Why I took away Halloween

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I love this little guy more than I can handle.  He is smart, funny, spunky, confident, courageous, and has me wrapped around his little finger.  It has pretty much been that way since he was born.  I fell pretty hard for him, and I still am crazy in love with him.   Like crazy lady in love.

He is starting to grow up and it is making me very sad.  I relish the moments when he still wants to sit on my lap, and I feel his little heart beating and smell his hair.  (Which I sometimes have to make a mental note to remind him that just rinsing isn’t considered showering.)  In the mornings, I love to wake him up, rub his back and kiss those sweet soft cheeks until he becomes fully awake and asks me to leave and to send Toby in.

I had to do a really hard parent job last week.  I took away Halloween.  My little guy has been getting into trouble pretty much every where he goes…school, church, cub scouts.  Nothing horrible or cruel.  Just mischievous boy stuff.  Times 17.   Remember the whole egg incident a month ago?   He has been calling out, running away at recess, flicking people, tying shoelaces together, marrying himself off on the playground to all the girls in class, telling jokes at inappropriate times, being a weirdo to the substitute teachers, and playing around when he needs to be working.  All that stuff.  All the time.  This is very frustrating because he is extremely smart.  Not just because he is my kid and I am biased.  He is like genius crazy smart.  And he knows better.

We have grounded him, taken away screen time, bribed him, yelled, pulled the whole I am soooo disappointed in you thing, and even offered crazy rewards.  (you know, I’ll buy you _______ if you can be good at school.)  All that stuff I said I would NEVER do when I became a parent.

The Monday before Halloween, we signed a contract (the whole family…you know we all get involved around here.)  If he didn’t get it together, I would take his costume back and he would not go trick or treating.  We all signed it, and I assumed he would get his act together.   Yes.  I ASSumed.  He did not get it together.  He must have thought we wouldn’t follow through.

I was very touched on at the number of comments that supported our decision when I posted this on Facebook.  I am also so happy that it helped reinforce decisions you were making yourself!  We certainly didn’t want to take away Halloween from our favorite little boy in the whole world.  But we made the deal and had to stick to it.  We mean what we say and say what we mean.

I remember when I was teaching school, the students that would cry if they go it trouble before Halloween because they said their mom would not let them trick or treat.  The next day those very same kids would come with their backpacks filled with candy.  Argggg.

I am not the world’s best mom, and I am not claiming to be.  I made a threat I am sort of sorry about, but I am happy I followed through.  Children thrive on consistency.

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Our Halloween looked a little different this year.  The kids were out of school, so we went to church and made cards for the elderly at Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care.  The kids passed out the cards and sang songs.  (I was trying to push service to others here.)

On the way home, we stopped at the store, and we returned his costume.  (I could tell by his face he was a little shocked I was actually following through with all this.  Not that we are not consistant…this was just a BIG deal.)  I let him help pick out candy for the trick or treaters.

Halloween is a party in our neighborhood.  My husband gives hay rides around the block, then there is a big costume parade before everyone start trick-or-treating.

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This little boy did a puzzle, while I worked on my laptop.  I hope and pray that he learned his lesson.   I know I did.

I do not want to make threats that I don’t want to carry out.  I missed Halloween too.  I was sad– I LOVE Halloween, walking around with my kids, and dressing up.  Plus my husband, then boyfriend told me he loved me on Halloween 14 years ago, so I like to be all googley eyed at him and ask him a whole bunch of questions about that night and have him reenact the whole thing.   He loves this so much, so he was sad to be off hay riding and parading without me.

Lesson learned.  Parents-stay strong, be consistent.  You are doing it out of so much love.  That crazy lady love.

November Project 12

As I have ripened to this amazing age of 36, I realize that some people are made to keep neat and tidy homes and other people are meant to teach a lot of yoga, be hot and awesome, and would rather pay someone else to clean.  I am obviously the latter.  I hired an angel to come over and clean my house every other week a few years ago and I could pinch myself for not doing it sooner.  I look back at those years when my kids were younger, and I was working full time.  Saturdays were spent cleaning house.  Meaning me cleaning, and me barking at everyone for not helping me.  Many times I would give up and throw in the towel.  I would remind my husband of a saying I heard one day that said something about good moms having messy houses.  (Because they are building memories!)

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Seriously, who has time to do massive clean ups when there are autumn tissue paper flower centerpieces to be made.  Because you know we eat dinner all formal and fancy every night.

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I decided to do another Instagram challenge! This one I am calling #neatinnov.  If you want to participate it is super easy!  You just follow me on Instagram and I will post your daily “chore”.    You can make it more fun by taking pictures of yourself doing the chore, posting it and tagging me!  Be sure you use the hashtags #itsapleasantlife #neatinnov

Guys.  this is not hard.  I am really lazy, and hate to do all this stuff.  Each chore should take no more than 15 minutes.  Crank up some music and have fun.

If you want to be hardcore and make a little calendar like I did here are the days in order.

  1.  Commit to the Challenge.  #neatinnov  (this is an easy day.)
  2. Clean out the silverware drawer
  3. Clear kitchen counters
  4. Clean out fridge
  5. Wipe baseboards
  6. Clean out junk drawer
  7. Pour a glass and delete old emails (Adult beverages work best.)
  8. REST DAY!  (or CATCHUP DAY!)
  9. Clean out the air vents.  (is it time for a new filter)
  10. Books– go through and lend or donate
  11. Junk Mail?  Opt out:  1-888-567-8688
  12. Organize under bathroom sink
  13. Clean out your purse
  14. REST DAY!
  15. Organize under kitchen sink
  16. Delete pictures from your phone (you know you have too many selfies and  food pictures.  Delete blackmail photos.  Be nice.)
  17. Clean out clothes drawers (be ruthless)
  18. Clean out clothes closet (try to take to donate)
  19. Sort through medicine cabinet  (bring me all the muscle relaxers)
  20. REST DAY!
  21. Organize your entry way
  22. Go through pens/markers/pencils (make a cute cup!)
  23. REST DAY!
  24. Walk around house with a garbage bag.  (and fill it up)
  25. Clean out hall closet
  26. Go through make up (wash your make up brushes)
  27. Get all the trash out of the car (I know it is Thanksgiving.  Chances are you are cooking/cleaning/talking/drinking wine.  Give your kids a Target bag and let them go to town.)
  28. Go through linens.
  29. Look under your bed, and get that crap out from under there.  (nightmares…)
  30. Attack your pantry.  (organize it, not eat.)

Peter Walsh wrote the book, Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?  I will save you the Amazon purchase  The answer is yes.  So if you love your clutter and your fat butt, this is not the challenge for you.

If you want a really satisfying feeling everyday, do this with me.  (I can’t make any promises on the butt ya’ll.)

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Around here, when Mom is happy, everybody is happy.  So we are doing this together.   I enlisted the help of my kiddos to make it look beautiful, since it will grace the door of the garage for an entire month.  Get your family on board with this!

Happy Neat Month!   See you Instagram!

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