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Goodbye Harrowed, Hello Halloween!

Fall got a late start, and sometimes it feels like the weather these days is reflecting the state of my home. Unpredictable, too hot, and, some days, just plain weird. And, like Mother Nature, this mama is playing catch up to bring my family into fall. Translated: we’re in a mad dash to get Halloween costumes together and throw up our motley assortment of decorations!

Let’s talk about Halloween. (Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to be an historical analysis about the day with religious or pagan descriptions. It also isn’t going to be a tirade against candy. I’ll leave that to the dental blogs.) Love it or hate it, Halloween is approaching, and, bear with me, I believe it offers A LOT for kids and grown-ups alike. I believe it can bring out the best in us. And, if you ignore Halloween, it can make you a bitter, seething adult. 

Halloween, for me, was an opportunity to forget everything: every emotional hang-up, every deadline looming, every thought I have and just focus on fun. The fun of assembling a costume you can’t wait to put on for a party you can’t wait to get to. The fun of thinking about how that character/object speaks and will I want to speak in an accent this Halloween to be fully thematic? The fun of getting candy (I’m partial to Twix), and ripping it open to eat the first one mid-trick-or-treating. The fun of making brain-shaped Jell-O and seeing my friends’ reactions to it. The fun of looking like someone else for a day. 

But I haven’t done any of that in a long time. I’ve focused on my kids and their fun. Between running Listed Treasures and being a mom I sometimes find Halloween to be a chore. Another thing I have to do. It seems I forgot about the brain Jell-O. I stopped celebrating Halloween for me

My neighbors have reclaimed their Halloween fun. They decorate like the ghost of Vincent Price is coming to town, and throw adult get togethers in the cul-de-sac with adult beverages and Halloween-themed snacks. We recap the trick-or-treating and costume making debacles, we tell our kids “No more candy!” while we sneak Reese’s ourselves, and, most importantly, we laugh. We laugh so much. And usually, I do it all in my regular, boring jeans and sweatshirt.

Before kids, I really went all out on my costume. I have a long history of extraordinary costumes, including dressing up as early career Britney Spears. I even performed a lip sync for a gymnastics gym full of kids! I also have a tradition of dressing up like the person that invited me to the party when I do go to a Halloween party.  It’s REALLY fun to see the looks on the hosts face when they see me in character as them! I act the part too!

I haven’t dressed up in a few years. It’s been a big enough task to get my kids into the costumes of their dreams. But this year, I’m reclaiming my right to have fun on Halloween. Don’t happy parents make happy kids? And if that’s not a saying I’m going to start saying it and make it one. 

This year, I’m going to dress up. I can’t tell you what my costume will be because it’ll probably be an eleventh hour effort. But I’m making the commitment! 

Let’s reclaim Halloween and have a real night of fun for ourselves. Come on and dress up, too. Tell me your costume–or send me a pic! Happy Halloween!

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A Better To-Do List

My daughter’s school participates in a program called The Positivity Project. Every week there is a new theme, and a recent one, “Cheering Others’ Success”, really caught my eye. The messaging was, “when other people succeed, you are happy for them and cheer them on. Making a commitment towards cheering on other people’s success can be a great way to improve our own health, happiness, and relationships.”

When I read that blurb in the school newsletter, I considered how many people had cheered my success, and wondered if I had demonstrated that same behavior. I started to think about all the women who had cheered not only my successes, but applauded the growth that came from struggle, and bolstered me when I felt like I was failing.

There are so many mompreneurs I look up to because they cheered me on even when they needed support themselves.

One of these spectacular women is Laura Jane Cohen. LJ co-founded and runs her business, Belle Jar Designs, but has also decided to run for FCPS school board so she can continue to improve the lives of all of our children. How amazing is that?

Have I shown LJ the support she’s shown me? Have I relished her success as if it was my own? If I haven’t, I’m starting here, right now.

LJ is so successful because she is a great listener– to her customers, coworkers, and to her friends and fellow business owners. She is generous, hard-working and creative. Her business has grown and prospered, and I couldn’t be happier for her!

It’s true: devoting time – and blog space – to extolling LJ does make me feel happy. In my relentless pursuit of being the perfect mom, and the perfect wife and the perfect business owner, acknowledging someone else’s success makes me feel more relaxed and happier. It alleviates stress–I’m not alone. There are others like me! And, their success is my success!

We can so easily get caught up in crossing things off our to-do list that we can forget to congratulate each other. But maybe what we should be doing is adding things to our lists that will actually improve our lives.

I would like each of us right now to add “Congratulate a friend on her success” to your to-do list. That means you’re going to call, text, email, or send a letter to your friend to tell them how happy you are for them. Be sincere. Their happiness IS your happiness.

Here’s mine:

  1. Text Rachel Kraft and tell her how unbelievable she is at her job (‘cause it’s true!)
  2. Call Nicole Dash to support her in her new endeavors
  3. Send Marcia Sheehan an email, congratulating her on a successful Connector Conference.

Whose success will you cheer? Let me know! Katy@ListedTreasures.com!