I’m the Mom Who Doesn’t Craft with Her Kids

Yep, that’s me. Sorry, not sorry.

Crafting gives me anxiety. There, I said it. It’s such a relief to have it out there. Please don’t send me hate mail. Just thinking about glue, glitter, glittery glue, pom poms, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, AHHHHH! I can craft an article. I can sing in tune. I can make delicious food. I cannot, however, enjoy crafting or do it well. Play-Doh gives me the heebie-jeebies. I can’t stand when my kids or I have dirty nails, and Play-Doh is the worst toy for that.

The part of me that’s intent on perfection–that part I’ve had to squish down and minimize since becoming a mother–knows what the end result of a craft should look like and berates the rest of me for not being able to make it happen. I figured out in fourth-grade art class that I am not an artist. I tried valiantly, but you can’t force a square peg into a round hole.

Even my handwriting looks atrocious, and the mere thought of going to one of those wine-and-paint businesses makes me break out in a cold sweat. My idea of a fun evening with friends does NOT include me freaking out about my lack of painting skills.

My siblings are amazing artists, a double-whammy of creative and talented.

I have distinct memories of my mother asking us for homemade gifts for holidays or her birthday, and I would groan and complain (at least on the inside). I abhor giving something I’m not proud of, and I’ve never really been proud of anything I’ve crafted. And trying to accept a compliment graciously on something I don’t feel proud of makes me feel worse, like a liar and a fake. There are incredible jewelry-makers in my family, and I marvel at their abilities. I proudly wear their creations and brag about them to anyone who comments on them.

A fun event with other Madison Moms Blog writers, despite my lack of crafting prowess.

 

After many attempts, I finally made this. It may look decent, but when I look at it, I see through my perfectionist eyes the four frustrating attempts to make this correctly and then the fact that I didn’t cut enough leather and the last two chains are empty.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started accepting myself for who I am more than I ever allowed myself to. I’m trying not to feel I have to “fix” something that is not broken or doesn’t even exist. I’m not going to force myself anymore. I’ve done that, been there, and it’s not worth it in the end. (I mean, I’ll go to a wedding, but I know I’ll feel awkward because I hate small talk and being with several people I either don’t know or don’t know well.) 

I used to have a lot of preconceived notions of what I should do or be.

I would host or go to parties because I was convinced they should be fun for me. Parties make me very nervous, and this is something I either didn’t know or just tried to get over when I was younger. Everyone else is doing it, I thought, so I should too and not feel so anxious about it. So now, nothing personal, but I will decline if I don’t want to go. And I won’t craft if I can help it. I used to think I should craft with my kids because that’s what a good mother would do. I want to enjoy it, and I would love to be good at it. But I don’t, and I’m not. And I’m okay with it.

My kids enjoy crafting, and I want them to pursue their interests.

I love that they are creative and willing to get messy. My husband is artistic, and his mother is a fantastic cross-stitcher. His grandmother is an accomplished painter. His great-grandmother was too. I’m thrilled our kids inherited the artistic sensibility, because they sure didn’t get it from me. But if they could just exclude me from their crafting pursuits, we’ll all be happier for it. Thank goodness for art class in school.

Snowman-making with a friend, and I did not have to be involved in any way. The friend’s mom, my good friend Katie, is happy to fill the craft void I leave.

Don’t get the wrong idea.

I involve myself in many other activities with them (my husband thinks it’s too much sometimes. His exact words just now were, “You drive yourself nuts.”). I take them out for walks, take them to parks, include them in cooking and baking, bring them to musical events and gardens, etc. I will happily read to or with them. I will even sit with them and help them build their 1000-piece Lego creations. I will let them describe countless YouTube videos to me.

I would do anything for my kids; but I won’t do that.

Jenny is a Madison transplant from Winona, MN, with imaginative and talkative twin boys Cameron and Carson, born November 2010, and one very old kitten Arabella, born March 2003, and one very young kitten JoJo, born May 2018. Her husband is a Madison native and suckered her in to staying. She graduated in 2001 from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a bachelor's degree in English Literature, currently working in financial services full-time and writing in her scant spare time when inspiration strikes. She tentatively blogs, with brutal honesty, on whippedcreamandkittens.com and frequently Instagrams. Besides whipped cream and kittens, she loves reading, writing, coffee, wine, cooking, traveling, movies, and spending time with family and close friends. Jenny is thrilled to be on the Madison Moms Blog team and happy to share her wacky and sarcastic tales of Madison momhood.

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