The little things

I have noticed during my time on the internet that blogging about being a mom tends to swing back and forth between two extremes. Either we work hard to reassure ourselves that we are alright as we are, that we are doing plenty for our children, and that it's perfectly fine to be "lazy". The other extreme is the ideal of perfection--that moms should work hard to provide decorated homes, nutritious meals, cute clothes, inspired teaching, and a variety of other things for their kids. I have pretty much always fallen on the "lazy mom" side, and have even caught myself feeling judgemental of those who expend extra effort on their children. I think where I'm at right now is trying to find some balance somewhere in the middle. Kids like the little things; they like stuff like fun invitations to parties, cakes shaped like buses, and nicely wrapped gifts. Doing things for others is a way to show that you care about them. I think the problem comes in when we do things just for the sake of appearances or when we spend time and effort on things that aren't important to our children. Or when we do so much for our children that we either have no time for ourselves or we fail to teach them independence. Balance is a tricky thing, but for me I'm realizing that I can spend time doing special things for my kids and it really does make them happier. Sure I'm not "perfect" and I'm even a bit lazy at times. I think along with balance comes the ability to find our own voice as a mom. I like to cook, so decorated cakes and nice meals come easily to me. Stuff like folding origami boats isn't as simple, but I found that it took less than an hour of my time. The boats are the invitations to S-Boogie's goodbye party; I printed off a little paper with the party information and stuck it inside. The cake was for Little Dude's birthday yesterday. It really wasn't too hard actually, especially since I've had some practice with decorating before. And it was worth it to see his eyes light up and to hear him say "bus cake" all afternoon.


Jenny said…
Those boats are amazing! I think I would want to frame that invitation if it came my way. Love the bus cake also.
Gina said…
My husband is the oldest of eight kids born in twelve years. His mom was a busy woman to say the least. I am impressed he has any photos at all of his childhood, although there are not a lot. There is a picture of every single year's birthday cake, however, each very thoughtful and relevant and complicated. A computer, a robot, a teddy bear, whatever he was into that year. His mom was good at making cakes and it meant a lot to all the kids that she did that for them.

I think we need to trust that if we try to give our kids what we can (be it special birthday cakes or a love of music or poetry or art or the outdoors or whatever) they will appreciate it and it counts for something. It can be hard to trust that, however, because there are so many things that we cannot give them or that do not come naturally to us because we're all so different as people and therefore as mothers.

I think the cake and invitations look awesome.
Desmama said…
Very astute observations. The invitations are darling and the bus cake looks clever. I'm glad he liked it.
Lindsay said…
That balance between over-doing it and being lazy is exactly what I'm constantly striving for because, really, the balance is nice. I just occasionally have to remind myself that it's not human (or sane) to try to do it all, so I just try to do some. And some seems to be enough.

Also, I'm with the above: the cake and invites are both darling!
I always flaunt it when I got it because usually I just don't got it.

I know what you mean, though about doing it for the appearance. In those cases I think the kid misses out on a lot of lovin'.

There was one year when I was Martha Stewart about my kids' B-days, but the only reason was because we were very very very very poor and I HAD to make everything from scratch. I didn't want my kids to feel poor or lacking. It was fun but I won't do it like that again unless we are just as poor.

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