Confessions of a working mother…
I know I can’t be the only parent who dreads the looming Valentine’s Day card exchange. You are given a class list and one week to make a stack of valentines for your child’s class. And while a week seems like ample time, it is just enough time to make you feel like it is ample.
For some reason, year after year, I find myself scrambling with a full workload, social commitments, a messy house, a list of chores and about 48 hours to come up with something. Some wonderfully creative pieces of art for my child to proudly distribute to his friends, his not-friends, his “I-don’t-know-who-that-is” friends. His teacher, his substitute teacher, the educational assistant, the principal, his cousins (whom we may not even see in February), and anyone else my child can think of at the moment, also need a valentine.
Don’t get me wrong…I know it’s important. After all, it is our way of carrying on the long-standing Christian tradition of the Feast of Saint Valentine. Oh, wait, none of us actually know this tradition, nor do our children, nor are we feasting! We carry it on as a symbol of love and showing that we care for others.
So, for parents who find themselves in the same predicament as I find myself in, I suggest taking the following steps:
Step 1: Using Google, type in such search phrases as:
“Last minute homemade Valentine’s Day ideas” or “quick and easy Valentine’s Day cards with common household items”. This will generate an astounding number of gorgeous, awe-inspiring pieces of art. None of which are quick, easy, or include anything you might have on hand – you’ve been warned.
Step 2: After perusing several images, pick out a couple you think are “possible” to make with your child. I suggest narrowing it down to two (it is important to have a backup for when your child realizes that their “love bug” looks nothing like the inspirational image printed out beside them).
Step 3: Once you’ve decided on your art project, make a list and head to the store immediately for the necessary supplies. While waiting in the check-out line, DO NOT get sucked into the quick, easy, timesaving pre-made valentines sitting by the till. Just because you are an overloaded, full-time working parent DOES NOT mean you do not have time for meaningful one-on-one time with your child. Your career will not interfere with you being an amazing parent!
Step 4: Return home with the necessary items and immediately prepare your workstation.
Note: it is also smart to be prepared with a new and creative bribe for when your child’s interest in this project wanes. Have you ever made a Shirley Temple?
Step 5: Begin crafting. This step is important, as you seriously don’t have much time left at this point.
Warning! Once engaged, the following may occur:
- You remember how much you love crafting and wonder why you haven’t been doing this every Sunday since birth.
- You see the amazed look on your child’s face when they see that their parent has figured out how to make swirl art out of shaving cream!
- After going through every friend, enemy, crush, staff member, hot lunch volunteer, and janitor you might get some insight into your child’s school.
- You will have a conversation about LOVE. What love means to you and your child and your family.
- You may feel like even though you are an overwhelmed, working parent you are not failing terribly as a parent.
- You will finish on time with a stack of beautiful, creative valentines that your child is so very PROUD to bring to school on Valentine’s Day. They may also reek of Gillette shaving cream, however.
Please note: You won’t actually start crafting every Sunday, but the experience will leave you with such a warm memory that you will no doubt endure the same torture every February for the entirety of your child’s elementary school career.
You’ve been warned. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Community Literacy Outreach Coordinator – Slocan Valley
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy