I got married and became a mom at the same time, to a 5 year old. For Luke’s first birthday (with me as his mom), I hosted an elaborate Pirate party for all the boys in his kindergarten class. It was at our house and featured an amazing homemade cake that looked like a pirate ship. I don’t remember how I managed that. I do remember that the activities I planned to fill our 2 hour party time took 30 minutes, and that I decided never to host a kid party at our house again.
T was my first (and only) baby, and for his first birthday party we had designer invitations, and a cowboy theme that included a horse costume for him. It was adorable and probably way over the top, considering he doesn’t remember it at all.
The first birthday we celebrated for my youngest (who joined our family at 2) was his 3rd. He was obsessed with horses, so we re-used much of what we’d used for T’s 1st, and I threw a bunch of plastic horses on a Texas Sheet Cake. He was delighted.
We had a mini-party when Luke lost his firth tooth, then celebrated again when he woke up the next morning with quarters under his pillow.
My youngest wakes me up with the wail, “THE TOOTH FAIRY DIDN’T COME!!”
That *&%$ Tooth Fairy! A friend said she tells her kids the tooth fairy left their money in Mommy’s purse…
When the kids were younger, I put a lot of thought (and influence) into their costumes. One year I made homemade Angry Bird Costumes. I like themed costumes, so we’ve also had Luke and T as a knight and dragon (that is my favorite to this day) and Shaggy and Scooby Doo. Once we grew to a family of 5, I settled for T and M as store bought Mario and Luigi one year, and Captain America and Ironman another.
Last year I took my younger two to Target on the day after Halloween, and they picked their own costumes. M is delighted to be dressing up as Black Panther (we got a great deal on the helmet, then paid full price for the rest of the outfit this month because I guess that discount helmet committed me?) T is dressing as this random pirate ghost thing with a pumping heart. Luke is on his own (I think he and his girlfriend should dress us as Westley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride, but I’m not financing or supplying any of that, so we’ll see.)
Some years, for some holidays, for some of my kids, I’ve gone way over the top. I love parties, I love costumes, I love celebrating milestones. I loved those years, and I treasure those memories.
Were some of the things I did a little Extra? Maybe. But I get to be Extra sometimes with the home made costumes and elaborate party planning, or anything else I want to be Extra about.
Some years, for some holidays, for some of my kids, I’ve thrown things together at the last minute. Some years I had neither the time not the creative energy for home made anything.
And you know what? I love the pictures of those parties, those Halloweens, those memories, just as much. And my kids are healthy, happy, and ready for their “whatever you want” costumes this year.
A sweet young mom friend recently shared on Facebook that she’s feeling guilty all the time, like sort of a failure as a mom, especially about Halloween.
There’s nothing I can do to make it easier for any mom to be away from her kids. The only thing I can say to mom guilt is “Me too.” And “You’re a great mom, your kid is lucky to have you!”
But I would like to shout down the voice that tells her (or any of us) that buying a last minute, store bought Halloween Costume, is a mom-fail.
Let’s give ourselves permission to do Halloween (and every day of the year) in whatever way works for our family this year.
Feeling Extra this year? Go for it!
Feeling extra tired this year? Wrap that child in aluminum foil and call them Chipotle.
Sometimes we’re getting it right and sometimes we’re getting it wrong, and we won’t really know how much therapy our kids are going to need for 20 years or so. But the wrong parts? Probably aren’t going to be “My mom didn’t hand make my Halloween Costume.”
Happy Halloween 🙂