With a few young ones running around varying classrooms, I’ve seen my fair share of Valentine’s Day Mom-petions. You know, where mothers try (probably inadvertently) to out mom each other, all in the name of making sure their children have great gifts to pass out for special occasions. It happens every Christmas, but it’s especially bad on Valentine’s Day.
Myself, well, I grew up with a mother who thought going to the grocery store and snagging a box of perforated cards (all I had to do was write the recipient’s name and my own) was THE pinnacle of Valentine’s Day gifts. I never told her about the kids whose mothers let them give out mini-boxes of Smarties or Nerds. . . Probably because she didn’t let me eat candy, and would have confiscated them immediately. But I digress.
So hey, Pinterest. I see you. Sitting there showing the world how awesome things could REALLY be if we just tried a little harder. On our make up, on our homes, on our yards, on our outfit selections, oh…. And on our children’s Valentine’s Day gifts.
As a Mompreneur and not really into Mom-petion, I did exactly what my mom did. I drove past the grocery store on the way home, wheeled a U-turn (I had forgotten all about Valentine’s Day), and ran in to grab the traditional, perforated cards. Only this time, I thought I had won the lottery. I found perforated cards THAT TURNED INTO MONSTER SUNGLASSES. Genius! Brilliant! All of my kids will love giving these out as opposed to the sub-par notes of past. After all, they all attend schools that have so many restrictions (no GMOs, no peanuts, no sugar, no red-dye), cards are pretty much the safest bet. At least from a legal standpoint.
And then as we all went through their Valentine’s Day bags, I realized my huge fail.
Mini-package upon mini-package was filled with playdough, slinkies, sparkles, stickers, bracelets, hair bows, and even those little games you get from vending machines. And, of course, each bag was lovingly filled then tied perfectly by a mother who undoubtedly got her inspiration from Pinterest. Heck, half the contents were homemade, anyway. (I’m looking at you, homemade playdough, and especially you, handmade hair bow with my daughter’s monogram on it.)
Thankfully, my children are either too young or too confident enough (or perhaps too self-absorbed with what they are getting vs. what they gave) to notice that their cards weren’t, as I thought, the bee’s knees. Fortunately, they apparently didn’t feel the abject humiliation I felt. . . “Those moms are TOTALLY going to judge me for this!” I kept telling myself.
Later that evening, two of my other working-mom friends texted me and said the following:
Mom 1: “Hey, digging through X’s V-Day bag. Love the old school card. Thanks for keeping it real and not going all Pinterest-y on us. I was up all night putting ours together and I am super resentful that I did all that! Next year I’m copying you.”
Mom 2: “So glad that we were the moms who used the old-school cards! Just say no to Pinterest Pressure!”
I appreciated both sentiments tremendously.
I’m no Pinterest mother. I can barely get creative with what goes into lunch boxes and making sure the socks on each foot are the same height. And that the right child is wearing the right pants, since they share closets.
I applaud the Pinterest moms out there. Those moms who, as a labor of love, stay up all night and lovingly assemble a beautiful bounty for Valentine’s Day gifts. But you know what? I also applaud the working mom who is lucky she gets herself and her children a.) out of the house and b.) to the right schools and c.) on time. Plus D.) While remembering her work bag.
The truest meaning of Valentine’s Day isn’t measured by the perfectly bundled boxes of joy the kids come home with, though they surely do love that. What I tell mine is that the greatest gift you’ll ever get on Valentine’s Day is the gift to love someone else, and to let them love you in return (no Pinterest projects necessary).