Wholesome Family Fun @MonsterJam

I received complimentary tickets in exchange for a blog post, but this review and opinions are solely my own.

Do you have a little kid who loves trucks? Maybe they love Monster Trucks? Ill bet seeing these giant trucks up close would make all their dreams come true. My kids both LOVE to watch YouTube video clips of Monster truck rallies. They love the tricks and the super slow-mo replay with pyrotechnics. All of it. Today we were treated like VIPs at the Pit Party at the Times Union Center. We arrived a few hours early so we could meet the drivers and get photos and auto graphs. It was really special. Since we were among the first 10 guests to arrive, we nearly had the arena to ourselves for the first half hour. Then suddenly the crowd was immense.

I have to say I had no idea what to expect at a rally, in fact I didn’t even know the rallies are competitions! All the stunts and tricks these drivers perform are voted on by the audience. Spectators log onto a voting website. After each driver takes their turn at impressing the crowd voting lines open for about 20 seconds. There are several rounds of competition, speed, two-wheel stunts, donuts and freestyle. In between the trucks competing their companion ATV drivers compete on an obstacle course. That was really fun to watch! I was on the edge of my seat watching a truck called Stinger Unleashed completely flip over and land upside down. And there was an ATV driver that flipped over his vehicle, but got right back up an finished his run. It was such an adrenaline rush watching, I can’t imagine what it must feel like performing!

I was most impressed by the female drivers. They said over and over again during interviews that they felt like they could compete on level ground with the male drivers, and that they were inspired by the female drivers they watched growing up. The driver of Scooby-Doo is a new mom and she returned after a year off to prove just how relevant she still is by kicking a little but on the dirt. She won the two-wheeled stunt and donut competition before landing among the top 3 winners (even beat out the most popular Grave Digger). I was also excited to see several women equally qualified in the pit crew. I was so nervous someone was going to make a comment about me bringing both my girls to a “boys” event, but there were just as many little girls there as there were little boys. I thought the female drivers were perfect role models and really demonstrated that women can be whatever they want to be.

This entire event was a really wholesome family experience. The competitors were good sports, playful with each other, but took their own roles seriously. Every driver was gracious and expressed gratitude for each other, the pit crew and their fans. Even during our autograph session they were really generous with their time and their energy. Everyone was eager to put a smile on a kids face and go the extra mile to take a photo, or sign extra t-shirts and copies of programs.

Overall, this was a really great day out with the family! If you are in the Albany area and looking for an exciting break from the cold winter weather check the listing for their next show on Sunday January 14th! Get tickets here.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia

Free Subtraction Worksheet from Education.com

Over the summer I began using lesson plans and worksheets to beat the summer slide. This week we are home from school for our winter/holiday break and it is the perfect time to do some math practice. That’s why I am so excited to share with you this free printable math worksheet directly from the creators of Education.com!

Float through two-digit subtraction with this kayaking themed worksheet from Education.com. Your child will gain valuable practice with this cute themed worksheet. Get more fun subtraction resources here.

My first graders have mastered single-digit and double-digit addition, and single-digit subtraction, which they are really good at (obvious mom brag). Now, they are ready to move on to double-digit subtraction, which will be a challenge. But I’ll be ready to help with this kayak themed worksheet that we can use for practice at any time. Thankfully, there is also an answer sheet available. I’m pretty confident I have a handle on subtraction, but this is a great way for my kids to check their own work.

Download your free Kayak subtraction page and answer key.

 

 

My kids enjoy the  math games, worksheets, puzzles and everything else offered on this comprehensive site. It’s easy to choose activities and lessons by grade level and I trust this site to provide age appropriate content. I am confident your child will enjoy interacting with these playful learning tools as well. If you are homeschooling you can create your own custom worksheet with their worksheet generator to accommodate to your child’s needs. The best part is every family can count on this trustworthy site created by a crew of experienced educators to support their child’s learning.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Favorites – Disney on Ice Presents Frozen

Contributing writer: Kelly Fears

I was lucky enough to be given tickets to see Disney’s Frozen on Ice at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.  I can’t think of a better story to watch performed on ice than Frozen.  It’s an obvious choice.  If you’re one of the few parents left who doesn’t know the story it’s about two sisters, one with the power to freeze things, who experience some growing pains in their sibling relationship. But they find that true love is what can solve all their problems.  It’s a snowy, icy adventure filled with an ice castle, a snowman and most importantly an ice queen.  However, if you’re like me and your little prince or princess has watched the movie on repeat for the last 4 years you’ll still find plenty of fun in this ice skating rendition to pique your interest.

