Fall is my favorite season. I love any excuse to wrap myself in a warm sweater and sip a hot beverage (bring on the pumpkin spice, as far as I’m concerned). Foliage is the bomb, and I get as excited as the next gal by the steady onslaught of totally rad holidays.
But today as I sat down to Google what sort of things I could do with my kids this fall, I almost had a panic attack. 75 Fall Activities to Add to Your Bucket List, 100 Must-Do Fall Crafts, 8 Million Fall Festivals to Attend in Your Area.
As an introverted, easily overwhelmed mom who sometimes puts way too much pressure on herself to be perfect, articles like this can easily send me over the edge. See, I want to make amazing memories with my kids. I want to do all the things. I even want to do the things that I can’t even do. (I can’t craft for shit; I’ll admit it.)
But when I get in over my head with all the pressure to do and do and enjoy every second, I am apt to lose my shit.
So this fall season, I plan to take a big step back, and do a whole lot less. Instead of a Fall Bucket List, I’m doing a Fall Fuck-It List. Wanna join me?
Here’s what I’m not gonna do this fall:
Make My Kids’ Costumes From Scratch
I’ve done it before. The activity resulted in nothing but crying (myself and my kids). And the costumes looked like crap. Never again. Amazon Prime is my friend here. Maybe I’ll make it out of my house to a costume store, but fat freaking chance on that.
Go to Every Fall Festival and Carnival
Stand in line for 45 minutes with whiny kids and then blow $65 on creaky old merry-go-rounds that give me a migraine? Okay, I’ll do that once, or maybe twice, but I refuse to go to every carnival or festival that comes to town.
I took my first son apple picking when he was just under 2 years old. It was fun, and I have nice memories of it. But it took an hour and a half to get to the orchard, and by the time I left, I had more apples than I knew what to do with, and almost nothing left in my bank account.
Go Nuts With Decorating
I love me some red and yellow mums, throwing up some spooky signs, and covering the bushes with that fake spider web stuff. But adorning my doorway with corn husks? Hanging a basket of apples from every window? Repurposing an old red wagon and filling it with heirloom gourds? Not happening.
Bake All the Things
Pumpkin pie is fab and easy enough that I can’t really fuck it up. Pumpkin muffins are pretty simple too, and the kids love them — plus, pumpkin is a vegetable, so it’s win-win for all. But I’m not knocking myself out trying to whip up a butternut squash gratin or a twice-cooked sweet potato casserole. If it takes more than 20 minutes to prepare, it’s got to have a money-back guarantee that my kids will actually consume it.
Craft My Ass Off
If my kids want to use some construction paper to cut out a few pumpkins or ghosts, they can knock themselves out. But as much as I like arts and crafts in theory, I just lack the crafting gene. Also, big messes make me angsty. So, sorry, but I’m not going to frame my kids’ freshly picked foliage. I’m not going to make a glittery garland (glitter is banned in my house). And I’m sure as hell not going to use an old sweater to make a lampshade.
Enjoy Every Moment
There are going to be a million moments this fall with my kids that will be wonderful and memorable. But there will be plenty of moments that will suck, and I’m not going to force myself to enjoy those too. So when we’re standing out in 50-degree weather after trick-or-treating for three hours, my kids are refusing to carry their 10-pound buckets of candy, and every single one of us has to pee, I’m not going to pretend that I’m having fun. I’m going to cry right along with my kids.
Even though I know that nothing can go perfectly, especially when kids are involved, I still tend to hype things up in my mind and hope against hope that things will line up just right and everyone will have a delightful, perfect time. This is especially true when it’s something that I myself am eagerly looking forward to, which is totally the case when it comes to all the wonders of autumn.
So this year, I’m going to expect things to go wrong. Someone’s gonna start barfing as we’re headed out to Thanksgiving. Someone’s Halloween costume is going to fall apart an hour before we head out trick-or-treating.
Maybe if I expect the worst, I’ll be pleasantly surprised when things don’t end up half as bad as I thought. Here’s hoping.