It's time to accept the cold, hard truth.
I'm not a crafty mom. I'll never be a crafty mom.
One of my goals for 2013 was to actually try some of my pins on Pinterest. I love looking through what other people have pinned, I love seeing good ideas, and I love pinning things of my own. However, I'm not great when it comes to following through and actually putting some of these great ideas into practice.
Therefore, I gave myself a goal. One pin per week.
At first, I was flying. I found several recipes that were hits with my family, from the 10-month-old to the picky 2-and-a-half-year-old to the 30-something husband. I tried a couple of cleaning tips (apparently blue Dawn plus warm vinegar is the cleaning elixir!). I wasn't just meeting my challenge — I was exceeding my challenge.
Then I realized that I had two boards I was great about adding pins to, but those boards remained untried: "Crafts I Can Handle" and "Crafts For the Kids." Hmm . . .
If Pinterest, Facebook, and many, many blogs written by moms are any indication, doing amazing crafts both with and for your kids is the new benchmark. Why spend your money on a bin from the store when you can cover an old diaper box? Why put hair bows in a drawer when you can work together and create a gorgeous hanger? A good mom is a crafty mom. She creates amazing products and engages her children in a wonderful way. They aren't just crafting — they are making wholesome, quality memories.
My toddler is part of an art playgroup. One of my friends has really embraced her inner preschool teacher/wholesome-crafty-mom persona. She gathers a group of 2-year-olds together, and every week we do something different. We paint with pine branches, we experiment with homemade puffy paint, we stamp with muffin tins, and we marble paint with shaving cream. The kids adore it.
I can do that . . . right?
One of the things I realized about myself last year was that stepping out of my comfort zone brings me unexpected joy and pride. Crafts are definitely out of my comfort zone, so it was time to try.
My Big Mess
My older daughter adores art, crafts, and anything where she can get her hands dirty. It's not fair to deprive her just because it's not my strength. Therefore, in the past few days we've made . . . a big mess! Paint, glue, flour, food coloring, you name it, I've scrubbed it off my floor.
I even tried some projects on my own, just to get my footing. I covered an old Clorox wipes bottle with nice paper to make a plastic bag holder for my car. I tried to cover some old shoe boxes with scrap paper to make some toy storage boxes. I worked for hours on my computer, trying to design some logos and personalize some printables.
Finally, when I stopped and looked at my shoe boxes, with paper not quite lining up and definitely not adhered to the box, a plastic bag receptacle with bubbling paper hanging off both ends and crumpled at the join, and a logo with uneven coloring and text not quite lining up, I realized . . .
I'm not a crafty person.
More importantly, I don't think I want to be. Sure, I like ideas, and in the right hands, they'd be amazing. But I wasn't loving the time I spent on these projects. I felt as if I was trying to fit into a box that just doesn't work. I was focused on the end result, which wasn't working out, and the effort wasn't fun for me.
I was disappointed at first. I won't be the mom who has her hot glue gun at the ready. We won't have a commemorative salt dough ornament with each child's handprint painted in a clever design. If I want a decorative box or other storage container, I'll be buying it.
But I'm musical. My girls know songs and fingerplays and bounces and games. I'll dive into a game of pretend and be just as dramatic as my toddler. I'll pour water and scoop beans in the sensory box. I'll read story after story with character voices and dramatic pauses.
I'll still get out the paint and flour and salt and food coloring. We won't worry about the product, but we'll have a great time in the process. We'll color rice and make Play-Doh and paint with colored condensed milk. If they're having a great time, we'll do it. If they lose interest, we'll do something else.
And I'll teach my daughters that it doesn't matter how the craft turns out. We don't need a perfect product.
I'm not a crafty mom.
And that's OK.