Today I read a hilarious post at Rage Against The Minivan on holidays. Kristen’s candid storytelling and super smart sarcasm left me breathless from belly laughs and nodding my head emphatically.  Being a mom of school-aged kids in this hyper holiday atmosphere is cray-cray. 

This school year alone, I made two sets of 100 days projects.  Which isn’t as simple as mod-podging 100 little items to a hat (oh I wish), but sitting with each child, coming up with an idea, and then executing said idea.  I’d suggest something simple like 100 stars in the sky and they’d want 100 shooting stars coming off the poster board to explode candy into the outstretched arms of their friends. Uh…no! Those crunchy moms will come for me. Pelting me with Larabars and quoting the latest findings on high fructose corn syrup.
I’d suggest 100 stickers of balls in a closet: 2 poster boards, one rectangle door cut out and folded, inside the fold are the balls!  Awesome, perfect, go on mom with your bad crafty selfNo, they wanted actual balls made from Styrofoam, decorated with finger paint, and glued in an actual closet made from a shoe box. Um…Scandal comes on tonight so…no. 

We settled on the stickers. Trinity 100 flowers, TJ 100 dinosaurs.  Crunchy moms still smile at me at pick up and I’m all caught up on Scandal. Yes!

Shortly after 100 Days, I helped my kids design outfits as their favorite book characters to celebrate Read Ac
ross America Day.  We threw together a fanciful leggings and sparkly top ensemblé, slapped on a little lip-gloss, and Trinity was good to go as “Fancy Nancy”. This is in addition to art shows, concerts, and classroom celebrations for this holiday or that value.  I have a closet full, full I tell you, of crafts and coloring pages from their school projects piled atop the shoebox Bible scenes, and (sadly) family fridge devotional strips from Sunday School.
Overwhelmed with kiddo creative crap,  I totally get where Kristen is coming from. 
I can’t imagine how moms who work outside the home, with bosses who aren’t their husbands, and vocations that aren’t “for the Lord” manage.  At least in my situation, there are several levels of forbearance. I mean first,  it’s my husband, who on most occasions values not releasing the Kraken of angry, black wife that’s lurking, just waiting for those words, “what have you been doing all day?”.  And then there’s….Jesus…you know the guy who coined the phrase, “seventy-time seven”, so eh… if I miss a deadline (or two) I  can say it was all “for the children” and grace abounds.
So, I completely agreed with Kristen, things are getting out of hand.  I was about to issue the ultimate blogging fist-bump and actually comment on her post until she wrote:
“But I can’t do this alone. Fellow parents . . . teachers . . . sunday school workers . . . I beseech you. BRING IT DOWN A NOTCH.”
(record scratch)
Hold up, wait a minute, let me put some Mod-Podge in it!

Yeah, it’s hard coat Mod-Podge! That’s how I roll. 

You mean, temper the creativity of these teachers who make school and church fun for our kids?  You mean, ask the class moms who are bad-a**es with glue guns, to put them down as conscientious objectors for the craft-impaired.
Really?!?< /div>

You do realize the wonder-filled stories of mythical beings, the colorful gift-filled calendars leading up to Christmas, the valentine cards, the poster board of 100 things, dressing up like their favorite character, or whatever fantastic tradition that shows up on Pinterest all serve a purpose, right?  

Sure they can annoy us, but they’re actually quite wonderful, not to be tempered or tamed.  
They create joy!  Celebration. They activate our children’s imagination and all around make life awesome.  These brain children of Pinterest Penny teachers and moms create space for whimsy and wonder to freely play.
Why ya wanna bring that down?  
But I get it.  It’s overwhelming.  Some days I want to evil eye the teacher when my daughter runs to me and says,  “mom, I’ve got notices!” School-code, for “there be glitter in your future”.  
So just do what I do.  When I’m drowning under the holiday expectations, I figure out how to “flip the script” for my benefit. 
You want me to hide chocolate gold coins for St. Paddy’s Day?  Fo ‘sho.  Go on and hunt!  While you’re coming down off that sugar high let me tell you about workers in a field who came in at different points of the day, but received the same payment in coins from the owner. No, that isn’t unfair!  Generosity and equality for all people…that’s what’s fair. 
How does a gift a day leading up to the biggest kid cash in of the year teach you to be generous givers like God? It doesn’t.  How about we give instead of get something every day for our advent calendar? Give cards, give words of encouragement, give cookies, give time—give every day to pull up selfishness so that selflessness can grow.
Why prey-tell, do we need a flexible, magical,  somewhat creepy elf hanging from the rafters to encourage us to behave? Guess what guys? We don’t. There’s a way less creepy option—the Holy Spirit. Fancy that? Help to act right without a peeping Tom in red and white.
Wait, you want to give whole bags of candy to each student in your class for Valentines (St. Patricks, Hug a Friend, Peace, Yay for Whatever Day)?  Remember the crunchy mamas?
You see, The Pinterest Pennys will always be with us. We can’t avoid them.  They’ll always be thinking of the next way to use that glue gun or new tactic to bring their favorite value home.   

I know that because I am a Pinterest Penny.
I get why these woman make up fantastic stories, assemble beautiful crafts, and send creative themed bento boxes for lunch.  They’re activating their God-given creativity to make life joyful.  As we all know there is only so much mama/teacher rat race we can take. 

Would you begrudge a creative woman her coping mechanism?

I, for one, need the excitement of a 100-Day of school or Read Across America. With one “holiday”, all of a sudden fun is infused into the monotony of bath-time, required reading, math facts, and chores! The times I get to sit down with my kids and focus in on them are bright lights as we drudge through ordinary.  When our are hands covered in sticky Mod-Podge or we’re heading off on some “grand” adventure beauty is born, bonds are forged, and I’m reminded why I love my kids. 

So, while I ‘aint got time for the comparison game that Pinterest inspired celebrations can become, I’ve got time to cheer on a fellow Penny for her creativity.  I’ve even got time for glue guns and glitter, time to flip that script to make a better citizen of the world, and time to de-escalate the tantrums of a selfish child who’s learning that we celebrate for community and not consumerism.

I’ve got time for fun.  So, let’s take that up a notch!

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