The production starts with some of Disney’s favorite characters over the years discussing the different types of love: friendships, marriage, siblings etc.  It’s hosted by the iconic Disney classic characters Mickey, Minnie & a generous mix of friends from throughout Disney’s past and present.  They quickly move into the story of Elsa & Ana and the characters voices are the same as the movie which makes it feel more real. The songs ring true just as you’ll remember them.  It’s really special to see how the ice rink can transform so beautifully to the many different scenes and landscapes.  You’re transported from the rink to inside a bedroom, to a ballroom, a snowy mountaintop, to a castle made of ice complete with real falling snow!

The details are amazing! The costumes are perfect replicas of their animated versions but throw in a little Disney magic of extra sparkle, lights and glitter to really make it all come alive.  The opening half whimsically takes you through the story song by song and ends with Elsa’s iconic solo, “Let it go.”  The show keeps a great pace to keep the young one’s entranced,  but doesn’t lose any of the important plot points or iconic songs.  At intermission we grabbed some snacks, some Frozen memorabilia, of which there is plenty and read through our program.  We couldn’t wait for the show to begin again!

The show resumes after intermission with the lovable Olaf and his “In Summer” Solo number does not disappoint.  This song was met with the loudest screaming cheers and giggles of all the songs in the show. Even finished with an on point kick line! The show keeps a swift pace throughout the second half and isn’t short on the magic that keeps you wondering how they make it all come to life so perfectly.  It truly is magical from start to finish.  The characters get close and stand on small stages to wave and greet the crowd throughout the show.  If you’re looking for a little Disney magic and some pretty impressive ice skating complete with flips, lifts and jumps, this is the show for you!

Catch the Disney on Ice Frozen at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY December 14-17th!

 

Kelly lives with her husband and a prince and princess who love all things Disney and Frozen. She is a stay at home mom who contributes her time and talents to her community and her friend, The Whatever Mom. Thanks Kelly! 

Christmas is Made of Perfect Moments Not Perfect Gifts

The Christmas season is in full blown panic mode. It’s time to buckle down and find the PERFECT gift for everyone! All the emails filling my in box are YELLING AT ME to open to find the PERFECT gift for everyone on my list, including the postal carrier, my kids’ bus driver and the lady down the street that once stopped to chat with me for five minutes about the weather. Everyone has to have THE PERFECT gift!

Every year as I panic to make all the gifts happen and I worry if I am buying something useful and am I including everyone, I think back to one year I found exactly the perfect gift for everyone on my list and it only cost me $20. I was a poor college student in between jobs. I was determined to somehow give my friends and family a meaningful gift. Something truly from the heart, but still fit in my budget.

I had to get creative since I was down to the last $20 in my bank account. Now, to be fair at the time I was a college student $20 stretched just a little bit further than it does today, but it still couldn’t stretch as far as I needed it to. I had some really wonderful people in my life that I needed to thank and tell them just how much I love them. I decided to write each person a letter.

I purchased some pretty stationary and planned to hand write everyone a personal letter telling them what they mean to me. I was so excited I started composing letters in my head as I walked up and down the aisles of the drug store. But it didn’t feel like enough of a gift to simply add a stamp and drop in the mailbox. I keep pacing the aisles looking for inspiration. I started looking at all the pretty things I couldn’t afford and realized there was no way I could buy one gift for each person. But I could buy one thing to share and divide among my friends. I decided I would invite everyone over for a spa party and hand deliver my letters.

I scooped up some pretty candles, borrowed my mom’s best table cloth, scattered some rose petals on top and laid out all kinds of facial masks and nail polishes. I even had enough to purchase some chocolates and crackers and cheese. For a poor teenaged college student this felt super fancy! Then I invited everyone to come over for some pampering, a nosh and just spend time together.

It turned out to be one of the most memorable gifts I have ever given. We all had so much fun just being together talking and laughing. There was no pressure to exchange gifts of equal value, no worry about guessing sizes or accounting for taste. It was just all my important girl friends gathered to spend a few hours connecting and enjoying the season together.

