Thursday, December 6, 2007

So am I a bad Mommy or what?

Now I know that this isn't even nearly the worst of the things I could do to make me a bad Mommy. But that doesn't stop me from feeling guilty anyway.

I simply cannot handle the disorganized stacks of papers in my house. Not just the 'necessary' ones like notes home from school, permission slips, bills (oh yes, those pesky things!), insurance forms, and whatnot. Or even the junk mail that gets tossed into the garbage as soon as it leaves my hands. No, it's the school papers, flyers, drawings, colored pages and everything else that falls into the "don't need to deal with it right now, but can't immediately throw it away either" category.

Do you have one of those?

I do try to keep as many of their school papers as I can. I have  a set of plastic drawers in the kitchen (which I would like to replace with something a bit more attractive at some point, but for now, well it works) where I keep the graded homework, spelling tests, art projects and other things that the girls are beginning to bring home from school that I will go through and sort once I can't squeeze anything else into the drawer.

And as for the rest? I'm ashamed to admit that I generally wait a few days until they've forgotten about it (and brought home 25 other things since) and throw much of it away. Because as cute as Abby's drawings of people and kitties are, I don't really see the need to keep all 3,432 of them. And as well as Hannah writes her letters nowadays, having 434 copies of the alphabet in crooked, wiggly, slanting letters is probably a bit much.

Ok, now I do have to defend myself a bit here - I try to keep anything where they're doing, writing or drawing something new. Or where they've made an extra special effort. But when they're bringing home 2 to 3 partly colored My Little Pony coloring book pages from daycare every day, or just filling up space on the paper with scribbles or one. letter. per. sheet...

I just can't deal with the clutter.

So does that make me a bad Mommy? I certainly felt like it on the few occasions where one of the girls noticed something I'd tossed in the trash and asked me why I threw it away - until I learned to bury their papers underneath the junk mail and empty cereal boxes...  :)  Hopefully the girls will be able to forgive me in 20 years when they ask where all of their old coloring pages are at and why I didn't keep every single scrap of paper they brought into the house!

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11 wonderful people said...:

Jennifer said...

It most definitely does NOT make you a bad mommy! Shoot I homeschool, for now I have to keep all their work and it's driving me insane!! I kept all their best papers when they were in school, dated like the first days work & the last days to see the improvement ( in handwriting etc)then I went thru and halved it before storing it away, since then I don't save as much. I can't stand the clutter either!!
My dd on the other hand wants to save every scrap of paper she does anything with, and I mean scrap!!
By the have awards waiting to be claimed ;0)

Tammy said...

Hey, I have an award for you too! My daughter is almost 14 and if I would have kept everything of hers my house would have been over run a long time ago.

Maddy said...

Sounds very well organised to me! I weed their 'work' as well otherwise we'd be buried in paper in less than a week.
Best wishes
This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Jeff Keith said...

Heck no! Just that you care so much excludes you. I am married to the most wonderful wife and mother in the World and she gets overwhelmed sometimes with all of the busyness (is that a word) of life! Being a mother is the toughest and most wonderful calling in this mans humble opinion!

Sweeping and dusting can wait til tomorrow
for babies grow up and we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cob webs, dust go to sleep
Im rocking my baby and babies dont keep
~unknown author

~Amber~ said...

No way! I kept everything of Maddy's thru Kindergarten and then told her we would go thru it together and keep only the extra special things because if we had a fire, it would burn for months from all the paper. Now with Victoria, I am only keeping certain things...her first drawing, first painting and dating them. And you have 3!! I can't imagine all the paper you have!

Crazy Working Mom said...

Most definitely not a BAD mommy!!!

I do the exact same thing. My daughter loves to go to the "writing center" at day care and they do not limit the amount of paper she is allowed. She brings home at least 5 or 6 pages a day. I will lay them on the bar until she goes to bed. One night, I forgot to cover them in the trash and she woke up the next morning crushed b/c I'd thrown her "hard work" away! So, my advice...just make sure to bury it beneath the potato peels and empty corn cans. ;)

Tisha @ Crazy Working Mom

Anonymous said...

You just can't keep everything. I tried with Melanie, and ended up with so many boxes, it was crazy. I had to do some major weeding out. Now I give each girl one plastic box, they love it. They love to look through their old stuff, now that they are older. The trick is, like you said, when you throw it out, hide it deep in the trash can.

Anna said...

"don't need to deal with it right now, but can't immediately throw it away either" category.

I know that category well!

You're not a bad mommy. There is just no way to keep everything. I usually have a whole pile of papers that collects throughout the school year. Then, at the end of the year, I try to go through everything and just keep a good representation of what they have done all year. I have a file folder for each kid for each year of school in a box in the basement.

Will we ever actually look at it again? Who knows, but we have to keep at least some.

Karen (Pediascribe) said...

You aren't a bad mommy! I know it's tough. I struggle with it too. The really extra special stuff gets saved here. Everything else gets tossed.

Of course, you could always take a picture of something and then throw away the original.

I know my mom gave me some papers from when I was in kdg and 1st grade.....and I glanced at them and pitched them. Amazing how 35 years has given me some perspective on what's important! said...

Thanks for contributing this article to this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted at, the so-called me, on Monday, December 10, 2007! We have many other wonderful entries, so stop by and read a few!

No, in my opinion, you're not a bad mommy. And if you are, you have LOTS of company in that category. :-)

Interested in hosting the Carnival? The schedule is posted at, Colloquium.

cheryl said...

no you are so not a bad mom if you kept everything your house would explode i rememberwhy i was younger my mom would have piles and piles of pictures me and my sister brought home and she ended up only keeping the impotant stuff like the first time they wrote there name that they will remeber in 20 years so dont stress your self out about it have a great day!