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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mom, Lighten Up and Enjoy Halloween!

I love this blog. The Educated Plate. She's so informative about nutrition and what I like most of all, she advocates balance. Love it! I've shamelessly borrowed the title from her post, linked in below.

If you're thinking about giving your kids homemade fruit leather, high fiber granola, or a hunk of sweetened tofu and calling it a celebration, then click here. I can't say it any better than she did.

This intervention is for your own good. Lighten up and enjoy the holiday. Joy is so limited these days. Our country is so sad. Celebrate. It'll do ya good--and a little high fructose corn syrup won't hurt you. In fact, it might just sweeten you up.

Happy Halloween!
(And if it absolutely kills you to go out trick or treating with your kids, then hand out campaign materials--or stuff a Tootsie Pop in your mouth and shut it. I dare you not to smile when you see your kids scampering around spreading joy. And when they get home, I dare you not to dig through their stash to find your favorite!)
I've been voyaging on to other blogs and I've seen so many moms going overboard and being hypervigilent about this holiday. I truly believe that if you deprive, as The Educated Plate says, it will "lead to greater temptation and desire down the road". That is so true.

My son is eleven. He has a few friends that come from households that limit. They limit computer time, video games, monitor the books their kids choose and read. There are weird dietary specifications and rules about what they can and can't eat. Do they follow these limits at my house? Not really. I'm not going to be policing other people's children at my house. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in everything in moderation and I'll try to make sure the kids are doing what they should be. But, these kids that have so much micromanaging of their time and diet and reading by their parents CANNOT control themselves when they're on their own. They don't have the tools to do so because someone else has always guided them. And when they're away from their parents, they go nuts.

How do I approach this? Well, my job as a mom has been to prepare my son for life away from me. What good would it do for me to micromanage him? He certainly wouldn't be able to survive away from home if he couldn't learn self limitation, right? So, we've taught him how to make good decisions, using his own mind and abilities. If it's a nice day outside (we live in MInnesota, the weather rules our lives!), why would you stay inside and play video games? If you're getting frustrated by a game, if it's making your heart race and your face flush, take a break as this isn't good for your body in the longterm. If a book seems too scary or upsetting or seems against your values, then quit reading it.

If we moms are there for every little decision, how will they learn? What about life experience? We all remember a stomach ache from too much candy. What valuable lesson did you learn from that? Perhaps that's where moderation in all things starts revealing itself to us human beings as such a valuable life lesson. So, hey, couldn't Halloween be a vehicle for this very valuable life lesson?

I think you make a great mistake if you voyage forward from the infancy and toddler stages of parenting, where their every need is met by you, and still try to orchestrate their every move as they grow older. Once they've reached this independent stage, you've got to let go and let them live a little. As well, you can't let every day, every minute feel like a crucial, critical decision that might very well jeopardize your child's well being.

In other words, lighten up.

You'll be a better mother, a better parent, if you look at the big picture. The big picture, as in, a day of candy never hurt anyone. In fact, for many of us, Halloween stands out with very vivid and happy memories of our childhood. I wouldn't want to deny my son that joy.

We've seen a trend in the past few years. Schools no longer celebrating Halloween, but having a HARVEST festival. Churches preaching against the evils of trick or treating and the holiday in general. Health nuts preaching against the dangers of high fructose corn syrup.

Come on people. Let's just settle down and enjoy the season, set aside some of this policing of our kids, and just let them have fun. That, outweighs any negative effects of the experience.
(Oh and please don't comment about Young One having weapons in the above picture. Once again, I'm going to give you a big eye roll and a "lighten up." He was New Goblin last year from Spiderman. The sword and knife were all part of the costume. We're a peaceful family, but hey, you've got to have a big sword to be New Goblin. It's required. Boys will make guns out of their fingers and swords out of sticks if they have nothing else!)

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