In fact, the memory of this day drives me to slow down at every Christmas and just enjoy who I am surrounded with. I have spent many Christmas’s with many different people over the years. But the ones I cherish most are the ones with my kids. To wake up with their wide eyed wonder staring at the magic before them, with a heart so full of belief is priceless. And I could never find a gift under the tree as special as that.

So this year give up on finding perfection in gifts and material things. Instead, look for the perfect moments spent connecting with friends and family. Those moments will sustain you longer than any seasonal candle, electronic or new gadget. Take photos even if you don’t feel “perfect” and eat that extra Christmas cookie if it brings you joy vs. the perfect calorie count. And I challenge you to look for perfect moments well passed the holiday season when we expect every moment to be perfect. There is no rule saying we can’t connect with friends and family in the same way in July as we do in December.

Slow down, take a night off and stop to enjoy all the warmth surrounding you. Merry Christmas!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

 

Friday Favorites – Stocking Stuffer Ideas from Cool Cats Lead

You may have realized by now that I really love the leadership products from Cool Cats Lead. We enjoy using them in our home and I am impressed by how much my kids want to use them. I was provided some new products to share with my kids in exchange for this review, and these have quickly become my favorites!

a-z leader alphabook is a must have leadership primer for school age kids! It gives an alphabetical listing of the important characteristics of a leader. This book builds a positive vocabulary for children to use, and gives kids ideas to aspire to. My kids like to flip through this book at the breakfast table, or while waiting their turn to sit with me to do homework after school.

22 Easy Ways 2 Lead – this one is hands down my favorite. Anything that gets kids to think critically is a sure win! And this set does that and more. Kids can read the descriptions for things like, “initiate” and “passion” and “inspiration” on the front of a card, and then flip it over to fill out their own list of inspirations and passions. This is a great tool in helping kids connect with those characteristics very early in life.

Top 10 Tips on Leadership poster – I have this hanging on our fridge! My kids like to review this with me while we are in the kitchen waiting for dinner to finish, or while I’m making their breakfast. We make it fun by identifying ways we’ve used some of these characteristics in our day.

In a world where toys and material things abound, why not give your kids the gift of self-confidence this year? All of these make great stocking stuffers! You could even include one of these products in a classroom supply basket as part of a teacher gift. Be sure to order by December 10th to ensure delivery by Christmas. To sign up receive their seasonal news release click here.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

Friday Favorites – Worth It by Katy Weber

My very good friend Katy Weber wrote a book and I am so incredibly proud of her! She is a talented writer and story teller, and she has crafted 130 powerful pages dedicated to anyone struggling with their relationship with food and their body. Her message arrives at a time when our hyper-critical culture is in need of a champion preaching unconditional self-love.

Worth It: A Journey to Food & Body Freedom is the anthem cry for women to ditch the diet mentality and accept our bodies for our intrinsic beauty and strength. You may recognize Katy from the Body Beautiful blog project I posted a year ago. She stood in front of a camera as a mom not ashamed of baring her powerful mom bod. She birthed two babies and her body stands as the record of those events. Taking that photo was brave, but baring her soul to share her personal story takes deeper courage. Much of what Katy writes in her book aligns with the message I shared in that post: value your body for what it can do, not what it looks like.

In her book Katy perfectly illustrates the 6 steps she used to ditch the yo-yo cycle of dieting and how she learned to nourish her body from the inside out.  She is upfront that achieving body freedom isn’t going to happen overnight, but it is achievable. This book isn’t just for moms, it’s for any woman (or man) who struggles with the highs and lows of dieting, who’s self-esteem hinges on body compliments and for anyone who needs to know they are worthy beyond their pant size. It is not however, a weight loss plan.

Katy’s book really hits home for me. On a personal level I struggled most of my life with body image. It seems everyone has an opinion about how my body should look, or how much I should weigh.  The messages I receive as a woman are that my body isn’t valuable unless it fits someone else’s standard of perfect. It wasn’t until age 40 that I decided not to place value on those messages. But man the pressure I had as a teenager and young adult to mold my body into something “acceptable” to others was tough.

