A mom like me can start to feel pretty inadequate if she spends much time at all browsing homeschool mom blogs. Crafty moms are flooding Pinterest with their latest creations for little ones’ birthday parties and posting tutorials on how to make butterflies and rainbows out of toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, and glitter. Lovely as they are, I am learning to be okay with the reality that I am not that mom. My kids’ birthday parties are decorated with Dollar Tree streamers and pink plates with a few balloons scattered around. And the one Christmas ‘craft’ I did with the girls was decorating sugar cookies.
I have a degree in Elementary Education. Fortunately my first job was teaching fifth grade so I didn’t feel too much pressure to be overly crafty, but I definitely had the lamest bulletin boards around. Some teachers get all giddy when it’s time to design and decorate their classroom. Me, not so much. I strongly disliked that part of teaching. Even as a student in school I was much happier to do a worksheet, read a book, write a paper, or work on a group project than if I had to cut and paste anything. Blech.
Fast forward to my life as a mother now. I have three little girls. Perfect little subjects for oodles of crafts, right? So, we’ve got the play-doh, stickers, felt, beads, glitter, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and paints. Heck, I even have a glue gun. Our daily routine rarely involves the use of any of the aforementioned supplies. Once in a while I get a burst of inspiration and we might attempt a craft of sorts, but it’s not the norm. And that’s okay.
Sometimes when I start to compare myself to the crafty moms I see all over the blogosphere, the Lord will remind me that he made me unique. I should not hold myself up to another mom for comparison. Inspiration, perhaps, but not as a measuring stick. I may not be artsy, but I love to get my hands dirty in the garden. I enjoy cooking. I love to read and learn and ask questions and solve problems and talk about life and politics and science and God and history and food and sports. Now, whenever I start to worry that my girls are missing out on something by not having craft time every day, I just look at all the things I CAN teach them. And I have a feeling that if I am teaching out of a passion inside me then they will learn far more than if I am trying to be someone I’m not.
My oldest two girls have both learned the alphabet by 18 months and all the letter sounds well before age two, so do I really need to do a letter of the week activity every day with noodles or shaving cream in a ziploc bag? My oldest started reading short words at 3.5 years old and can write many words completely on her own. Clearly God has enabled her to learn even *despite* my lack of craftiness. When he made me the mother of our girls, he knew what he was doing. My strengths are what they are for a reason, and the same is true for my weaknesses.