By Jayme Sherrod | @jaymesherrod
It was Halloween 2020, the first major celebration of what was expected to be a very abnormal holiday season; thus my expectations were low. My bar for most things in motherhood stays pretty low, and the bar for Halloween 2020 was virtually touching the ground.
At the time, I had a two-and-a-half-year-old and a five-month-old along for her first Halloween ride. The time came to get ready, and my oldest said, quite calmly, “I’m not wearing that,” when I tried to hand him his adorable dinosaur costume. Well, in line with my strategy of keeping my motherhood bar low, I barely flinched, my shoulders gave a shrug, and I said, “Okay.”
We stepped outside, grabbed the scooter for my oldest, the stroller for the baby, and a paper bag for the candy. We visited eight houses, and I recall four of them questioning the whereabouts of my son’s costume. Confidently and calmly, I responded that he didn’t want to wear it, and we were cool with that. I felt good about this. I felt even better about our night. In fact, I think it was one of the best Halloweens I could remember.
After bottoming-out from a quick sugar rush, the kids went happily to sleep. I grabbed my phone and began to scroll, and my emotions began to turn. I saw, what felt like at the time, hundreds of photos of kids dressed up for Halloween. Suddenly I lost every bit of confidence and joy I had gained in the last three hours.
Should I have made him wear the costume?
I didn’t even take any pictures.
They will never be this age again.
Maybe my bar was too low.
You see, social media has a way – albeit, I think quite unintentionally – of getting even the most confident of moms to question themselves. Just to be clear, I am rarely super confident in my parenting decisions, and I think that’s what made this experience cut so much deeper – I had felt good about what we did, so the fall from that confidence was a lot farther.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about this experience, and here’s what I’ve learned. Remember that low bar I set for so many areas of my life? Well for some reason, when I raise my phone up to eye-level, the bar tends to rise with it. And we as moms deserve so much more grace.
So here is what I have committed to going forward, and I welcome you to adapt these commitments to your life as well.
- My family and I will enjoy holidays in whatever way feels good, comfortable, and right for us in that season – in that moment.
- If I need to take a break from social media around certain holidays, I can and I should.
- If I do choose to pick up my phone on or around a holiday, I must first remind myself that my family and I are doing what is best for us, and that will always be good enough.
Mama, as we head into the season of the year that is full of social media photos displaying idealistic family outings and outfits, remember you get to set your bar – even for when you scroll.
So here’s to a Halloween of kids without costumes, parents without cameras, and one or two handfuls of delicious candy.
Jayme Sherrod | @jaymesherrod
Jayme (pictured on the right) and her wife Amanda live in a suburb just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, with their son and daughter. Before her motherhood journey began in 2018, Jayme worked as a Registered Nurse and has since transitioned to being a full-time stay-at-home mom of two kiddos and three fur babies. When able, she loves baking, hiking, and sipping (hot!) coffee on the porch – no matter the time of year.