BRILLIANT: What to wear on Halloween based on YOUR STAGE IN MOTHERHOOD!


The Halloween season is upon us. I use the word season on purpose. Although Halloween is a one-day holiday, the decorations, treats and costume racks start popping up almost at the same time as back to school shopping. As I walked through the aisles of the corpse of a Best Buy which had risen from the dead as a Spirit Halloween store, I started to think about which costume would best suit me. I have some serious requirements for my costume. Mostly, comfortable, short-sleeved and can be used later for trips to the grocery store. This is why last year I dressed as a mermaid (fish scale leggings, that I am currently wearing, a t-shirt with seashells painted on them, blue sneakers and a seashell necklace). However, on this trip to the costume store, I got a little distracted. Rather than which costume would best suit me, I started to think about the myths and legends surrounding these getups and began to imagine which mythological creature would best encompass the essence of motherhood. The truth is that not any one creature can incorporate all the complexities of motherhood. But a few, depending on what stage of motherhood you are currently in, can get close!

To the mother of a newborn: You should dress up as a VAMPIRE…

To begin, let me clarify that my vampire knowledge is coming mostly from Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie Not Twilight. There are a number of characteristics that new mothers share with the prince of vampires. First, Dracula makes it a point not to own any mirrors, since he cannot see his reflection. Although newborn mothers are perfectly able to see their reflection, many would rather avoid the disappointment that comes with the appearance of dedicating yourself to a tiny human all day, every day! Which brings me to my next point. Vampires can only sleep on sacred soil.  According to the novel, vampires must have a specific type of soil in order for them to rest, which they seem to keep in a coffin, and I can only assume this is for convenience. Although newly christened mothers don’t sleep on soil, the conditions must be just perfect for them to attain an adequate amount of rest. The baby needs to have eaten just the right amount because too much gives them colic and too little makes them wake up. The baby cannot have the slightest hint of stuffiness or discomfort and the house must be at just the right temperature. Basically, all of the planets have to align, and the air must be filled with magic. Much like moms, vampires live on very little nourishment and have supernatural strength. Finally, these mythological creatures are reclusive, hiding away in their castles for centuries at a time. Which, if you are a new mother who sometimes goes for hours or even days without having enough contact with another adult you know how lonely and isolating the experience can be.


If you happen to be the mother of a toddler: my suggestion would be that you dress up as a SIREN…

To be clear I do not mean a mermaid, I am referring to the half-bird and half female beings depicted in Homer’s The Odyssey. According to Greek mythology, these women were known to use their beautiful signing voices to lure sailors onto the rocks. If their voices alone did not complete the job, then the sirens would make false promises based on the sailors’ deepest desires. If you have ever had to sing Baby Shark for an entire car ride to keep your kid calm or made promises of cookies or toys to get your child into a car seat, then you basically know exactly what these women were going through. According to some interpretations of the stories, the sailors would die at the hands of the sirens because they didn’t have adequate food to feed them and they would starve, unable to part with the beautiful siren song. Despite the fact that I follow creative cooking blogs and have scoured the shelves of my local grocery stores in search of nutritious foods, my toddler certainly has days where she would rather starve than eat anything I serve her.  Finally, myths explain that sailors would use creative tricks, like sticking wax in their ears, to avoid hearing the sirens. If they were successful in evading the sirens’ calls, these beings would become so frustrated and devastated with their failure that they would plunge themselves into the ocean and drown. Although the case is not as severe in my house, the times when my daughter has actively ignored me have definitely driven me to the brink of my nerves.


To my school-aged children’s moms: I believe WILL-O-THE-WISPS approximates the spirit of your parenting situation…

Will-o-the-Wisps or Faeries as they are sometimes referred to, are glowing lights that often guide humans down a specific path. As per legends, there was basically a 50% chance that you were either being guided to your imminent death or the fairy kingdom. For our purposes, we will assume that we are all just trying to guide our children to their best possible futures. However, since these ominous lights would scare basically anyone that came across them, the faeries often had to get aggressive. I personally have not entered this stage in my motherhood journey just yet, but as an elementary school teacher, I witnessed this insistent yet gentle form of parenting many times in my career. More specifically, I sat with parents who were teaching their children to take responsibility for their assignments and extracurricular activities. This often meant that the parents had to use a lot of coaching strategies and sit back to either watch their kids grow and flourish or crash and burn. I can only imagine the amount of self-control and frustration the latter must entail. Finally, Faeries in some Scottish myths were said to enter the homes of sleeping mortals and clean as well as complete cores while everyone slept. To all of us moms who complete 300 chores on a daily basis without anyone taking notice, I see you!


