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School Valentine’s and the Reality of Doing Crafts with Kids

So you want to make some crafts with your kids. You’ve spent hours on Pinterest, scrolling through all these crafty crafts shared by bloggers and you’re feeling brave.

You’re all “That’s it. The time is now!”

This is the year you and your kids make homemade Valentine’s. There will be no store bought Elsa, Anna & Spiderman Valentine’s that the other kids will saturate your child’s kraft paper lunch bag taped to the side of their desk during class Valentine’s exchanges. No way. This year, you’re going to be that mother that they’re all going to say “Must be nice that she has the time to make those.” You’re ready for a sit down weekend bonding session of creativity with your kids that you can document and hashtag to your Instagram hearts content. #IGotThis #DIYValentines #wedontdostorebought. How hard can it possibly be? So many bloggers do it.

Now. Which craft do you choose? Wait, you came across this idea once on Pinterest that a blogger by the name of northsomething from Canada did last year using straws and you think that’s what you’re going to do. It’s not candy and the kids can actually use it at home. Parents will love you and instantly forget you’re that Pinterest mother. But you’re going to go one step further and use paper straws because that way it can be environmentally friendly too. Everybody wins.

So you get all your supplies the week before, you sit down with your kids, your iPhone is charged and you just finished paper cutting all the strips of paper for your tags. Just then the doorbell rings at 9:30 am on a Sunday.

“Mommy, can I go outside and play with (insert your neighbours kids name here)?”

“Aren’t we doing your class Valentine’s?”

“Can I help you with them after we’re done playing?”

Think fast. You can drink your coffee in peace.

“Ok be back by 11 am.”

DIY School Valentine's - northstory

In the meantime you try and make one straw Valentine. Not bad. Then you realize your 4 year old won’t have the patience to print her name on all 27 of them for her class. So you go and re-do the tags with their names on them for both kids.

Older child comes back at 11 am.

“Mommy can I play just a little bit longer?”

“We have to get these done. You always say we never do crafts anymore.”

“PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE. Just one more hour.”

“Fine.”

Maybe you should start doing some more of them to show as examples for your kids so they know how to do it. Yes. Great idea. You start to assemble the straws using a glue gun to glue the tag insides to each other around the straws. By about straw number 10, you realize your index finger is starting to hurt from pushing the tag sides together and you haven’t even punched the heart shapes in the tags yet.

Wait, how many more of these do you need? Two kids x their respective class size = almost 50. Why did this not seem so hard for that other blogger who did them? She has a photo of all the ones that she did for her daughter’s class. Oh wait, that was just one kid in school. Crap. You have to make twice that.

Hang on, now that you’re thinking about it how come in some of the bloggers Pinterest photos they only show a small amount of crafts for school. In fact, usually there are only several of them per picture. They do make all of these crafts for each kid in the class and not just for a blog post…don’t they?

Your 4 year old snaps you out of your introspective thinking session and gets mad that you won’t let her use the glue gun. She asks to watch a movie instead. You make her lunch, put on a movie and take a break, start folding some laundry and wonder if you’re already developing carpal tunnel.

Older child comes back again.

“Mommy can I stay at (insert your neighbours kids name) for lunch and then go tobogganing?”

“We have to get these Valentine’s for your class done! I can’t do them during the week.”

“PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE. I promise I will help later. I really want to do them.”

“Ok be back before dinner.”

You stop folding your laundry and stare the mess on your table. You’re realizing all too well that your kid has no interest in doing these. You can’t just waste paper and the straws you bought so you sit down to finish them. You’re secretly relieved because you can control how fast they get done and let’s face it, you know half the kid crafts on Pinterest are done by adults because you’re far too aware of what the end result of a child’s craft looks – #notpinnable.

You carry on, resolved to get them done. By about straw number 30 you’re cursing both the blogger and Pinterest and envying all the mother’s that bought the Elsa and Anna and Spiderman Valentine’s for their kids.

You realize Pinterest is a lie and this is a staged illusion.

Valentine's for school, candy free - northstory

DIY Valentine's Straws - northstory

And this is the reality, a.k.a. #notseveral.

This is almost 50. You had 40 people at your own wedding for God’s sakes and you don’t even know the names of 75% of your child’s classmates.

Valentine's Straws - northstory

By the time you finish, you muster up enough energy to take some photos not just for Instagram but to remember the sheer determination and perseverance you showed. Yet the darkest hour is still to come and it’s not because of daylight savings time. Your older child gets home after abandoning you all day. Ignore the fact that you let her.

“Mommy I’m home!”

“Hey honey want to see the Valentine’s?”

Your child looks at the straws and says, “But I thought we were going to do cupid arrows?”

Silence. Prolonged silence.

“What’s for dinner Mom?”

You realize you are in a Robert Munsch book.

You then refuse to check Pinterest for a recipe and order Pizza with your left hand because you can’t feel your fingers on your right. You shake your head with mutual admiration and simultaneous dismay at the northsomething blogger while pouring yourself a giant glass of wine and decide to never speak ill of the store bought Valentine’s again.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Veronica
    February 9, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Haaaaha This was genuine and ohhhh so true. Although my battle is with electronics.
    Congrats on getting them done. Your kids will look back and see what an awesome mom you are for doing this.
    Maybe next time they’ll join you ❤️

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 10, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Oh the electronics battle is def starting over here. I have an oven timer that is used more for that than my baking.

  • Reply
    tezzcan
    February 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    You made me laugh out loud,
    Thank you, and I hope your hand is better.

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 10, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Anytime! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Sid
    February 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

    This made my day. Thank you for making me feel less guilty as I head to the drug store to buy super hero cards so the boys in my daughter’s class aren’t offended by Anna/Elsa.

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 10, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Never feel guilty about buying cards or anything else. Everyone should definitely do what works for their lives and making stuff from scratch isn’t realistic for a lot of people. Do it when you want to, if you want to but not because you feel you have to. I’m still buying some store treats premade to bring to class. Believe me they’ll like the store cards better.

  • Reply
    georgine
    February 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I wanted y 2 girls to help make Christmas cards this year. I never ordered the usual photo card and I thought it wold be cute that they made the card. I set up all the stuff. The kids had fun making the 1 card they each made, in about an hour. Each card was elaborately done – and no more got made. They did not understand the mass production concept. I have no clue what we are doing this Valentines. Hopefully i will have a clue after I visit Target.

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 10, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Mass production and kids is a dark comedy. I learned that pretty fast when we made Christmas cards. Now I just stick to collages that I can cut shapes out of or have that 1-2 cards they do be the Grandparent ones.

  • Reply
    dani@lifeovereasy
    February 9, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Hahahhaha! I have been there! If you skip the whole hand made valentine part, you can go straight to the wine!

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 10, 2015 at 9:06 am

      I like this idea better. I’m hitting up the stores today to get a packaged candy treat to go along with these. Way easier.

  • Reply
    sylvia
    February 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    THANK YOU for posting this–it’s such a relief to read something that is honest, real, and not-secretly-staged. I appreciate your beautiful crafts and your creative ideas–but I especially love your honest voice.

  • Reply
    chelle
    February 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    hehehe yes yes yes. I have so been there!!! I told my older two this year they had to have store bought ones and I was only doing crafty stuff for the 5 year old! They were disappointed and yet oddly relieved!

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