A Handmade from Walmart Valentine’s Day

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So, you didn’t have time to get all of your Conversation Hearts in a row for Valentine’s Day.  Instead of sending your kid to school with these cupcakes baked from scratch in your own kitchen with that no GMO, no MSG, gluten-free, yellow dye #5 free, peanut-free recipe with the tiny fondant bears…

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…you sent her to school with candy bags full of high fructose corn syrup and pixie sticks.

You also didn’t find the time to research Pinterest for this handmade Valentine’s Day box for your sweetheart to place on the end of her desk.

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Instead, you sat your child down at the kitchen table after school with an old shoe box, old wrapping paper, some markers, and a sheet of stickers before folding the laundry and loading the dishwasher.

You also didn’t hand-make your child’s Valentine’s Day cards on earth-friendly, 100% recycled paper that were printed with a cleaver little poem you wrote all by yourself with a little bag of organic fruit snacks attached that you purchased at Trader Joes.

“Roses are red,

violets are blue,

this Valentines Day

is as sweet as you!”

Instead, your child went to school with Spongebob valentines purchased at Walmart that he clumsily tore along perforated lines before pouring over which printed phrase would best suit each of his classmates.  Of course, he hand picked these valentines in the seasonal aisle at Walmart out of rows upon rows of selections that obviously took an entire rainforest to manufacture.

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The Spongebob valentines were the most alluring to him because they came with temporary tattoos that were inserted into little precut slots on each valentine!  Never mind that temporary tattoos can cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, and we won’t even mention the nail polish remover fumes the child must breath in while removing the tattoo before church on Sunday.  We also won’t mention that he will then pick at the dusting of glue that remains stuck to his arm hairs for the next week or so.  God forbid he should pick a spot raw, thus exposing him to MRSA.

No worries mommies, and let me tell you why!

Valentine’s Day comes once a year.  We all remember our Valentine’s parties.  Our parents sent us to school with an old shoebox from the hall closet, or handed us an empty tissue box.  We would have a block scheduled in class to then wrap these boxes in construction or wrapping paper, adorn them with stickers, and further decorate them with markers and crayons.  They were FANTASTIC – our very own mailboxes that displayed our artistic creativity.  At the end of the day, we would be having a Valentine’s Day party, during which each of our classmates would drop valentines for us to take home.  They would be filled with cheesy elementary school pick-up lines.  We would find excitement in opening up the Barbie valentine with a red sucker attached that read ‘You’re sweet, Valentine!’  Then there was the Smurf valentine with a sticker inside that read ‘I’m stuck on you, Valentine!’

There was always the boy or girl in class we had an elementary crush on.  We always hoped he or she had given us something very special, perhaps one of the five cards in his collection of Batman valentines that read something clearly suggestive of interest.

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Then there was the party itself.  Your mother would not have approved, but that was okay because she wasn’t there to watch you turning into a sugar-induced bafoon, which you would later sleep off before she fed you a dinner the American Academy of Pediatrics would approve of.   There were cookies and cupcakes in plastic containers from the local grocery store served alongside a bag of cheetos or potato chips.  You had the choice between grape or orange soda, or the Big Red soda that tasted like bubble gum.

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No worries, mommy!  Even if you didn’t spend five hours and 14 cups of Starbucks coffee preparing for Valentine’s Day…even if you didn’t hand make a Valentine’s Day box while your child played Grand Theft Auto…even if your child made their own box and needed two bandaids when he cut his finger jamming the end of his scissors through the box lid…even if you had to buy a box of bakery cookies from Walmart…even if you had 20 minutes to throw together bags of candy for each child, but you forgot that Phoenix and Sunshine don’t eat gluten and Jayson doesn’t eat yellow dye #5 and McKendrie doesn’t eat anything other than organic 60% cacao chocolate…even if you didn’t have time to hand make Valentine’s Day cards with organic treats attached while your child watched HBO unattended for 5 hours…

YOU’RE STILL A GREAT MOM!!!

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And do you want to know why?

The moms with kids who don’t eat certain things are okay going through their kid’s treat bags to remove belly-aching foods.  The moms who stayed up for hours hand making their Valentine’s Day cards, treats, and boxes probably will not notice with negativity that your Valentine’s Day presentation was not only store bought, but the hodgepodge of stickers and drawings decorating your child’s Valentine’s Day box is well-loved because it was made with your child’s own two hands.

