Everyone knows that there is a hierarchy of favorite candy on Halloween. Reese’s peanut butter cups, Twix, Kit Kats, Snickers.
On Halloween last year, I volunteered at my daughter’s daycare. My task was to escort the toddlers around the block for trick-or-treating. I also was expected to provide candy.
It was my first official duty as a Mom Volunteer, and I didn’t want to mess it up. But as a busy mom who was coming off two consecutive work trips, I was pretty sure I would.
And I did
My first mistake was waiting to buy candy for (for the entire school) on the day before Halloween. (According to Target, Christmas begins October 30.)
All the shelves were bare except for gluten- and peanut-free candy: Smarties.
I don’t want to hate on Smarties—in isolation, the candy is fine–sweet, tart and crunchy. But in concert with other glorious chocolate candy bars on Halloween? Meh. No one ever made a good candy trade with this tangy treat.
So, I bought the candy and delivered it to the daycare office unnoticed. I didn’t want my daughter to be known as the child of the mom who waited until the last minute and then phoned in her candy duties. (Phoning in: completing a task while showing minimal effort.)
Maybe I once had expectations that I could be the cool mom who gets the perfect candy and donates her time to help with school. Lately, I feel like I am barely making the cut.
Sure, I keep my daughter well cared for and fed. But the extras—cute little socks to go with her Christmas outfit for picture day or shoes with laces the teacher prefers—well, those things might get phoned in.
Being a parent is tough—and way different than I imagined. But maybe we are too hard on ourselves. And perhaps if we go easier on ourselves, we will be less inclined to judge another mom who is doing her best.
Perfection? I don’t think so
On several occasions, I’ve mentioned to a mom friend that I managed to pull something–a costume, meal, present, etc. –out of thin air at the last minute. She affirmed that, yes, being a parent means whipping things out at the last second, and perfection may not happen. And that’s okay.
Being a parent is tough—and way different than I imagined. But maybe we are too hard on ourselves. And perhaps if we go easier on ourselves, we will be less inclined to judge another mom who is doing her best. I’m going to try to offer a little grace and patience and I hope you’ll do the same.
Elizabeth McBride is director for intergenerational programs and the editor of Cafe.