I passed the kinda-sad costumes across the counter to the cashier at the local thrift store. After scanning the racks, I had settled on Superman and a bumblebee.
“I’m really struggling with getting into the Halloween thing.”
Slowly, she shook her head, glanced over her shoulder at her impressively festive co-workers, and whispered, “Me too. You just do it for the kids.”
Somewhere in the last three years, my dreams died. My past-self perused Etsy for adorable costumes and envisioned my children dressed to the hilt in the most terrifically stunning get-ups you had ever seen. I dreamt about carrying around a newborn baby pea-pod on his first Halloween (to where, exactly?) and dressing my daughter in some frilly tutu-pumpkin-madness. Of course, I would never consider stopping there. Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving all would provide a fabulous opportunity to match my children in coordinating outfits and snap magazine-caliber photos while they posed perfectly and tantrum-less. Of course, these photo sessions would flow naturally with our day of family gatherings, naps, and various other holiday preparations. My childless-self could not understand why more children did not look like Gymboree catalogs every holiday. Didn’t these mothers dream up the same gorgeous family I did?
Let’s take a moment to discuss dreams. Your dreams should be treasured and worked toward. You should share those ideas with people close to you and allow them to encourage you as you bravely venture forth. Hear me, your dreams are precious and important.
Unless your dreams are ridiculous.
Some dreams are meant to be shattered; despite the pain you feel watching them break. Certainly, you can dress your family to the nines if you don’t turn all crazy-mama about it. Your house can be Pinterest-worthy, because decorating might be your thing. You can make intricate homemade creations in your kitchen, because you might just find that relaxing at the end of a long day. If you enjoy making your life amazing in ways we mere-mortals only dream about, then do it proudly. We will all admire your incredible self and try really hard not to hate you for having your life completely together. But, if finding that perfect Halloween costume keeps you awake at night, I am giving you permission to let that dream die. You can be doing something pretty spectacular with the energy you are wasting on things that do not even truly matter to you anymore.
As moms, we can easily feel as though we have lost ourselves. We once had plans and aspirations. Now, we are mostly just mom. Sure, we love our kids. Often, we are still working hard toward those dreams, but our Mom-Title always comes first. I find myself clinging to the dreams of picture-perfect family life. If all else has gone, at least I can show the world I am succeeding in this one area. I mean, LOOK AT THE ADORABLE AND COORDINATED COSTUMES. Aren’t I clever? Aren’t they cute?
Alas, I am the mom just doing it for the kids. I picked out costumes based on three criteria:
1. Can the kids walk/crawl in this?
2. Is this cheap?
3. Is it in kind-of-okay shape (not straight from 1970)?
You know what? My kids don’t mind. They don’t know they aren’t Pinterest-worthy this Halloween and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t care anyway. If we spent every Halloween hiding in our basement watching movies in the dark, they would probably adore the tradition. But, this year, he gets to be superman and she gets a photo in a costume. Maybe someday she won’t feel so bad that I have one-zillion more photos of her first-born brother than her. Precious.
I need to let go of a few slightly-ridiculous aspirations to make room for new and amazing dreams. My picture-perfect family won't exist, because I am too busy loving them to take care of those details.
What aspirations do you need to let go of today? What bigger and better dreams could be waiting for you if your current unrealistic expectations died a happy little death?
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