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Twenty-two Halloweens vs. Guilty Mother Syndrome

October 30, 2012

by V.V. Denman | @vvdenman

For Halloween 1991, I spent two weeks handcrafting a ballerina costume for my five-month-old daughter. Mind you, that was back when infant tutus were unusual. As luck would have it, a norther blew in on Halloween night, and I was forced to bundle her up. No matter. I stubbornly stuck the tutu on over her snowsuit before trick-or-treating at the homes of my family members.

Thinking back on that frosty evening, I’m perplexed. Not only did I take my baby outdoors in freezing weather for candy she couldn’t eat, but I also spent tons of energy on a costume she wouldn’t remember. (Back when I thought I was busy.)

This year my youngest children are in 6th and 7th grades and will be trick-or-treating with a group of friends. In preparation for the big event, I spent a whopping ten minutes helping them search costume ideas online. They deliberated a few days, then requested I take them to Goodwill for necessities. Other than that, they were on their own.

What a difference twenty-two Halloweens have made. For the first Halloween, I spent weeks in preparation. For the twenty-second, less than an hour. And honestly, I felt a little put-out at having to forfeit that much of my time.

So of course, Guilty-Mother-Syndrome corrupted my thoughts. This is what it sounded like:

Your children need you to be more involved.

You spend too much time on yourself.

You’re not the loving mother you used to be.

Fortunately, common sense speaks louder than Guilty-Mother-SyndromeFor example:

You ARE TOO a good mother.

You love your children immensely, and they know it.

You’re there for them in ways that mean more than a Halloween costume.

After my internal pep talk, I realized I survived approximately SIXTY-EIGHT Halloween costumes in the last twenty-two years. No wonder I’m tired of it. It should be no surprise that the sixty-eighth costume (80’s girl with big hair) isn’t as exciting as that first ballerina tutu. I really should give myself a break.

However . . . Halloween 2012 could possibly be my last guilty-mother costume event. Next year the youngest will be in junior high. (Not that I’m against junior high kids trick-or-treating.) I just get the feeling my two youngest daughters will be ready to move on.

Is that wishful thinking?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Edge permalink
    October 30, 2012 9:30 am

    You and Don inspired me on what to give Haleigh for her second Christmas (she was 1 year and 5 months old) when we were starving missionaries in Argentina–a big, empty box. She loved it. We had a lot of fun with that box.
    18 years later, I think that was one of the smartest things I ever did as a parent.
    Here’s another hint to parents out there–who have an 18 year old, DO NOT give them an empty box for Christmas. It does not work at that age. Trust me on that.

    • October 30, 2012 10:18 am

      Excellent point, Mark! That’s so funny. It really takes a different kind of creativity when they’re older.

  2. October 31, 2012 9:43 am

    I can so identify with this. Those first children do get a little spoiled, don’t they!

    • October 31, 2012 11:28 am

      It’s interesting when I think about it. I’m a completely different mother with the last than I was with the first.

  3. Melissa Crytzer Fry permalink
    October 31, 2012 10:43 am

    Wow… that’s a LOT of costumes. I loved seeing them over the years (and you’re entitled to be a bit tuckered out)!

  4. October 31, 2012 4:44 pm

    Love the tutu over the snowsuit. One of my most memorable Halloweens was the year my mom made me a beautiful princess costume. Of course, we lived in WV before DST and it turned out COLD. I promise you, princesses do NOT wear turtlenecks under their gowns.

    I can tell you though, as an adult I look back on all those costumes my mom must have gotten tired of making and I appreciate every one!

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