Pinterest, my love for you is complicated. I adore you for what you can offer me, but I hate you for how you make me feel sometimes.
I have felt the highs of successfully tackling a new hair style you suggested to the lows of completely fu**ing up a crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe that ended with tears from my kids who had their hearts set on some gooey deliciousness.
And yet I stay. And I scroll. Looking for the gem of a pin that will certainly change my life. And it’s no different during Halloween season.
I don’t know exactly how it starts, but by early September I have a board full of these intricate homemade costume ideas. I get inspired (Pinspired?) to create something that will surely get oohs and ahhs from the neighborhood.
And then I ask my son what he wants to be for Halloween. Depending on what cartoon is in favor or what his classmates have been talking about, his decision changes almost daily.
Being the wise mom that I am, I decide to wait until closer to Halloween to finalize any details or buy any materials in case he changes his mind. Which he will.
Then October comes and we inevitably get busy with fall activities (those obligatory pumpkin patch pictures aren’t going to take themselves!) and all of a sudden Halloween is one week away and I haven’t started s**t.
I scramble and desperately search Etsy in hopes of finding a costume there (It’s homemade even if I wasn’t the one who made it, right?). But unless I’m willing to fork out a ridiculous sum for priority shipping, it’s not happening. And I ignore the sinking feeling that hints to what is certain to happen.
Surely I can whip something together quickly, how hard can it be? Then the true deadline arrives. That small-but-glorious window of time that is Amazon Prime two-day shipping. I quickly scroll for the best looking Buzz Lightyear costume I can find that will make it to my house in time. I click “buy” and I sigh.
A feeling of disappointment and guilt comes over me. I’m the worst mom ever. My poor kid is going to be walking around in a *gasp* store-bought costume. What will people think?
But two days later the costume arrives and my son freaks out with excitement. I pull out the poorly made, thin-as-tissue nylon jumpsuit and he goes absolutely ape-s**t. He loves the costume and wears it the rest of the day until I make him change for dinner.
He proudly wears it to go trick or treating and acts out his best Buzz Lightyear interpretation throughout the neighborhood. All of the planning, all of that guilt, and it was for nothing. My son is happy. Thrilled, even.
He doesn’t care whether his costume was homemade or not. I was the one putting pressure on myself to come up with something spectacular. To prove that I was a worthy mom. A mom who took the time to create something beautiful for her kid. And you know what? I’m over it.
This year, the pressure is off. I am sure I will still see creative costumes ideas on Pinterest that I may want to tackle. And maybe I will. (Nope). But I won’t put a burden on myself to accomplish it.
The person I should be trying to impress is not the neighborhood, my friends, my family. It should be my kids. And they impress easily at this age. So why put this unnecessary stress on myself during such a wonderful time of year?
What means the most to me is seeing my kids enjoy this special, and fleeting, time in their life. And I’d rather be fully engaged in that happy moment than dissecting my shortcomings as a mom.
So to my other lofty goal-setting moms out there, this Halloween season, give yourself a break. Make a costume, don’t make a costume. Your kid will love you either way.
Andrea Rhoades is the creator of Selfies to Selfless, a parenting blog for Millennials. She is passionate about exploring the unique challenges the newest generation of parents face. Follow her as she reveals the hopes and dreams, fears and failures of Millennial parents.