5 Things You Don't Have to Do! Release the Parenting Guilt

We've all seen them. Bucket lists. Bullet points and lists of items we have to do before the end of the season or else our children's childhoods will be ruined. OK, maybe not that intense, but these lists can put a little pressure on us as a parent's don't you think? I must say, I'm glad my children were a little bit older when Pinterest came to be. I didn't have to worry about cutting the cheese into little jack-o-lantern heads for pre-school snack or pulling together a themed birthday party with a whole matching vignette of things kids just don't generally care about or whipping up a handmade costume for Halloween that will be hidden under their coat because it's 20 degrees out.  Nope. You don't have to do any of those things to create lasting childhood memories. In fact, I'm giving you a little pass. Instead of telling you 5 things you MUST DO this fall, I'm giving you 5 things you don't have to do, just in case you needed to let go of that mom guilt just a bit.

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family time, fall festival, halloween, parenting, apple picking, pumpkin patch, mom guilt

5 Things You Don't Have to do This Fall

1. You don't have to visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard

I'm a huge proponent of family time, however, don't push yourself into doing something as a family if you just think that you have to do it. Your kids will not be scarred for life if their pumpkins come from the grocery store instead of hand picked from the pumpkin patch {in fact, it will save you money!}. It's OK to find an alternate family activity. The goal is to spend time together and make memories, so keep that at the forefront of your thoughts and don't worry about what every one else is doing, even if all you see in your social media feeds are cute kids in pumpkin patches. 

2. You don't have to take cliche fall photos

Sure, fall colors are photo worthy. They make a lovely backdrop for family pictures, but all too often I find kids who have been screaming being bribed into smiling with the promise of candy or another special treat just so mom can snap a cute picture of the toddler sitting in a pile of wet leaves or with smiling faces on top of a haystack near a pumpkin patch. Some of my favorite photos of my kids are unscripted. They are snapped when they are playing and running and peeking around, in their element. So don't put a lot of pressure on getting the perfect photo. My guess is, if you follow a kid around with a camera for a bit you may just snap a good one that shows their personality so much more so than one that is posed.

3. You don't have to carve pumpkins

Carving pumpkins isn't everyone's cup of tea. Not every kid wants to stick their hand in a gross gooey cold pumpkin. I grew up doing it, and you probably grew up doing it too, but that doesn't mean we can't reinvent how our kids express their creativity. Let your child color on the pumpkin, give them felt and let them make a mask or a dress for the pumpkin, hand them stickers and let them go to town. There are lots of fun alternatives if you really just don't want the mess of carving pumpkins.

4. You don't have to make or buy your Halloween costume

Most kids I know can pull together a pretty amazing Halloween costume using things they find in their room. You don't need to spend 20 hours sewing and making a Halloween costume for your child. If this is you, release yourself from that. You don't even have to go to the store to buy a Halloween costume. I'm not quite sure when we crossed the line over to the dark side and it is a requirement of childhood to have some cheaply made store bought costume. Save your pennies and your time and get creative using what you have in your closets already.

5. You don't have to go to every fall festival or party you are invited to

There was a time during the pre-school years that my kids went to four different parties. IN ONE DAY. It was excessive. We felt rushed, the kids were crashing from multiple sugar highs, and we were collecting candy like it was a prize to be won. Why did we do that? I'm telling you, pick the events that are important to your family and go to those.  Your kids won't remember the blur of the parties they attended as much as the quality time they had at one special event. 
The most important thing is family. Spend the time that you have well. Be intentional and your children will remember that so much more than a bucket list that got checked off because you felt like you had to something.  So what are you adding to you "don't do" list?

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1 comment

Jeanne Washburn said...

Rachel - I love the definite No tones of your parenting guilt trip...perfect...thanks!

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