“But that acceptance I craved? It wasn’t from others. It was from myself. I know that now. I never accepted myself. I never gave myself a chance. That ends now, too. I’m saying no. No to the voices, the demons, the self-loathing.  The shame.  I’m untangling a lifetime of negative self-image and self-criticism. I’m saying no to fear, and I’m moving forward the only way I know how.” –Katy Weber, Worth It

This book also strikes deep for me on a mom level.  At age seven my daughter is already referring to her body as, “husky.” She is far from husky and is perfectly portioned. But someone somewhere has given her the idea her body isn’t perfect the way it is. I worry how young our girls are when they start to compare their bodies to others and test out their first diet. At home I never mention how unhappy I am with stubborn weight loss, or that I don’t like the way I look in a bathing suit. I try really hard to model the esteem and body confidence I want my girls to have when they grow up. Modeling those beliefs, I hope will one day become their inner voice telling them they are enough. Katy wrote her book with all our little girls in mind,

“She needs to know she’s perfect as she is. She doesn’t need to change. She is loved. She is accepted. She is enough. And that belief must start with me. I will be brave for her.” –Katy Weber, Worth It.

From the moment I read the first chapter I fell in love with this book. It is everything I’ve ever felt or lived. Katy and I have only known each other for a few short years, but I feel like we’ve had a similar journey on our way to acceptance. This book is a must read for anyone looking for permission to let go of body perfection and just live life more joyfully.

 

You can follow Worth It with Katy on Facebook for Katy’s honest live chats about her thoughts on dieting and struggles each week. Her book is now available on Amazon and you can sign up to receive her body positive newsletter on her website. Sign up now to get the first chapter of her book for free! As a certified health coach Katy works closely with those who are ready to normalize their relationship with food and their body, and break free from the dieting and binge-eating cycle for good.

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

Wishing You a Less Than Perfect Thanksgiving

 

Our Thanksgiving tradition every year is to share the stories of all the crazy things that happened to us on Thanksgivings past. It makes us laugh and realize how much we have to be thankful for, even if it is for the little things. I’ve compiled some of our most memorable to share with you today.

When I was a kid we never had the same Thanksgiving twice. The menu would change a little or sometimes we’d be in a new home. The faces gathered around our table were different every year. When my parents divorced my mom would open our home to her friends who did not have family to feast with. They were like aunts and uncles to us.

We were very poor but somehow at Thanksgiving we had abundance. Except the one year my mom had nothing and our uncle took us out for pizza the day after. I remember feeling grateful for the generosity and that we got to eat in a restaurant which was rare.

When we were older my family of six crammed into our small car to travel to another state to stay with family for Thanksgiving. They lived on the side of a mountain and it felt like an adventure just driving toward their house. Hunters we’re in their front yards firing off riffles for target practice. We may have gathered to eat turkey, but it was bear season on the mountain. An entirely different world compared to my “city” living. That wasn’t even the least perfect part of our holiday. At some point during the feast prep the water supply stopped running. My memory of why escapes me, but I’ll never forget my uncle having to walk to the creek to fill buckets of water to leave in the bathroom so we could flush the toilet. It was funny twenty six years ago and it is funny now.

When I hosted my first adult Thanksgiving and cooked for my in-laws the very first time nothing worked right. The timing was completely off and it took nearly 7 hours to cook our turkey. By the time we sat down to eat all the side dishes were cold. I was stressed because my attempts to impress my extended family failed miserably. It turned out the house we just moved into had an oven that cooked 200 degrees less than its setting. Thankfully, we had plenty of wine to ride out the wait time. My husband and I still laugh about that day.

Years later we bought our first home and we closed the week before Thanksgiving. We were running between our apartment and new house on Thanksgiving day so there was no way I was going to cook. My husband thought we could easily stop into any dinner or restaurant to get a turkey dinner. Turns out every business in our new hometown closed down. We had to settle for Swanson’s turkey TV dinner we picked up at a gas station. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when I presented him with that tray of a tiny serving of turkey with no second helping in sight.

Then there was the year I went into labor the night before Thanksgiving. I was so excited to finally meet my two little turkeys, but it turned out to be false labor. After a sleepless night in the hospital we returned home and hubby had to make dinner on his own. That was the year I learned to let go of the perfect Thanksgiving. Nothing is more perfect than being served a meal I didn’t have to cook and the ability to laugh at the crazy things life brings.

I remember all the years my mom stressed to get a good meal on the table and I remember all the crazy things that happened to change our perfect plans. I don’t remember all the things that went perfectly right. Those imperfections make me so grateful to wake up with my kids now, in our warm home (with flushing toilets) and making breakfast together. Having a hot meal and plenty of food, our health and a comfy couch to watch our TV are all things we consider perfect ways to celebrate any holiday. We have limited years with our children at our table and having them to ourselves. I want to spend it laughing and enjoying whatever comes our way. I’ve learned to embrace the tradition of chaos for our holiday and really cherish the years it all goes according to plan.

