Wednesday, February 12, 2014

You won't die if you buy your valentines. It's true.

'Twas the week of Valentine's Day, when all through the town,
Moms stressed their little hearts out, for what was about to go down.
Pinterest was open on laptops and phones,
And cutesy ideas earned eye rolls and groans.
The children were oblivious to the anxiety brewing,
Because all they wanted was more Rainbow Looming.
The day was soon coming when to school kids would bring
The most perfect Valentine ever, an impressive thing.

When all of a sudden, mom said "This is it!"
She forgot to make dinner and ignored baby's fit.
She'd combed every blog, Pinterest board, and web page,
And at last found the one that would set the stage.
A Valentine with words so witty and punny,
Glitter that sparkled and glue that was runny.
"But no! I want Planes! I want LEGO or Mickey!"
Said the kids whose mom was really quite picky.
Mom was on a mission, it would surely impress!
(Wasn't that the goal? She'd never confess.)
She stayed up til midnight, til one and til two,
'Til her masterpiece was finished, the bags under her eyes too.

And so her kids took the Valentines to school,
They ate candy hearts and got things that were cool.
The truth is no one cared about the Pinterest bash,
And within 24 hours, they were all in the trash.
Oh sure, they were cute; they were funny and sweet.
But in the end, did her expectations they meet?
She stressed a lot over something so petty and dumb,
When her kids would've loved just handing out gum
(With a card saying "I'm stuck on you" -- no STOP!)
It's easy to get caught up in the comparison game,
And you know what?  It's really rather lame.
Let's stop trying too hard and feeling bad in the end.
Let's be real with each other.  Let's not pretend.

- - -

I started writing this poem out of frustration, and I know it's kind of extreme.  I'm all for creativity.  I run a business that thrives on creativity, and my hands and brain always have to be coming up with something.  A week ago when I realized Valentine's Day was right around the corner, I took a deep breath, pulled up Pinterest and began my obligatory search.  And then NO.  NO!  I looked at all that's on my plate right now and realized I didn't need one. more. thing.

I had to stop and question my motives.  Why did I feel like I needed to make creative, unordinary Valentines with for my kids this year, especially when I just plain don't have it in me?

We feel the pressure to, that's why.  Every year it seems like the creative Valentine ideas get bigger and better and more creative and more, more, more.  We feel like we need to keep up or be left behind in ordinary land.  If we succumb to pre-printed, generic, store-bought Valentines, we're sell-out moms who clearly don't love our kids.  We're moms that don't have the time and energy to devote to helping our kids tell others that they need "s'more friends like you!" or "you rock my world!" We're moms who are lazy and boring and need to put down our phones (oh, except let me get that Pinterest idea real quick) and pay more attention to our kids.

But who tells us these lies?  It's not the other moms.  It's ourselves.  It's not likely that another mom has ever marched up to you and belittled the Minecraft valentines you bought at Target.  We put it on ourselves.  We compare and we judge.  And we're afraid.

I ran into a friend at WalMart today.  I caught her red-handed.  She was buying - BUYING - Valentines in the holiday aisle.  Immediately she blushed and apologized and said, "I feel so embarrassed!  I'm buying Valentines this year."  I had to mask my shock and disapproval -- just kidding!  I WAS THRILLED.  She's like me.  A busy mom whose life is real.

So guess what?  For the first time EVER, I bought these the other day and I didn't die:

Store-bought Valentines.  And I didn't even influence my kids' choices.  Sure, I flinched a little and grimaced.  These will never be on Pinterest.  They will be forgotten in a month.  But my kids picked them out and were more excited about these than any of the amazing ones we've made in the past.

Because you know what?  We I have made some pretty cute Valentines in the past.  LET ME BE CLEAR:  I absolutely 100% support making cutesy, creative, over-the-top Valentines.  I've done it, I love it, I love seeing them, I love coming up with ideas, I love blogging about them, I love making them, I love getting them, I love getting excited about them, I love love love them.


Not at the expense of life falling apart.  Or making myself feel like crap because they're not as good as someone else's.  Or forgetting to feed my family dinner for days on end while I make them.  Or breaking the bank buying all the supplies.  Or finishing them up the morning of the Valentine's Day party IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT.  And these things have all happened!  And for me, it's something that comes easily, so I can't fathom the stress moms feel who are stretched in this area.

Sometimes you just have to say no.  This year I said no.  And it feels good.   


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