Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The little girl gets crafty too ... A creative mom learns a valuable lesson about what it really means to raise "creatively-confident" kids.

I am such a control freak about the way things look. I know this about myself. But it hits you a little longer and a little harder, when your kids confess these things to you as well.

Yesterday I took my daughter out to the mall to pick out party favors for her upcoming sleepover birthday party. And on the drive back home we talked about how we were going to package them. (I love packaging! Don't you?) I told her that this year she could do it all by herself, since she was old enough to handle it. (Last year, I'm sure I whipped up some little design bits in Photoshop and had a decent role in planning what they looked like, even if she was the one who assembled it all.) She smiled from ear to ear upon hearing this ... and then she confided in me that a few years back ... while we were making Valentine's for her classmates (I designed these cute little cards and lollipop covers in Photoshop) that I basically took over her project, because everything had to be "just so". She confessed that she felt a little sad that I didn't trust her to make them look pretty enough.

What?!?! Oh my goodness. Sweet girl ... this isn't about you, or anything you do wrong; unfortunately I'm the one with the issues. Ugh.

Yes, I can totally see myself being like this, I mean I know I am. I guess I just didn't think about how my control issues affected my children. How my need to decorate and design and make things pretty might be hindering their creativity. I always thought that growing up with playdoh, fingerpaints and endless art supplies was the dream I never had. That I was doing everything so right. I mean my kids have wet felted. They have their own supply of canvas, acrylics, oil paints & pastels. Oh no, it's not just markers and crayolas in this household. They have tried embroidery darn it!

But at that moment I felt something of a failure. What she remembered was not all those fun, playful and creative moments. She remembered her school Valentine's and how I made that project all mine. Sigh.

So last night, I gave her the treat bags, her pick of my ribbons, stickers and blank tags (no Photoshop designed artwork that I whipped up) and let her have at it. And she lit up with excitement. She lit up with pride. She lit up ... because dear friends, this project was all hers.

And they are pretty. And they are perfect. And they are made with love.

--xoxo jenn


Emily Cheney said...

I loved this post! I'm so the same way. It's fun to see my sons do their art projects but my fingers itch to do it my way. Haha loved your recipes post the other day too! Your website is darling, BTW!!!

Leslie Harvey said...

THANKS for posting this Jenn! What a wonderful reminder to us Moms (control freaks). :)

Vickie Martin said...

The title to this is great - i had to click on it immediately. What a great post - and the line: They have tried embroidery darn it!

that is priceless!!!!!

Sylvia Liu said...

This post so resonates with me. I really have to force myself to let my girls do their own projects and not go crazy when it's not perfect. Thanks for the great reminder to let them be!

Orange Whimsy said...

Oh my goodness, such a beautiful and touching post. I don't have children, but when I imagine having them, I realize that I fall into the perfectionist trap. Your post brings me back to reality... Thank you.

Viv (modifica) said...

Lovely post it is so difficult to stand back and let then take over and do it themselves isn't it ? My children are grown up and sometimes Mum still wants to take over !

chelle said...

this is a great story..i can see myself doing the same..thanks for sharing..i'll remember it when my daughter is old enough to handle it all by herself :)


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