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The moms that spent generous hours of preparation on Valentine’s Day no doubt put a lot of love and tenderness into it, but they also envy your freedom in admitting that, although your Valentine’s Day was thrown in between dance classes and dinner, it still signifies that you indeed love your child just as much as they do because your child is happy and appreciative of everything you do.  The only difference between you and the other mom is that you got much more sleep the night before.

God bless your Handmade from Walmart Valentine’s Day!

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I’m the CTO of this Establishment!

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This is me.  I’m not very important at all.  As a matter of fact, I’m so very unimportant in the grand scheme of very important things.  I’m a stay-at-home mom…a housewife…a domestic goddess

Actually, I am none of those things.  Realistically, I fit into none of those titles, therefore, I am renaming my occupation.  I shall from this day forth earnestly refer to my position as the Chief Tribe Officer of this establishment.  Because, let’s face it, I pretty much keep tidy to the best of my ability the rearing of a whole new generation of people who will grow up, become members of society, procreate, and hopefully bring joy into the world with their super powers of awesomeness…or at least not get into any serious trouble.  Lets face it, this whole raisin’ of the kids thing can go one of two ways.  They can become incredibly productive, but there is also the real possibility that they will suffer from any number of chronic dibilitating mental illnesses from the result of what they will consider a wayward upbringing.  I guess it will all be worthwhile if they decide to write a successful novel about it some day that is rewarded with an endearing Oprah’s Book Club sticker.  It will be coming to Target bookshelves everywhere around 2034.  (In all seriousness, my 10-year-old has already started writing short stories, so the thought that she will some day be able to successfully articulate my shortcomings in her writing has crossed my mind, but either way I have vowed to love her dearly.)

I not only don’t go to business dinners like every other grown up on the face of the planet seems to do, I also don’t wear fancy high heeled shoes like it seems one should do after the age of thirty, and I am completely comfortable going to the grocery store sans make up (at least I consider myself above wearing yoga pants beyond the mailbox).  In hindsight, I can make a mean peanut butter and honey sandwich, don a pair of converse sneakers like a boss, and have mastered the art of wearing a baby while cleaning the toilet, listening to NPR, and having someone throwing a tantrum at my feet…all at the same time.  (And I’m certain the entire time I had a smile on my face and thought of it all as a blessing directly from God that fell upon me from the heavens above.  Either that, or I dreamed that I was actually a very successful doctor volunteering my time in a clinic in a poor country and that these really weren’t my children at all.  After all, I never had time outside of my years of admirable studying toward my doctorate degree and developing my career to get hitched and produce offspring of my own.)

As if my life  doesn’t already sound sophisticated enough, I get the privilege of driving around town in a sporty, earth-friendly, solar powered car in a gas-guzzling vehicle that could double as a trash barge or an oversized toy box, the cabin filled with the loud busyness comparable to a traveling circus.  (But, hey, at least we were able to listen to Bob Dylan, even if we had to listen to “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by request on demand over and over again until it became as mundane as the ABC song, and even a little eerie considering that the 4-year-old knew all of the lyrics.)

A good day for me is my favorite pair of jeans being clean and not a gigantic amount of drama, which is nearly impossible in a house with three little girls, a 90 pound golden retriever who eats EVERYTHING, and a husband who is pretty interesting to talk to until he starts rambling off IT jargon that makes my eyes roll back into my head and sends me into convulsions.

Stay-at-home moms aren’t what they used to be.  Long gone are the days of June Cleaver, but we thank her for setting the bar so high that we some days walk around in a daze of seasonal depression because we fall short under all of her glory.  After all, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that we have days when we feel we aren’t perfect, pretty, pleasing, or organized enough to care for the human race.  We may no longer answer the door in pearls and a pinafore (watch out for those monogramed pocket t-shirts because we can wear the hell out of those), but we can run a 5K race in under 30 minutes while someone is napping, as well as get 40 thousand valentines day bags made for various school and extracurricular functions, even if we did end up eating an undisclosed number of Hershey Kisses (there goes the workout).  We don’t send our kids off to school with brown sack lunches and kiss their cheeks as they walk out the door one by one (but at least we got them to school with minimal yelling involved…today at least).  I’ll be darned if we serve our husbands a fresh packed pipe and a newspaper right before slipping on a pair of oven mits to remove the pot roast from the oven (not that we can’t pull off some really good family dinners…no GMOs, gluten, MSG, or artificial ingredients of course). Sometimes we have it all together and sometimes we don’t, but one thing us CTO’s can do with great passion and consistency is love the hell out of our families and find a decent balance in life by caring for these humans we brought forth into the world.