Some years back I realized I wasn’t the type of crafty mom I wanted to be. I have always envied Martha Stewart mini-mes. It isn’t that I don’t have the creative mind to come up with ideas for beautiful innovative things to make. In fact, I am a very creative person. It is more like once it moves from my brain to my hand my hands decide to retaliate and create something not so elegant or nifty. I become frustrated. Add to the mix of unruly hands, 3 super excited kids who want to participate in this great idea I had in my head. It becomes a disaster because while I am trying to demonstrate my idea so that they can do it too, they turn their ears off, tune me out, see all the pretty crafty things and then impatiently begin to randomly grab, cut, and glue things. To make it even more hair-pulling for me my two oldest are now teenagers and they will argue over everything, even who gets what color or how long or how much glue is used.
Today was one of those days. For a couple of weeks now my son has asked me to do crafts with him. I have either not had the time or hesitated because I knew crafts meant arguments and mess I would be left to clean up. On those days I didn’t craft with him he grabbed paper and scissors and glue and made spears and Chinese stars and other weapons. The last craft he made was for me and it consisted of plain white paper with glue. He made a house with a garden for me. There was a lot of detail involved.
The guilt set in deep because I remember the days when I would try to craft more things with my kids. I thought about what my therapist told me about a year ago when I told her I wish I was more patient and craftier like other moms. She asked me what I meant. I told her I don’t have the patients to do crafts with my kids. I am too controlling and can’t handle the mess. I told her game nights and family outings are even more difficult because my kids fight so much, especially my two oldest.
My therapist was honest and obvious. She said I need to keep doing it anyway. I need to keep trying and let them be more involved and I need to make sure they understand they have to clean up after. She said it is going to be hard to do, but I need to do it.
She reminded me it wasn’t always about the outcome ( the craft finished) but it was more about the effort I put into it and that is what they will remember.
So today I tried. I found a really fun easy-do, nothing to buy craft to do on YouTube and I was ecstatic about it because it was easy and it cost me nothing. The plan was to surprise my kids, show them the craft and then distribute the supplies so that we could do all do it. There was one catch. I had to borrow my 12-year-old daughter’s permanent markers. I thought once saw what we were going to do she wouldn’t hesitate and let us play. I was mistaken. It made her nervous. This multi-color set of permanent markers she earned last year was of course very near and dear to her heart and creativity so there she was asking me over and over to be super careful with them and there I was assuring her I was and I thought she could clearly see I was.
Then her brother grabbed one of her markers and she began to yell at him to put it down. I tried to calm her down, but she tuned me out. I looked at her and told her to take her markers back; she would not be able to participate.
I remembered that I found some in my bag upstairs a few days ago and so I ran upstairs grabbed them and came down. That’s when my oldest chimed in about how those were her markers and then another fiasco ensued. Really???? How ungrateful are these children? I sent her upstairs too, but this time kept these markers and continued on to show my son.
He and I designed a few charms, made with permanent markers, and plastic to-go box tops, and then watched them shrink in the oven. We took something used and refurbished it into something new. It was exciting to see his face, but why couldn’t my daughters just….ugh.
Mean mom that I am, I grabbed these nifty little charms and showed them to my girls so they could see what they missed out on. The second batch melted a little too much, but we now know how to make them perfect for next time. My middle child apologized and on we went to the second craft. Taking a hot glue gun to a jar and covering the jars with small buttons, beads, and so on from broken bead necklaces, clothes, and so on. We painted the inside of the jar green. We haven’t completed this jar because we ran out of pieces to glue to it, but we now have a project to collect for.