Mom guilt is real.
Especially in the age of picture perfect social media – from Pinterest to Facebook to Instagram and beyond… how can I possibly keep up with Karen or Allison or Robin? How can I possibly be a good mom when I’m not doing that? (Whatever that is, anyway.)
And that mom guilt weighs heavily on my conscience when they bring me their handcrafted little treasures.
My kids bring me (what seems like) hundreds of pictures every day… scribbled stick figures, pages ripped out of coloring books, printer paper covered in stickers. I keep some, to be sure, but how many do I need to keep to be a good mom? And how do I decide which ones are keepers and which need to be smuggled out of the house so feelings don’t get hurt?
If I kept all of them, I’m pretty sure I’d be featured on Hoarders. Thanks, but no.
So how do I decide?
I consider three things:
1. How long did it take them to make it?
If they literally took five seconds to scribble on a paper before giving it to me, that sucker is hitting the trash without looking back. If it’s something they spent a considerable amount of time on? Yeah, I’m going to keep it.
2. Have they made something like this before?
The first stick figure my daughter drew is carefully tucked into her birthday book, as is my son’s first “truck”. I love to catalog their accomplishments and milestones, no matter how small. That 72nd stick figure that’s drawn on a post-it note is just not a keeper.
3. Will I miss it if it’s gone?
I’m a logical person. I follow rules and procedures, not my emotions, a majority of the time. This is an exception to that. Is the creation they’ve brought me a treasure? Is it something that gives me joy to see? If the answer is yes, then it’s one to hang on to.
The bottom line is that there isn’t a right number – it’s up to you. Our toddlers aren’t going to remember the Emperor Penguin chicks coloring page when they’re 18 and graduating high school. What they’ll remember is you sitting down to color with them, the times mom squeezed them tight and wiped away their tears, and the feeling of joy they had when they made you smile.