Have you ever looked forward to doing a craft project with your kids? Are you familiar with that feeling of anticipation in the air?
Part of the fun of craft projects is coming up with an idea, gathering your materials and waiting for that moment when you have actually have time to get stuck into it.
And then it all falls apart. Spectacularly. You wonder why you bothered in the first place. Did anyone even have fun?
To outsiders it might look like blogging moms are the most fun parents in the universe. “Look at all the cool things they do with their kids!” Well, let me share with you a behind the scenes story of how that most definitely wasn’t the case at our house last week.
This one goes out to all the moms who try so very hard, each and every day, only to have it all blow up in our face at times.
Dear moms, you are not alone!
Who’s Craft Project is it anyway?
Let me start at the beginning.
And a year is a long time to come up with ideas for how to give this little run down garage a make over …
Let me clarify that it’s me who has been doing the thinking and contemplating. My kids have just been playing and probably never gave it a second thought that their ‘new’ garage was the ugliest one known to mankind.
I on the other hand, was drawing up new logo ideas, considering colour schemes and so on. This project would be epic. A highly successful makeover. It would look great on the blog and people all over the world would be inspired.
Man, I was excited. It was going to be awesome.
Fast forward to the day that I finally got my act together (I have been really struggling to stay awake and be organised in any kind of way throughout this pregnancy):
Noa is terribly excited about getting to paint the garage. Her little brother is out for the morning, so it’s just the two of us.
Due to my tiredness and general ‘not feeling well’ over the past months, we don’t get to do as many activities together as we used to. So this is a big deal, for both of us. We have been looking forward to spending some quality time together, doing what we both like doing: creating.
We decide to give the garage a quick clean and sand down before we put our base coat of paint on.
So far so good.
Noa is pretty happy about working with the ‘real paint’ (we are using left over wall paint because we are renovating and have it lying around) and the ‘real painting materials’ like the roller.
No way her two year old brother would have been allowed anywhere near that paint so that’s a win in Noa’s book any day!
We ended up putting two layers on. It took all morning with drying time in between.
When little Tom was taking a nap that afternoon, Noa got started painting the outside.
There was talk about flowers and trees and drawings of fairies. She had picked out a name for the garage.
Noa loves to draw and has created the most amazing (to me!) scenes in the past so I was positive she was planning on transforming the garage into a magical vehicle workshop.
I got completely caught off guard when I saw Noa randomly splashing paint all over the place like a two year old.
It was obvious that she had a ‘process art’ kind of project in mind, which completely clashed with the gorgeous plans I had for my garage.
In itself no big deal. But here’s where it all went horribly wrong: I opened my mouth.
“What are you doing?” I stupidly ask.
“Uhmm, I’m making our garage all pretty mum, do you like it?”
As perceptive as my 5 year old daughter is, she noticed the look of horror on my face.
I managed to make it even worse by asking what happened to our plans to decorate it with flowers.
“I did my best mummy.” Can you hear that? That’s my heart breaking.
And just like that it was all over.
Noa was desperately trying to please me by quickly painting some flowers. While I went to hide in the pantry to slap myself silly.
Too little too late.
After a few minutes of wiping my own tears (I’m heavily pregnant and an hormonal mess!) and giving myself a stern talking to (it’s not about you, it’s about your child having fun, about both of us enjoying this together!) I decided I had to try and salvage the moment.
I apologised. I told Noa how I had expected something different and was a little (!) surprised by her art. I took the time to sit down and ask her to tell me about what she painted. I acknowledged her creativity.
I suggested she and her brother could both finish the other half together when he woke up. They both ended up having some fun going all out with the paint together.
So I hope we managed to end on a positive note anyway.
How I Ruined my Kids Craft Project
That’s what the title of this post should be.
I managed to get caught up in my own need for a project. (How may of you can relate!?)
Being a busy mom of two while growing another baby takes up all of my time and energy. And when we’re busy we can lose track of what is really important in life: it’s the little things, the ‘want for nothing’ moments.
The only thing my girl wanted that day is spend some time with her mommy and all I had on my mind was giving that garage an award winning make-over.
I knocked the wind right out of her sails. And it hurt her. My 2 year old son couldn’t have cared less about my artistic opinions. But not my sweet little girl, who is able to pick up on the slightest shift in my emotional state from a mile away.
I let her down. And I let myself down.
It happens more than I care to admit. And in my fragile hormonal state I need to work twice as hard to not let my emotions control me.
Even when not pregnant, life with little ones can be so darn overwhelming. When you have reached your limit of “shit I can deal with in one day” it’s easy to overreact, raise your voice and say things you wish you could take back.
It happens to all of us.
The good thing is that my kids know I love them. And your kids love you.
I should really name this post “I ruined my kids’ craft project, and they handled it well” instead of “my kids ruined my craft project and I didn’t handle it well”.
Because kids are a forgiving bunch. Bless their precious big hearts.
Making the most from your Craft Project
After all was said and done, we just made the most of it. As you can see from the images, it turned out ok in the end.
We decided to set up a little garage small world. It has some parking spaces on top and a workshop downstairs. Have a good look on the images and you’ll notice some sweet little details like the office space (with couch and refreshments) and car repair area.
This garage could totally be a real one in some dodgy part of an already shady town. The ‘graffiti’ gives it a certain ‘urban cool’ edge if you want. Right?
But most importantly, the kids had fun.
And I, having recovered from my mommy meltdown, have learned to let go.
There you have it. Keeping it real for you today.
If you can relate and have recently had one of those days, know that you are not alone. Not by a long shot! Hang in there momma. Know that you are doing an amazing job even if it doesn’t feel like it today. And know that your children love you, all of you.
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