To the mothers of teenagers: Your perfect costume would be a MUMMY!

For ancient Egyptians, death was neither scary nor negative. It was viewed as the next stage of the person’s existence. They also didn’t believe in curses; this came about much later when grave robbers would die from what was most likely contamination. If you are the mother of a teenager, you have the difficult task of preparing your child and yourself for the next stage of life, independent adulthood. Regardless of the fact that to ancient Egyptians this was a positive time, it did not make the painstaking process any easier. Mummification was a long and arduous procedure that often took 70 days and involved a lot of wine to preserve the body. From watching my own mother go through the process of supervising my younger sister in these moments of her life, I have seen firsthand how sensitive, frustrating, scary and transcendent it can be to witness your child becoming an adult. I can also understand why there are so many wine memes that appeal to mothers. Perhaps one of the most difficult moments in this stage of parenting is feeling trapped (or tightly wound, pun intended) as you watch your young adult children making decisions that you feel are detrimental yet are trying to respect. In one of the first mummy stories written by Jane Webb titled, The Mummy! A Tale of the 22nd Century, the author depicts a mummy who is reanimated and attempts to impart the wisdom of his centuries to those around him, with mixed results. I would imagine parents of teenagers can relate.


To the mothers of adults, like myself, I will respectfully suggest you dress as a GHOST.

From watching my mother in law and my own mother navigate through this stage of parenting it surely seems to me that they are often impersonating ghosts. Through some reflection, this is probably the most socially and emotionally difficult stage of parenthood. Also, the longest. Much like what the folklore of ghosts would have us believe; these mothers are trapped within two worlds. They are attempting to continue to parent and guide their children while maintaining a respectful distance from the adults they have become. I have personally witnessed my mother-in-law tentatively give advice and then follow-up with little to no questions so as not to become intrusive. What must it be like to want to protect your children from a distance, while simultaneously being close enough to feel the effects of their decisions? I can tell you that I will be listening to their advice much more closely from now on. Finally, it is speculated that most ghosts stick around because they have unfinished business or have suffered a traumatic death. If you have ever been guilty of not calling your parents for days on end and only remembering they exist because you need their help to resolve some vital issue, you now understand what ghosts and parents have in common.


Finally, to the fathers or second sources of parenting, whether you are an aunt, boyfriend or grandparent because thankfully very few of us have to complete this task solely on our own, I propose you dress up as…drum roll, please…ABRAHAM VAN HELSING!

Although in the original Dracula novel he is depicted as Count Dracula’s archenemy, we will assume that your parenting partners are not constantly trying to drive a stake through your heart. Van Helsing is often depicted as a vampire expert, although the original character was not created in this light. The first Van Helsing was simply a knowledgeable man who was consulted in dealing with the matter of a very sick girl, who we later learned was bitten by a vampire, due to his extensive expertise. Although is it probably safe to assume that your companion is as equally ignorant on the subject of parenting as you are, hopefully, they provide some much-needed logic and peace when you are at your wits ends. Van Helsing, being the educated and intelligent doctor that he was, was almost always the voice of reason throughout the novel. I thank my husband for the countless times he found me crying or frustrated and stepped in with kind words and offered me a break. Finally, much like Van Helsing, our partners have taken on the task of dealing with the various monsters we can quickly become as we navigate through this most Joyous and difficult task.

To all the ghosts and ghouls, happy Halloween!

Committed to this continuously content chaos,

Alejandra Gonzalez

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Alejandra Gonzalez is an immigrant of the Hispanic country of Cuba and born to a single mother. Her parents divorced when she was only five months olds, so there have been a lot of vital life moments that have shaped her personality and ideologies, especially in terms of motherhood. Alejandra is a proud university graduate. She began her career in education right out of high school. Following in her family's footsteps of hard work, she worked full time throughout her educational years and became a K-6 Certified Teacher. During this journey, she met and fell in love with her husband and they started a family of their own. Her husband has a very similar background and holds the same values as she does. They currently live in a single-family home with their three-year-old daughter and two dogs. Both Alejandra and her husband are involved in education and although they have always been hard-working and dedicated individuals, they truly believe that parenthood has pushed their limits and inspired them to become better people, professionals, as a couple and parents. Committed to this Continuously Content Chaos, Alejandra Gonzalez,


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