"I never read their school newsletters. They are really boring. And full of typos. And exclamation points. And fake happiness."
By Layah and Annie
Listen up, mamas. Halloween is just around the corner. And while some mothers may be lovingly wrapping their porches in spiderweb substance and Instgramming the candy corn wreaths they hand-crafted with their freakishly eye-hand coordinated children, let's face it: we're just not up to the task. But your kids will demand pumpkins, and even the surliest of MOTYs couldn't deny their child a pumpkin during the crisp glory of October. But it doesn't have to be a goopy, slimy mess, tinged with the white-hot fear of losing a digit to the carving knife. Just grab your favorite Octoberfest brew, and follow these three steps:
1. Never actually carve a pumpkin.
That's right, mamas, your kids can use paint, glitter, sticker, color, tape...just use your imagination! There are so many fun and fulfilling ways you and your child can decorate a pumpkin without ever actually having to gut the thing.
2. Get the smallest pumpkins money can buy.
The smaller the pumpkin, the less surface area there is to cover. Are you following? Why pursue a 2-hour craft when you can slide by with 10 intense minutes of creativity?
3. Don't actually buy a pumpkin.
Now, this one is admittedly harder to pull off with older kids. But ride this out as long as you can, mamas, you hear us? AS LONG AS YOU CAN. If your kid is happy cutting wonky shapes that vaguely resemble pumpkins out of construction paper and gluing faces on them, why on earth would you mess with that neat slice of heaven? So you can have a sweet, seasonal photo opp? Not. Worth. It.
Happy Halloween! Oh, and you should eat at least 65% of your kids' candy, too. It's only fair.
Read most mommy blogs (including ours!), and you’ll find many a horror story about how motherhood runs us ragged, how dry shampoo is a gift from above, how coffee is black gold and how it’s a miracle if we get out the door without the feces from multiple living creatures caked onto our clothing. No one has time for culture. No one has time for hobbies. Relationships, friendships, and self-esteem are all wearing thin. Mamas, these things are all true. We hear you. And we’re living it, too. But we’re also living another truth. And that is that the only way we’re going to make it through this is if we take some time for self care. Too often, we’re quick to brush away that option. Ain’t no mama got time for self care, right? WRONG. When we MOTYs sat down and really thought about it, we realized that some of our very best self care practices are actually because of our motherhood – not in spite of it. Pretty cool, eh? Check out the ways that being a mom has inspired us to practice self care:
Mamas, too often we convince ourselves that pooping in privacy at least once a week is practicing self care. Pooping in privacy is awesome, I think we can all agree on that, but please don't count that as your self care. You already kick ass at nurturing others. Follow your own lead. You got this.
OK, listen, we gave this whole communal snack-sharing thing a fair shot, right? Can we call it quits already? I’m not talking about birthday treats or class holiday parties or any kind of special occasion. That’s fine, mamas, I get it. I’ll wait until the last minute and forget anyway and pull up to the school or field a hot mess and dump shopping bags of food and sheepishly walk away the intricate failure that I am. But I’ll happily comply. No, I’m talking about the classrooms that rotate feeding responsibilities with a monthly calendar, and the sports teams with the schedules where each game lists the “snack parent” right next to the start time, and the scout meetings where we all have to take a freaking turn feeding each other’s kids. Enough! Feed your own precious kid, and I’ll feed mine.
Normally I’m all about sharing. And teamwork. And the sisterhood of motherhood and the village mentality and all that jazz. I’m basically a communist (the good kind!). But we have to stop the snack insanity! Why? Because my kids only eat about six things ever, and four of them are yellow and processed and either square- or fish-shaped. So if you’re bringing chick pea salads or fresh broccoli, that’s endlessly thoughtful, and we’re all really impressed that your kid considers that a snack, but my kid ends up feeling hungry. And if you’re swinging in the other direction and bringing king-sized Hershey bars? Your generosity is admirable and your cool points are sky-rocketing, and we’re all really jealous that your child doesn’t react to 41 grams of sugar like a frat boy on bath salts, but my kid ends up either pissed AF at me for not being allowed to devour a king-sized Hershey bar an hour before bedtime (weeknight soccer games are the worst!) or sobbing in time out. And don’t get me started on how impossible it is to explain to younger siblings why Sissy alone gets wicked snacks thrown at her as we climb into the car and she wedges between their two car seats twice a week on the way home from games.
Stop the snack insanity because it’s 6:15 on a Monday night, and here I am in the grocery store, panic-buying tomorrow’s soccer snack, and I don’t know jack squat about what I need. How many kids are on the team? Do I need food and drink? Can I get away with just these squeezy applesauces, or do I need to add something more solid? What did they eat last game? Was it better than my snack? Twenty-eight bucks sure feels like more than I want to spend on snacks. Do any of the kids have allergies? Is my babysitter going to drop the kids off before I get home? I wasn’t supposed to stop anywhere, but after a full day of work and an hour commute, I simply couldn’t face this shopping trip with three kids in tow. And did you know Hillary Clinton was campaigning in the city I work in this afternoon, so my commute was even longer than usual? DID YOU EVEN CONSIDER CLINTON CAMPAIGNING WHEN YOU SCHEDULED ME TO BE SNACK PARENT?
Does this raise larger questions about my parenting in general? About my involvement in my children’s lives? About my civic responsibility to understand peanut allergies? Of course it does. But I don’t need some last-minute, rescheduled weeknight soccer game to elicit that.
Here’s the thing: I am legally and morally responsible for feeding my own child already. And you are for yours. And for the most part, that’s been working our just swell. How about we use this sisterhood deal to say, “Hey, mama, let’s make this easier on ourselves.”
We love our kids. They drive us crazy. We write about it instead of going insane.