Cupcakes get eaten, memories don’t
Some moms prefer to make memories than bake treats for their kids cake sales, says Cath Jenkin.
I’ll confess this outright – I am not an arts and crafts mom. Every item I plant in the garden dies by the time I turn around to get the watering can. I do not keep a handy stack of newspapers in the kitchen for surprise school projects. Once a year, I’ll sew an outfit for dress-up day (and even then, it usually catches me by surprise and I end up scrambling around the floor looking for my sanity.

I don’t bake well, either. Give me a dinner to cook and I can pretty much make it edible. But, baking for a school cake sale? Yeah, I’m the mom who sends a box of biscuits and a hastily scribbled apology note for a lack of creativity in the kitchen.

Nothing brought this home more to me than yesterday afternoon. My daughter had a little gap in her afternoon and, instead of heading off to her bookshelf or turning on the television, she opted for a handicraft project. Scuttling through our supplies, I came across an item that quite clearly said “It’s easier than you ever imagined!” (I should have known I would find this statement terribly ironic by the end of the afternoon).

Now, when any kind of arts and crafts product says that, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and think to myself that perhaps these things would not stress me out as much if I’d actually listened in Home Economics class, rather than scribbling down poetry into my notebook. When we opened the box, there was no instruction manual. “No Fear!”, I said, as we calmly turned to my computer and begged our friendly Google to serve up some nifty little guidelines. We found them, indeed. In fact, we found an instructional YouTube video, a handy step-by-step guide and even a website that stated: “this is so easy, your three year old could do it”.

After watching the instructional video, numerous times, reading the guidelines and contemplating finding a friend with a 3-year old test out that website’s theory…I gave up. Two hours after opening the box, we decided to turn our seemingly impossible handicraft project into something we definitely knew how to do – beading! Stringing multi-coloured beads together is something I can do!

It got me thinking though. Growing up, my mom made many of our clothes. There was a home-cooked meal on the table every night and – heck – she was a working mom. I think I first became aware of takeaways some time after the age of ten. I could blame a lot of things for this change in home life – we’re busier than our parents used to be, convenience comes first in modern life and we have more choices than our moms did.

But I’m not here to blame or find the cause of this change. I’m here to say that I am okay with not being the mom who stays up until 2am handcrafting cupcakes for the school bake sale. I am okay with being completely inept at creating an outfit on a whim and I am completely okay if someone thinks I am a “lazy mom”.

I don’t see it as laziness. I would just prefer to spend the quality time I have with my kid, not hunched over honing a craft I think I’m quite crap at, but rather doing the things I am good at. I can tell a good story, I can teach her about how to level up in favourite game and I can definitely read a Roald Dahl novel with her.

I see myself as being able to intelligently apply the available time in my life to the things that matter to us – and I promise you, cupcakes get eaten, memories don’t.

Read more by Cath Jenkin

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