I recently heard a successful woman say sometimes you just have to send store bought cookies to your kid’s class party.
That’s not my thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of “things” I’ve exchanged in this career/mom constant teeter-totter.
I phone it in as a mom all the time.
But as I stood elbow deep in cookie dough and candy sprinkles tonight, I thought you have to find your thing. Do your particular mom thing well and don’t worry about all the other stuff.
It’s not about store bought cookies, at least for me, it’s about deciding what’s important and what you have to release.
I’m really good at a few things. I’m good with words. You give me a kid that needs encouragement, and I’ll pull out all the stops. So my kids get cards on holidays with notes from me. Sometimes I’ll pen a note on a napkin. This February, I taped a heart every morning to the kids bedroom doors with something we love about him or her. It covered everything from kindness to curiosity to fishing.
I like to bake. I like the smell of the house when there are cookies in the oven. My kids always want to help now which gives me great joy (and a huge mess). So tonight, amid the truly demanding week and my exhaustion, I baked brownies and cookies. The kids ooh-ed and aah-ed over the smells and wandered in to mix the batter and lick the bowls and overshake the candy sprinkles. It didn’t matter tonight’s goodies began as a mix in a box. We didn’t pull out Joy of Cooking or try to learn how to tackle Pate a Choux after last episode of Kids Baking Champion. We just baked until their bedtime, and then I baked some more (two first grade classes to feed after all).
I love holidays. None more than Christmas. But from Easter to Valentine’s, I love to bake and decorate and give small gifts and make it special. And memorable. This weekend, we hosted a precious 1st grade girls Valentine’s friendship tea. There is nothing more fun than fancy-ing up the house with little bit for her friends. Pink and flowers and hearts.
Tonight, after all the baking and heart taping, I finished writing Valentine’s cards and set little spots at the table for all four of my people with small gifts. A candy treat for each. Matching pocket knives for all three of my men. A heart dress for dollie for the little miss. It’s how I let them know I love them despite all the crazy and frenzy.
I’ve also learned when to phone it in.
I do not do crafty. I no longer try. The 100 day t-shirt at school! Ack! Aside from the fact I couldn’t believe this existed after kindergarten, I phoned it in. We ran to Michael’s (multiple times) and bought stickers. Then we proceeded to stick them, in no pattern, to the plain t-shirt. My only goal was for them to arrive at school with 100 stickers on their shirts. At 8:05 am, they could all fall off for all I cared.
Easter hat parade. Unmitigated disaster in preschool. Couldn’t believe the craft explosions.
Theme days. Um, count me out.
Learning boxes or Valentine’s receptacles. Uh-uh.
What happens there is I actually let my kids do the thing. I don’t look at Pinterest. Then the thing looks like a preschooler or kindergartener or 1st grader did it. Instead of an adult. I’m good with that. Hopefully the kids are.
I forget everyone’s birthday now. I try to keep a stack of gift cards or other random presents in a closet in the house so I can bail myself out when needed. Back in the day, I was better. Now I just try to remember the kids and Bray’s.
I don’t volunteer at school. I work a full day in an office nowhere near my house or the kids school, so I’ve left that to those who are able.
My cooking abilities are simply adequate because of the time crunch, and I’m too tired to plan exotic learning experiences for the kids. We read together at home. And we hug on each other a lot. I’m okay reining it in during this life season.
So to all you sweet mommas filling Valentine’s cards with treats for school tomorrow or packaging baked goods or stuffing teacher gift bags, thanks. You rock.
Do what you love to do and let go of all the rest. Let’s not compare ourselves to each other. Your kids will have cuter outfits than mine tomorrow. (Hopefully mine just arrive clean(ish).) And I bet your pate a choux is scrumptious. My boys will send store bought Pokémon cards home with yours and little bit signed her own name to 30 Shopkins card.
I truly think you rock. Never am I more amazed by you sleep deprived women who are juggling all the balls with your jobs and your kids and your talents. But promise not to do it all. And I won’t either. Our kids will know how loved they are because we’re doing the things we really do love with the ones we love to the moon and back.