Anxiety Over Messy Artistic Creativity
Repeat over and over ad nauseam: Kids are washable. Chairs, tables, walls and clothes are also washable. Green paint will not haunt your dreams. It is perfectly normal to curl up in the fetal position in your office while your four and six year old are crafting in the next room.
I’m all about harnessing the creativity of my children but the anxiety kicks in when paint is involved.
YouTube: The ultimate anxiety maker for creative ideas
John and I had settled down for the evening to unwind when two little feet crept up behind us on the stairs. Knowing he was supposed to be in bed, our youngest immediately stated, “I just have to ask one question, please don’t take away my electronics. Can we go to the box store, glue store, ice cream topper store and kitchen rolls store in the morning?”
Regret washed over me as soon as I asked why but I had to know. He said, ” I want to make a scary castle that I saw on YouTube kids.”
Not committing to anything and letting my children sleep on it (i.e. forget), I give them the stock answer. “We will talk about it in the morning.” No matter the request, the answer is always let’s discuss it tomorrow. That way I also have time to craft an appropriate response.
The next morning he wasted no time asking about the supplies for said scary castle. Purposely, I changed the subject and for good reason. We have a buffet cabinet stocked full of arts and craft items that can easily spark his imagination.
Had I taken him to the store and bought him exactly what he needed, it would have resulted in something from Nailed It. A show on Netflix where amateur bakers try to replicate a professional’s work in making a designer cake terribly. I would have ended up doing the majority of the work making both of us frustrated in the end.
Taking a Back Seat to Their Creativity
Instead, I let him figure out something else to do while I ate my lunch. He pulled out the paint, box of art supplies, asked for a bowl of water and a towel to cover the table. He got straight to work.
While I love when the kids get to be creative, the mess makes me antsy. Typically, this means if they are doing projects with paint, I go into the office and wait it out.
This does two things:
- It allows them to work on their design without my “helpful” input.
- I am not cleaning as they go which tends to make me tense and yell.
The end creation is always more wonderful for me to experience when I’m not knee deep in the mess. When they do art together, it allows them to problem solve only having mom step in when necessary.
Give me a coloring activity, create a comic book or draw pictures and I’m all in. The bigger the mess the more I tend to bow out until clean up time. They never complain that I don’t do things with them and in fact when all the kids make slime, paint or have a baking competition, they want to surprise me. I call that a win for all parties involved.
Now to tackle the green paint embedded in the grooves of my dining room table chairs.
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