather than watch it slowly unravel, you “help” it along by head smashing it into a sad pile of regret.
That’s when you notice the sign that came in the package. A fun little touch of whimsy where you can add a happy little message after a job well done. The crowning jewel to your momming badassery. Only you’re not capable of happy anymore. Your spirit has been broken by gingerfuckery. You look at the box to find out who made this garb and write the names of everyone involved on the sign in icing stained with your blood as you make a pact to destroy the people responsible for this treachery. This is their tombstone. You stick it on top of the ginger pile, maniacally reciting the names you’ve written down like Arya Stark.
Step 12: Having given up, you open one of the pouches and pop a candy in your mouth. You bite down into what is surely a ball of candy-coated tungsten and break all your teeth. God hates you, your kids hate you, you’re an unfit mother, and you make Santa cry at night. Merry Christmas.