With the boom of mommy bloggers and the creation of Pinterest, it is easy as moms to feel inferior. We are always one click away from what we perceive to be the embodiment of perfection: plenty of perfectly cooked and presented meals; a mom who seems to have house organization and cleanliness down to a science; children who are constantly entertained with the greatest new activity. I think it is easy to feel like you are somehow deficient when you compare yourself to others standards. What we see on blogs is not the whole story. That mom who is awesome in the kitchen may not have the tidiest house. For every good result they get, there are probably several that did not turn out. The biggest drawback I think that can sometimes occur when we visit blogs is that we feel like we have to do something or we should be doing something or it reflects on us as a mom. This is simply not true…we should only do the things we want to do and do them for no other reason then they make us and our family happy and better off.
With that said, I have a confession to make. I am an imposter. A phony, a fake. My confession is this: I, Brittany the blogger, am not a creative or crafty person. Why then does someone who is not crafty run a children’s activities blog in which crafty and creative go hand in hand? Great question; it is one I ask myself all the time.
I come from a family of creative people. My mom, in another life, is probably Mrs. Martha Stewart herself. That talent to create and make it look fabulous just comes naturally to her. For me, I have never had a gift in anything creative and, to be frank, never had an interest as well. That is until I had my daughter. When I had her and was surrounded by all the darling things that one can make for little girls (hair bows, tutus, leggings etc.), I was constantly asking myself why had I never bothered to learn to sew. I just kept telling myself that it just wasn’t me; I wasn’t one of those artsy crafty kinda people. Then the awesomeness that is Pinterest happened and I was exposed to something wonderful and intimidating all at the same time: the world of children’s activities. Wow, how these people were so creative! I want to be like them!
When I envisioned myself as a mother- I had a long time to envision since we had some difficulty getting pregnant- I knew I wanted to be a hands-on and “fun mom”. Don’t get me wrong, when it counts I know I need to be the parent but I want to laugh, play, and grow right along side my children.
So there I was browsing Pinterest when my daughter was 7 months old and I came across sweet potato finger painting. “Brilliant!” I thought and I happened to have a fresh batch of homemade sweet potato puree and so we set out to play. It was a disaster and huge success all in one. She had an absolute blast while making a complete mess. I mean sweet potato everywhere. All over her, her highchair and the floor! The mess freaked me out and it took me a few more months to try some new ideas.
When my daughter turned 1, I decided to go back to school to finish up my bachelors degree in family and consumer sciences. One of the classes I took was an early education course. In it we learned about the importance of play as a means of learning in early childhood. It turned on a lightbulb in my head; you mean that whole messy sweet potato thing was really a great educational experience for her? It made me think of play in a whole new way. I was determined to provide my daughter with as many hands-on experiences as possible.
This is how the blog started. Well that was 5 months ago and now my daughter is 17 months old. The children’s activities blogosphere is filled with such creative and talented people, many of who I have had the honor to get to know and have helped me in a tremendous way. Through this journey though, I have had to do a lot of self reflecting. I may not have a natural inkling for craftiness but you know what? I can try. Just like I want to encourage my daughter to try different things and cultivate talents, even ones that she may not have a natural advantage, I too need to take that advice.
There are days when I fail miserably. One example is my Flannel Board Pumpkins. My mom (AKA Martha Stewart) cut these perfectly shaped pumpkins and pumpkin faces out. I tried later to make some more and here is how the jack o’ lantern mouth came out.
All I can do is laugh and blame it on the scissors; they were just not sharp enough.
Another example is my Emotions Board Book. In my head this was going to turn out oh-so cute. If my mom had made it, it would have been so darling that people would probably want to pay money to get one of their own. I was determined to do it on my own though. I think from far away it looks okay but up close the scrap paper lines are uneven and jagged. The labels are all different sizes. You get the picture…
The point to this confession is this: I am not perfect. I am not naturally gifted in crafting or creative things and that is okay. I try and continue to do it because I want to. For me and my daughter, I feel this is what I want for her childhood. Some days it may make me feel inferior and I doubt myself but I have come to realize that I don’t need to compare myself to others. These activities are not about the end project or result, but rather it is about the experience. I am just doing the best I can and when I see the smile on my daughter’s face or her eyes light up at the sight of a new activity, it makes it all worth it.
My hope is, as moms, we stop comparing ourselves with others and just do things that make us and our children happy. Making a homemade Halloween costume not your thing? There is nothing wrong with that! That does not make you less of a mom. That may not be your thing but maybe you can whip up an amazing batch of cookies! Only do the things that you want to do and that make you feel good. The activities I post about are things I hope will inspire other moms and will provide a bonding experience for them and their child. There may be things on this blog that are not for you. That is okay! Even if you find one thing that brings joy in your child’s life and is something you feel good about, then I will be happy!
I just want to thank all of you on joining me on this adventure. It means so much to me that anyone bothers to read this thing. I really do hope to inspire other moms (yes, even you non-crafty moms!) with simple and fun activities that will make your child’s childhood just a little bit brighter. Let’s love, play, and learn together!