Every season a new crop of creative kiddie crafts are ready for display in your home—a home you have painstakingly painted, furnished and decorated to reflect a certain style. A style which, I’m sure, doesn’t generally include construction paper or cotton balls. What’s a stylish and caring mom to do?
You’re under a moral obligation to display anything your child gifts to you. You’d think they owe you considering they wouldn’t be here without you and yet we bend over backward for our little miracles. Unfortunately—I think we can be honest with each other here—most of the creations your progeny gifts to you will be hideous. Obviously, you won’t be using a picture of your kid with this artwork for the front of your holiday cards, unless of course they’ve done something to warrant perpetual historical embarrassment.
Your advantage in this situation is controlling where and how to display the evidence of your child’s battle to master basic motor skills. So read on, fellow fashionable mamas for an easy step by step guide to guiltless management of your home gallery.
Step One: Real Estate
Establish a limited display area. Choose someplace in the house that you don’t mind showing to guests when people pop by but isn’t in a formal entertaining area. If you have a playroom on the main floor, that’s ideal. For flat kid’s artwork, a series of clips on the wall are perfect. Melissa at sippy cup mom compiled ideas from Pinterest so you don’t have to. For more three dimensional items it would be wise to also have a shelf available.
Step Two: Establish a Status Quo
Teach the kids about how everything has a place, and there’s a place for everything. Offer them the display area you’ve so painstakingly created for them and a limited archive area. Once you’ve established this as the status quo, you’ll have to hold up your end of the bargain on the whole “putting things away” front. Otherwise, as kids are wont to do, you will get called out on your hypocrisy.
Let them choose which of their masterpieces are on display, what to archive and what to toss. Take digital pics of anything and everything, if you’re so inclined, since they take up very little space.
Step Three: Feelings and Stuff
Praise your child’s creativity and efforts without giving them a big head. If they are clever enough, teach them that every project makes them a better artist and not every final product is worthy of the Louvre. Tread lightly here, you don’t want to be paying for your child’s therapy for the rest of your life.
If you want to make them feel really special and have something to taunt them with when they bring their first boyfriend home make a coffee table book with the archive images. It’s so easy to upload the images, crop them and lay them out with a simple web interface. They’re also great gifts for grandparents who like that kind of thing (not all of them do) or for people who don’t like that sort of thing but would have to pretend to like it (if you’re interested in being passive aggressive this holiday season).
About the Author: Elizabeth Kennedy studied creative writing in college and is working on a book of poetry. She is a stay-at-home and real housewife of New Jersey.