Oh my gourd. When did October begin to feel as full as December? After a busy September I was looking forward to the calm before the storm. Yet I’ve found myself over planned and busier than ever. What gives??
When I was a kid my mom would bring home a few pumpkins from the grocery store, on or just a couple of days before Halloween. Dad would carve the faces we haphazardly drew on them, and costumes were often hand-me-downs, sewn from a sheet, or put together out of my sisters closets. Mind you, I loved this holiday just the way it was!
Fast-forward 30 years. Now in the fall we must pick apples, even though it means sitting in hours of traffic on the weekend for produce that costs the same and tastes the same as the ones in the store. Yes, they do. Don’t kid yourself to justify this craziness. We must visit at least one pumpkin patch, but multiple are encouraged. Said patch must have a train ride, zipline and corn maze to even be considered legit. And parents, it totally makes sense to buy the $18 pumpkin here instead of the $6 one at Costco. In fact, you better buy a few white ones, a few minis because they are so darn cute and how about a gourd or six for color? No porch is complete without 15 pumpkins these days. Just search “pumpkin porch” on Pinterest (I told you). Please don’t forget to stencil carve or elaborately paint these sweet squash. You know you will be judged by the effort you expend.
(insert panic attack here)
There will likely be a fall festival at school, because a free Friday night is a terrible thing to waste. Oh and Saturday there are probably a few options to “trunk or treat” at a local church or community event because our children need way more than just one night to wear that $50 costume and they definitely need more candy, ie; empty calories contributing to the rise in childhood obesity. Ah, I digress. But alas, at all events, we moms must wear our cutest plaid flannels and tall boots even though here in Nor Cal we are still operating at 85 degrees most days. Because duh, it’s fall!
What I find most insane is that we (yes me) buy the lie! We see the Facebook events, or street signs pointing the way to a fall anything and we immediately add it to the list of things we think that we must do to fulfill our children’s fall/Halloween memories. All of that pressure on top of the sports and activities that our children (ie: time) are already committed to. Each time we squeeze one more thing in we are setting a standard of MORE for our children and it’s only going to lead to disappointment for everyone because we cannot sustain this pace.
If you retain anything today, hear this, you are a good mom (or dad) with one pumpkin and a borrowed costume! All this other stuff is bonus material!
As a chronic over planner who loves all of the above activities, I must keep in check the bottom line of why I do these things: to make memories with my kids. Your kids will remember the TIME spent with you. They will remember if it was a happy or stressful mood. They will remember if there was arguing or unstoppable giggles. I can promise that they will not leave the pumpkin patch having anywhere near enough appreciation that you just spent $120 on a few rides, lunch and pumpkins that you will soon butcher and throw in the garbage a day later. So be prepared for that and be sure that you keep that bottom line in the forefront of every move. The perfect Instagram pic with the $8 candy apple better really be about your child’s love for candy apples and not just posed for your “friends” to see.
- If you’re feeling the pressure of being super mom, here you go.
- Pick one (or two) activities this fall and set limits to keep the crazy in check. Set aside the time and let your kids know how long you will be there (eg: two hours, not all day).
- Stay present- phone away!
- Decide ahead how much money you will spend and give kids spending parameters (eg: we’re eating lunch at home so we can have dessert there/ everyone can go on TWO rides).
- And it’s perfectly fine to tell the kids that you will be buying the pumpkins at Wal-Mart because six-year-olds don’t get to judge how you spend your money!
- Setting the limits and staying within them is key to building your credibility for future activities. (If you have a 2-year-old, they will not understand limits but good luck trying. They will also have zero recollection of this event so remember you are doing this craziness for you, not them.)
Don’t let everyone’s perfect pumpkin posts and fall follies pressure you into the kind of busy that you aren’t even interested in. You know the social media post I’d really be jeally of? The one where the mom rents Spooky Buddies on Netflix, makes pumpkin muffins (from a box) and watches the movie snuggled in sweats with her kiddos. I’ve spent too many times in sweaty flannel with kids that want to play in the dirt instead of pose by the pumpkins to long for those days anymore. I wish I had kept it simple. But you can! You mama, happy and full of love is all your kiddos really need!
Tell me how you are balancing your busy this October!