May you all have a day filled with laughter and just enough imperfections to make the day memorable. Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

Feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving memory in comments below! The less  perfect the better!!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

Review: Disney Live Presents Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic

I received complimentary tickets to attend this event. All opinions and enthusiasm for magic are my own.

Last night my little family and I enjoyed a rare night out to see Disney Live presents Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic at the Times Union Center in Albany. This spectacular traveling show is filled with fast paced magic, confetti cannons and special effects. My kids described the show as, “awesome!” and “so cool mom!” Normally, we are not out on a school night, but with a total run time of one hour and fifteen minutes we still had time to grab a bite to eat before heading home.

From the very beginning audience participation is encouraged through character interaction. The kids get to recite the magic words that helps create the magic on stage, and at one point the audience gets to toss around giant blow up space meteors.  One audience member even lent their shoes to create Cinderella’s glass slippers. The special effects and the quick changes between scenes kept the show moving right along and blended one cast of characters seamlessly into the next. The upbeat tempo of this engaging show kept our toes tapping and my kids on the end of their seats. The real time magic tricks sprinkled through the show kept the wonder alive for all ages attending. It was heartwarming to listen to my kids oooh and aaah at each trick.

As a long time Disney fan I was excited to see some fresh interpretations of the Disney movies I loved growing up. Aladdin has to be one of my all-time favorites and the re-mix of some of their songs set to choreography was exciting to see and allowed me to reminisce. I’ve watched that movie enough times to recall every scene recreated in the show. The Buzz Lightyear laser show had my kids completely mesmerized and they were talking about it the rest of the night. I love that the voices are the exact voices used in the movies. My kids felt like they were watching real life versions of their favorite movie characters.

Watching your favorite Disney characters come to life on the big stage is truly magical, but nothing beats the magic of watching your children’s faces light up with wonder. This show is amazing from start to finish, and it’s a great night out for families. I highly recommend taking the kids if you get the chance!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

Friday Favorites- Busy Mom’s Guide to Self-Care during the Holidays

I received a free 2-week trial from Aaptiv. All opinions expressed are honestly my own.

It is hard to believe we are already on our way to Thanksgiving! Didn’t we just start the New Year with new intentions? I know my priority at the beginning of the year was to try to fit in more time for myself and not feel guilty about it. So far I’ve been pretty good at carving out time for myself. That’s not to say it happens on the regular, but I definitely have made time to meet with friends and I am doing much better at recognizing when I need to take care of just me.

As we enter the busy holiday season I am going to focus on self-care as much as I do my shopping list. Not only do I need to make sure I have the energy to keep up with the demands, I need to enjoy the fruits of all my labor! I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and I want to enjoy all of it as much as my family does.

Here are 5 easy ways to add some self-care into your already busy mom life this holiday season:

Schedule it! If it’s on my calendar I’m more likely to stick to it! I write on my calendar when I plan to take time to be alone, take a walk, phone-a-friend and even nap. Nap time may not be happening for either of my kids, but I am definitely not ready to give up on my power nap!

Exercise! I recently gave up my gym membership because I just could not fit a workout into my day. Instead, I found this really great app that I installed on my phone, because my phone goes where ever I go. It’s called Aaptiv and it has been such an amazing tool to have in my busy mom arsenal! I can go for a walk and take a trainer with me for a short, easy walk set to the perfect play list! I’ve used it while on my treadmill, started my day with some yoga, and the guided savasana by Amanda really helps me settle into my naps. I like that my workouts can happen where ever I am and I can customize my routine by selecting workouts by time, type and ability. If I’m short on time I can do a shorter workout which makes it super convenient. I was able to try it for free and so can you for 7 days! It is so easy to use, and makes finding the right work out such a breeze, you’re going to want to keep it longer than a week!

Hydrate! I completed a 7 day hydration challenge and tallied 80 ounces a day. Can I just tell you what a HUGE difference that made in my energy levels alone?! So busy moms if you want to do more in your day drink plenty of water to keep your energy up!

