Art Guilt


It’s a common theme amongst mothers.  A mother can find something to feel guilty about in anything.   Working mom, stay at home mom, public schools,  McDonald’s, nursing , co-sleeping, formula feeding, diapers,  soap, playing,  learning,  reading, house cleaning, TV watching, socialization, pretty much if a mom or a kid can do it some mother somewhere is feeling guilty about it.

I like to think I do pretty well at avoiding feeling guilty, not perfect but perhaps better than average. Lately though I’ve been struggling with a doozy dose of Mom Guilt.

My current dilemma…


Admittedly what Ivy creates has only recently achieved a status that I would call artwork, but whatever you call it what do I DO with it? In the last few days she went on a frenzy and turned most of a package of computer paper into pictures for us.  In the past her pictures have involved five swipes of color on one sheet of paper.  I can leave them sit for a few days by which time they get eaten, crumpled or spilled on and then I can throw them away guilt free.   Now I have a ream of pictures, many of which are family portraits. (Just in case you were wondering these aren’t heads and necks, they are heads and legs. Just wanted to clear that up for you so Ivy didn’t have to.)

The sensible part of me says to follow my past plan and throw them away after a few days. The sentimental part of me wants to keep them. The sensible part says, “Where Jessie, Where would you keep them?” to which the sentimental part answers that there must be someplace that I can stash a few drawings. Then the sensible side says that there are truly NO artwork storing area in the house and I’ll end up putting them someplace stupid, lose them, forget about them and find them in ten years having been eaten by mice. The sentimental part retorts that at least I’ll have tried.

As my multiple personalities war inside me,  all I end up with is a big dose of guilt as I slowly filter pictures off to the garbage. To combat the Mom Guilt I have collected a few pictures and stapled them together into a book. The sentimental part of me is going to go put them some place stupid, lose them, forget about them and probably find them years in the future having been eaten by mice.

But at least I’ll have tried.


14 comments on “Art Guilt

  1. johnny says:

    Oh my goodness. I think this is my favorite blog of yours so far! For some reason those drawings REALLY cracked me up. What an artist! Tell Ivy that we should draw pictures when I see her at Christmas(or earlier).

  2. Marcia says:

    Jess, they make a shadow-box like frame to help solve this very issue. You can continually add new art work leaving many pieces behind – my guess is you may need about 10 – enjoy!

  3. Jenny says:

    Beautiful! I say keep one drawing of everyone in the family. Then when she starts adding fingers and toes keep a sample one, then when they start having bodies, which I think is around 4 or 5 yrs old when they get all the body parts.
    I feel this guilt too. With Robbie’s preschool I put all the best stuff in a three ring binder. Didn’t do that for Charlie’s. And now they bring home so much stuff in addition to what they do at home! It is so overwhelming, what to save and what to toss! I have started putting school pappers and artwork into my paper mulching bags (we don’t take our paper to recycling because I use it for mulch in the gardens).
    Recently I got busted by Robbie, “MOM! I see you are throwing my school papers in the mulch bags. And I’m NOT happy about that!” Now he has found a drawer to stash the things he wants to save.
    I would be interested in seeing an example of the shadow box idea.
    Another idea…write a little note on one of her drawings and send to grandmas and other family members or friends. If she knew a drawing was going to someone in particular she may try to draw herself in a pumpkin patch for her greatgrandpa.
    I know a mom who puts all her son’s art work on the table, takes a photo and recyles it all.

  4. Pat Eloranta says:

    Scan them and keep a digital scrapbook, then you can toss the paper

    • Jessie says:

      Good idea… but I’d have to find a scanner, I’m thinking of taking pictures of Ivy with some of them, not quite as good as scanning but it would be fun to watch Ivy grow with her pictures. We’ll see how ambitious I am…

  5. Annette Grunseth says:

    Keep a few of the most representative ones of this stage.. I have some like these of Drew’s (he always added a belly button in each one of his portraits and I treasure them. Some I made into book marks (the smaller sketches) I made an art portfolio to hold our favorite pieces of artwork–each child has one..they can claim it anytime they want (some day?)–it’s fun to go thru every once in a while.

    We used to post them on the Fridge. One year that was our Christmas card– the 4 of us gathered around the family fridge with all the artwork haning on it. The letter to accompany the photo greeting card was an essay on “Who’s the Curator of this Refrigerator.” S there’s a little “food for thought for you.” 😉

  6. Annette Grunseth says:

    For Valentine’s Day I used to have the kids make their little drawings on bookmarks and send to their 4 grandparents. Drew’s Bellybutton people were sent..when I cleaned out my parents house, when we sold it, I found the bellybutton people on bookmarks…that was pretty neat, since it was after my Dad died and when we were moving my Mom to Green Bay to be near us for health reasons. In the nightstand next ot my bed, I know there is at least one bellybutton perons bookmark there. I loves finding them! Drew loves to see them when he comes homeand The EJS laugh and enjoy them too.

  7. Cara says:

    I love the head people. Who knew you could be so creative and make such unique characters with just heads and legs.

    I have tubs full of artwork and “school memories” in the basement because the sentimental part won most of the time. Years ago we decided, after my oldest filled a tub very quickly (by stashing everything), each year now they have to pick out some of their favorite things to keep.

    I also tend to find pictures and special notes stashed in places that make me smile. Like..cabinet under the bathroom sink, bottom of some of my dresser drawers, in various closets. At first they were left there by accident because I was probably working in there when I was given the gift, but now I have occasionally left them “where I was working” on purpose because then I don’t have to find a good place to put it or feel guilt of throwing it, and it also makes me smile when I happen upon it again.

    • Jessie says:

      Cara, I love the idea of leaving notes and pictures in places where you will come across them! The only thing around here currently like that is the ultrasound picture of Ivy. I think ultra sounds are ultra creepy (yes I know most of the pregnant world loves them but I hate them) so I made John take the picture away and he put it in a cabinet in his workshop. Unfortunately it’s more of an “ewww, I’m so glad she didn’t look like that when she came out” sort of reaction when I open that door rather than a smile! I think I’ll have to try and remember that idea though!

  8. Cara says:

    That is funny because I just pulled somthing out of a cubby on my desk and one of the kids ultrasound pictures fell out. Good thing the date is printed on it. I really should put it in one of the 4 baby books that I only started but I probably couldnt find them right now anyway. So, I will stuff it back in a pile on the desk and sigh again about how fast my babies have grown the next time I find it.

  9. […] a year ago I wrote about Ivy and the “Art Guilt” I was suffering from.  The problem resolved itself rather well in the last year. Ivy stopped […]

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