You know where I’m going with this, right? I’m not that mom who spent a month planning and creating the perfect homemade costume, who is decking out the porch in Halloween decorations, who spent the weekend carving Jack o’Lanterns with my kids and their cousins… Nope. I had to all day work Sunday. I was shuttling kids to their extra curricular programs on Saturday. And most days I have barely enough time to get home, sit down for dinner, check homework, yell (firmly… uh… point… out…?) about why homework didn’t get done, teach them to check their agenda for homework, actually do homework with one or the other or both kids, read a chapter of Harry Potter, brush my teeth, and fall asleep.
So. Halloween is that perfect mix of craziness that triggers my inner critic to berate me about just what a lazy mother I am. I do not make costumes. I do not bake cupcakes with awesome orange and black icing and plastic spiders. I do not decorate the house with amazing fall colours and cotton as spiderwebs. I do not buy boxes of treats to hand out to strangers. I do not dress up in a cool Halloween costume. I am SO NOT festive. Plus, I’m already stressed about the whole should / they shouldn’t they go to the houses of perfect strangers and beg for food that is totally processed and full of poisonous sugar, threatening them that, if they do not comply with providing a treat, they would have a trick played on them by my children. Seriously. The weirdest thing ever. But The Judge likes to take this opportunity to jump on every Instagram photo, Facebook post, family chat, story told by colleague, every decorated neighbour’s house… to pass… well… judgment about how I just don’t measure up to what a mother should be doing, leading up to and during Halloween.
So there I found myself on the Sunday before a Wednesday Halloween (oh why don’t we live in Palo Alto where they all do their activities, like Trunk or Treating on the weekend prior?) driving my 9-year old to Walmart at 6:30 pm, hoping (and pretty sure, but not quite 100%, I-probably-shoulda-googled-this, but-we-just-needed-to-go) that Walmart was still open. Yay. They were. We must have circled the two and half aisles at least 6 times, rummaging through what was left (25% off, as a bonus surprise that I didn’t really notice until we left) and argued over 10 things he refused to consider.
I think we both did okay, considering we were both privately worried that we wouldn’t be able to agree on something. ‘Okay’ meaning he apologized for being so picky and I grumbled a bit but tried to be patient.
And… we did it! We found something that was not overly expensive, that would work with all the logistics (it’s going to be cold, he has to carry his candy bag too, we’re not putting colours in his hair or make up on his face), and that he was happy with!
I’d like to end my story by sharing that after this successful trip, we got home and I happily and joyously confirmed they completed all the homework they were supposed to. But then I would not be telling the truth. And that is for another blog post.
What I can say though, is, I can own it. My little skeleton assassin with the bleeding knife (with black polka dots, no less) was happy. He reassured me, when I started making questioning facial expressions about the idea of such a violent concept, that, no, he isn’t violent in real life, and yes, he agrees that violence is not a good thing, and no, dressing up like this doesn’t make him more violent, and yes, most kids do this sort of thing without becoming violent in real life. So, in the end, we spent some together figuring out something, we are both comfortable with the solution, and we are all going to enjoy Halloween.
Boo to you, Judge. This mama is going to plead Not Guilty! I may not have the skill to be crafty, the energy to be decorative, or the goods to bake cool treats… but this mama can still healthily and joyously enjoy Halloween with my kids doing it my way. So take that!