Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Un-Pinterest Perfect Halloween

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Minute Maid and Socialstars #doingood #minutemaid
It’s around mid-September that you begin seeing all of the expertly curated articles being pinned, shared and tweeted. Articles detailing the crème de la crème of both child and family themed Halloween costumes, many of which, (and this part is especially important to note) are made by hand.
Four years and three kids ago, this was also around the time that I began to break out in stress hives wondering just how I could keep up with the Joneses of HuffPo and DIY some kind of incredible, chart-topping handmade costume for my three month old. Yes, you read that correctly. I said my three-month-old.

Naturally it was imperative that he dress up. After all, it was his very first Halloween and there were photo opportunities to be had, never mind that he wouldn’t be heading door-to-door for any trick-or-treating much less be awake past the 6 o’ clock hour.

I spent weeks agonizing over what he would dress up as. I thought to myself, “of course it would have to be something that the whole family could be involved in,” which created a whole new set of hurdles in and of itself.
Why did I care so much? The answer to that was simple. Much more simple, in fact, than narrowing down themed costume options. I wanted my baby’s first Halloween to be extra special. I wanted it to be memorable. Of course I knew that he wasn’t going to be the one remembering it but when, ten years from now, we sat down and looked over pictures from that day, I wanted him to be able to say “wow, that must’ve been really fun, Mom” or “I really was the cutest baby, ever,” and when he would say those things, I would simply respond, “It was” and “yes, you were (and still are,) my cutest baby ever.”
Now I’d love to sit here and say that I learned from that experience. That when it came time to celebrate my second baby’s first Halloween and then my third baby’s first Halloween, that I didn’t break out in stress hives. That I didn’t spend hours on Pinterest pinning coordinating family costumes. But the truth is, I did.
Because as a mom, I always want the best for my children. I want them to enjoy every possible moment of life. I want them to experience a childhood full of magic and wonderment.  Sometimes that manifests itself as dressing up your three month old as Charlie Brown using duct tape and garment dye. Because MAGIC and WONDERMENT, OKAY?  

You know what else I’ve learned?
Sometimes that wanting the best for them also means accepting disappointment and defeat. Like when your three year old and five year old want nothing to do with the grand family-themed Halloween costumes you planned for them this year.
So instead of forcing them to go along with your grand Neverland plans, you let them pick out whatever it is their little heart desires even though you know the baby would have made the most adorable Captain Smee on the planet and your five year old would have nailed Peter Pan and there was most definitely NOT a spy police captain on the Jolly Roger, as your three year old is adamant he should be one for Halloween.
None of us are perfect and I can guarantee that all of those families with Pinterest-perfect costumes and magazine worthy backyard pumpkin parties are all lacking somewhere else in their day to day. I’d like to believe that maybe they haven’t worn clean underwear for the last week or perhaps they all ate inorganic Lucky Charms for dinner.
What matters most is that we as parents, whether we have the perfect family costumes picked out be them store bought or handmade, or hand out the most delectable homemade treats at preschool pick up or hand out bags of pretzels, care for each other, our children and the children in our community.
None of us are perfect but if we care and worry about our children and our friend’s children and our neighbor’s children, we’re already #doingood. We’re already one step ahead of the curve.

The rest? Well that’s just pomp and circumstance, the icing on the pumpkin spiced cupcake.
What I’m really saying is candy rots, trends change and next week your son may not even give that costume of his favorite cartoon character that he spent weeks begging you for a second look. The memories made, however, of making scarecrows, picking pumpkins and spending extra time with family and friends, will last a lifetime.
Worry less about the perfecting the experience and focus more on embracing the moment and enjoying the experience. Do this not only amongst yourselves but seek out fellow moms and dads and tell them they’re #doingood too, even if that means cutting two holes in a pillow case because it’s the only costume you’re two year old will wear or creating something that makes HuffPo’s Best Dressed List
Remember, we’re all in this together.

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