Sunday, October 30, 2011

Supermoms and Priorities

Today is October 30th and I feel like "Mom of the Year".  That's actually a facetious joke between me and one of my friends.  Whenever one of us would screw up something, we'd claim to be "Mother of the Year".  Of course we frequently stole the title from one another.  You could be mother of the year if you, say, forgot your kid's field trip money, or didn't sign the permission slip, or lost it and yelled something less than pleasant (or nonsensical) at your child.  I have found that I win the Mother of the Year contest quite regularly, actually.  And today is one of those days.

It's the day before Halloween and I've done nothing (read: NOTHING) to prepare.  No carved pumpkins, no special Halloween spiced muffins or themed treats.  No decorations.  Haven't even checked my daughter's costume for final touches.  Worst of all, I don't know that I'm motivated to do it.

When my kids were younger and I was incredibly ambitious, I was determined to make every Halloween costume from scratch, and do it for under ten bucks apiece.  Yes, I did it and yes, it was stressful!  I finally gave in with my son, because he refused my creative solutions.  I simply gave him a budget and we got what he wanted.  On one occasion, I found the cutest witch costume at a consignment sale for my daughter—still in its original packaging—for three bucks.  It included the fancy hat, and boat feathers around the rim and on the dress.   With my daughter, though, we went super creative most years.  My favorite costume we made was a princess dress, created from a wedding dress we bought at Goodwill for four dollars.  The dress was a tiny size and a light, cottony type fabric.  We dyed it purple, made a cone hat and attached silvery sparkle fabric to hang down from the top.  The whole costume came in for under ten dollars, and I have to say she was the cutest princess I'd ever seen.

Recently I've been chatting with several of my friends about the burnout and exhaustion of motherhood.  I think every mother experiences it to some degree, based on the connection she has with her children.  Some parents are extremely connected while others aren't.  For those of us who are, the holidays mean additional work on top of everything we already do—getting kids ready for and off to school, helping with homework, cooking and cleaning, possibly working outside the home—and then adding costumes and candy and fancy meals and decorations and presents and parties to it all.  Is it any wonder so many moms feel exhausted and overwhelmed this time of year?

The part about the princess costume I don't usually tell people is the frustration I experienced in trying to get it the right length.  I've never learned to sew but had to find a way to get this dress up high enough.  The skirt was very full, and to make matters worse, I can't sew other than a simple backstitch.  I tried everything from stitch witch to safety pins to duct tape.  It would work for a short time and then would fall back down.  So my goodness, that child looked cute for the first hour.  Then I had to help her hold her dress up the rest of the time!

This year, my life has been nutty.  One day during the summer I stopped in a store called Tuesday Morning that carries closeouts.  There, hanging on the rack, was a beautiful costume of a "woodland fairy".  Whole costume, wings and dress included.  And the price?  A rocking ten bucks!  My budget met, I purchased the costume and announced to my daughter she would be the most beautiful woodland fairy ever.  And she liked it.

And you know what?  I'm okay with it.  I'm okay that I didn't put my own touches on it, because I have other things that are a higher priority right now.  My daughter hasn't complained at all, and tomorrow night when she dons her costume, I really do believe she'll be a beautiful woodland fairy.  And me?  I'm just hoping the kid will share her candy.

One year

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