When I decided to leave office work and stay home with my children, I imagined we would do lots of crafts. Of course, in my perfect mom fantasy world, I imagined the crafts would all be linked to various themes I would establish depending on the season, month, holiday, etc. Go ahead, laugh. That is exactly what my friends did when I admitted to them this past August that I had failed at developing a summer curriculum for my pre-schooler that would include a “letter of the week” and corresponding crafts. It’s a good thing they laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I laughed, too, and it made me realize that sometimes I can be a bit ridiculous by setting the motherhood bar a bit too high for myself. Not to mention the fact that I have not historically been a craftsy-type person, so this summer curriculum idea must have been fostered by too much time on Pinterest looking at all the amazing things that real crafty folks pin and re-pin.
This is certainly a much larger topic than I can do justice to in a blog post, but it strikes me how difficult it is for many moms (myself included) to dial back the pressure they create for themselves to be, or at least compare themselves to, the “perfect mom”. Who is this perfect mom that we too often put on a pedestal? I mean, really, if I stop and honestly think about it, I don’t know any mom (or any person, for that matter) that has every aspect of her life in perfect order. But as much as I know that, it is still hard to resist the feeling that somehow you’re not doing enough or doing it well enough. You see the child at the park with perfect diction and a perfectly coiffed mother, and you start that dangerous internal monologue, “I let my son watch three episodes of [fill in the blank] yesterday, and he still mixes up his pronouns, and I’m not sure he brushed his teeth this morning, omg so he’ll probably never go to college, and I haven’t really showered, like the kind where you actually wash and condition your hair, in three days, and…..” Or someone innocently asks if your child has reached a certain developmental milestone and then you find yourself wondering if your child is early or late to develop and googling the heck out of the topic.
I realize, too, that the concern and the comparisons are borne out of the desire to provide the very best for your child. And, unfortunately, the fact that too often moms are tagged with responsibility for this category of “stuff” and likewise blamed if something does fall through the cracks. So a reminder to myself: the perfect mom is the one who loves her children and makes them feel loved and special. Sometimes crankiness and yelling finds its way into the mix; heck, we’re only human. But, letters/colors/themes of the week and corresponding crafts are not mandatory.
All of that being said… I suppose I can feel pretty smug today because WE ACTUALLY HAD CRAFT TIME TODAY! Oh yeah, who is looking like a perfect mom now? Kidding!!! I really can’t take much credit, other than making sure we had the appropriate supplies on hand, because the idea came directly from Ruffles And Stuff.
Are you familiar with Disney and her website Ruffles And Stuff? It’s a wonderfully fun and whimsical site that features her craftiness in a sincere, unassuming manner. She shares generously with great tutorials and pictures, too. When she recently posted this tutorial involving pumpkins, paint, glue, and glitter, I knew we were in for some fun.
And fun it was. My daughter went down for her afternoon nap (so thankful she still takes two naps a day!), and my three-year-old and I got down to business. Once the kitchen table was adequately covered in newspaper, sleeves were rolled up and smocks were donned, out came the paint and the pumpkins. I had made the mistake of telling him about our pumpkin painting plans earlier in the morning, so I’d been peppered with requests to paint for hours.
This is an easy and fun project, and it pays big dividends with all the shine and glitter. We used acrylic paints that I picked up at Joann; a gold metallic and a coppery metallic paint. We also used (okay, so really, I selfishly hogged and used) glitter glue in gold. I never knew such a thing existed but have become quickly addicted. What an easy way to add some bling to crafts or anything. I’m sensing I may enter into a glitter overload phase soon – thankfully I bought only the small bottle.
We used mini pumpkins both because I was dealing with three-year-old hands and because I admit to loving their miniature cuteness. Every year I’m a sucker for the mini pumpkins, even though I know that on a pound for pound basis they are a complete rip-off! This project would completely work with larger pumpkins since they’d provide an even better and more versatile canvas. There is really an opportunity to get creative here.
I initially had high hopes of getting really fancy with our pumpkins, just like Disney made some polka-dot magic in her tutorial. But I quickly sensed that if I tried to direct my son too much, he was not going to play along. He was happy as a clam smearing the pumpkins with shiny paint. And I have to admit I like his pumpkins better, the way the natural orange peeks through the spots he missed and contrasts with the metallic sheen of the paint. Although, I do love the glittery bling on my pumpkins, too. Even without special effects or intentional designs, the pumpkins look really special with a simple coat of metallic paint; it gives them an appropriate Halloween glow.
My son loved this project. He was so enthused and enthralled by it that I was wishing I had a dozen more pumpkins. We have a pumpkin-picking date with my parents in a few days, so perhaps he’ll get a second round with the paintbrush soon.