Skip the guilt! The holiday obligations can pull you in so many different directions and make you feel like you simply have too much to do. When you start to feel overwhelmed, or drained see what you can eliminate from your schedule. Then skip the guilt you feel about it!

Stick with tradition! Is there a tradition you love but always run out of time for? Set aside one weekend where you can shop with friends, make ginger bread houses with the kids, or just go get a massage alone (absolutely my favorite tradition!).  Taking the time to connect with the traditions you love most will make the holiday season feel enriching and maybe a little replenishing.

Self-care is always at the bottom of our lists, but it really should be our top priority. If we are depleted and always running on empty, then we have nothing to offer others, let alone our families. Now, go schedule a power nap and drink your water! Most importantly, don’t feel the least bit guilty for taking any time for yourself!

What is one thing you can do to take care of yourself during the holiday rush?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

The Let Down of A Not So Perfect Halloween

I know Halloween is over and we are already on to Christmas and that in between holiday known as Thanksgiving. So, why am I still going on about Halloween? Well, I learned a lot about how driven I am as a mom to make perfect memories at every holiday. And by perfect I mean making my family look like everyone else’s. As in going to all the same parties and activities. Navigating the social scene as a parent is way different for me than it was for my parents. I wrote this the weekend before Halloween when the pressure was high to get in on all of the festivities at once.

My how times have changed since I was a kid. We got dressed up for one party in a costume that my mom made from things we found around the house, and we hit one neighborhood for candy. We got what we got and we liked it. We didn’t complain! Not even when we were forced to pick up a penny with a fork (some adults idea of a good time on Halloween). Now it seems there are parties everywhere from church parking lots, to your local library to main street businesses. It is almost overwhelming to choose the perfect party to attend so that you don’t miss out on the fun. I’m an adult with a full case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I can only imagine how the hoopla at every holiday makes a kid feel! I don’t want to be the only one not posting my pics of free swag, or fun stuff we picked up at some party. I don’t want to be the only parent sitting on the sideline from having a fun filled day and making warm, perfect memories for us to rummage through in ten years. But I am.

Our weekend plans did not happen; mostly because they were only MY plans. No matter how much fun I threw at my kids this weekend they were not having it. One kid wanted to go to the pumpkin patch, the other kid didn’t and neither kid wanted to walk in a parade. My kids hate crowds and really noisy places. All of the fun things required us to join a mass of strangers and make things, or dress in a costume to ask for candy. I thought these all sounded like great ways to participate in Halloween. No one in my family felt the same way. And honestly, it felt a little soul sucking. I am not much of a homebody. I like to be home now and then to relax from the hustle and bustle of being social. I love the feeling of being out of the house all day enjoying time with friends, being outside and enjoying new experiences. But that is not how my kids are hardwired, and frankly neither is my husband.

Very early in the day on Saturday I became completely frustrated and about to throw in the towel on having a fun weekend making memories when my kids totally surprised me. One kid pulled out a bag of Halloween crafts we had yet to finish, while my other kid asked her dad to cue up the Halloween play list. Then a kid suggested,” why don’t we make some goody bags for our friends and teachers at school? We definitely have enough of these crafts to share! “And so the project began. When I looked up from my stickers and pom-poms I could see my kids rockin’ out and jamming along to the Munster’s them song, jumping up to dance to Thriller and completely enjoying themselves. This is their element- being at home.

By Sunday I gave up on getting us out of the house to participate in festivities. I left to go grocery shopping and returned to a fully decorated house, “they insisted” my husband reported. There were all their favorite hand print pumpkins hanging about and they hung the Halloween garland I completely forgot about. As I unloaded the groceries my daughter asked me if we could make an apple pie with the apples still left from her school apple picking trip. “Sure,” I said.

Again someone cranked up the Halloween tunes and we got to rockin’ in the kitchen, all of us together as a family. It was literally like a scene from a movie depicting an exaggerated picture of family togetherness. My daughter was singing into her wooden spoon in between stirring, my other daughter was busting out some dance moves on the spot, while I hummed away at peeling the apples. My husband dutifully played his part as the bumbling dad trying to make everyone laugh with his (not so) cool moves. It was … perfect. It wasn’t what everyone else was doing that weekend. But it was what we were doing… together. And when everyone is trading their cookie cutter weekend stories, we’ll be sharing memories that are uniquely our own.

How do you let go of the feelings of missing out on special things during the holidays?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia