November 7th, 2016 by admin Leave a Comment

HALLOWEEN was a disaster in our house this year!


One week ago today was Halloween, and although I am not a huge dress up person, every year for 15 years, I have taken my kids to choose costumes and made sure they were excited for Halloween.


Last Sunday night, it dawned on me that it was Halloween the next day. I had forgotten all about Halloween this year. As many of you know, my father in law passed away three weeks ago and I believe that forgetfulness must be a part of the grieving process. My mind was anywhere but on costumes and candy.


So I completely forgot. No Halloween costumes, no plans for trick or treating. NOTHING!


Nolan, who is in high school, was not too concerned. He and a buddy had a costume idea that he could create with what we had at home. And he was, for the first time, not going trick or treating.


Spencer on the other hand is 12. An age where all this matters. His response was to be mad at me. He huffed off and told me that it was fine and that he would dress as himself the next day. I tried to convince him that we had a tickle trunk full of costumes and that I could help him be something cool but he was mad and sad and disappointed so he told me not to worry about it…he was going to be Spencer!


I went to my room and cried. My first instinct was to beat myself up for being such a horrible mom. But this is my work, and I know that beating myself up is not healthy or helpful and so I did two things that save me every time I am in a struggle.


  1. Self-compassion – I sat on the edge of my bed. I put my hand on my heart. I started to pay attention to my breath. As I breathed I said, “This is really hard. It’s hard to feel like I disappointed Spencer when he’s been through so much sadness lately.” I then said, “Other people have forgotten important things too. I’m not the only one.” And I ended with, “May I be kind to myself right now.” I sat in that space and all kinds of thoughts came to me. The most important was the part of being human. I gave myself lots of generosity…knowing that this year was different and it wasn’t typical of me, but that I was doing the best I could.


  1. Circle back – That night I laid down beside Spencer and I told him the truth. I said, “I need to circle back to last night and this morning. I am sorry for not getting you a costume. I forgot it was Halloween. I have been so sad, I just truly forgot. It’s not because I don’t love you. I like you to have fun on Halloween too. I am sorry.”

Spencer hugged me and said, “It’s okay mom. I know.”


The thing is….he did know. He did get it. He also knows he is loved dearly. And…he understands that part of being human is making mistakes.


We both learned some incredible lessons that day.


Have you ever had a parent fail moment? Did you beat yourself up or did you use it as a gift to teach your child an important life lesson?








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