Friday, February 7, 2014

Real Life Valentines

One key to running an intentional home is to let go of unrealistic expectations. If we want a home of peace, we must let go of the idea that motherhood is all sidewalk chalk and pretty party dresses, picnics in the park and games of catch in the front yard. When in reality it is more often diapers and temper tantrums and tattle telling and carpooling and spills and marker on the walls. 

Seems like I would know this. Unfortunately, it is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again. This week I was reminded again that I need to let go of unrealistic expectations.

Next week is Valentine's Day; they day my elementary age kids deliver cards to the other kids in their class.  

I, like usual, had grandiose visions of what these Valentines were going to look like.You know, unique handmade cards with those cute play on word sentiments you see in Family Fun magazine. Valentines made out of card stock and ribbon and glue dots and some novelty toy. I of course expected my boys would want the same.  At a minimum, I envisioned that the names would be legible and spelled correctly.  

But, of course, I got nothing close.  Here are some of the Valentines produced in the Soutter household.  

Yes, you are seeing correctly... misspellings, words crossed out, names that run off the page, and messy handwriting.  My favorite is below where Jonathan learned that his name would not fit so he decided to use several lines, a few letters on each.  Yes, these are the Valentines my boys are taking to school.

But, look at what I gained by letting go. . .no disappointment, no guilt over yelling at my kids, no tension, no anger. I gained peace and joy and energy and time. I'll trade cute handmade Valentines for that anytime!!

Note that on this Valentine, Jonathan just left off the last letter of his name

Intentional women know when to let go. 


  1. Because, to a boy especially, it's all just packaging that gets in the way of the awaiting sugar buzz! And look at how your acceptance of what they did is just loving them as-is, rather than demanding something 'better' on a trivial item. I say this is a great opportunity to avoid sending them one more 'you're not good enough' message. Thanks for the post and helping the rest of us 'keep it real.'

  2. Thank you for sharing; it makes me feel so much better! Haha. My boy took at least an entire hour to write 22 first names and his name 22x on his Valentines. I had him do them in pencil this year, hahaha. Probably so Mommy wouldn't have any opportunity to "lose it" over careless mistakes.. It went so much better than the previous 2 years though, because (other than having him do it in pencil so he could erase mistakes) I decided I wasn't going to be concerned how the letters looked as long as someone could read the child's name. I just have to remember to allow enough time for the writing so we're not pressed for time and end in frustration. I was amazed at some of the Valentines received where a child wrote first and last names plus a sentence!!! I must ask that Mom how many days ahead she had her boy begin this. Of course my child has fine motor skill problems and so I have to keep that in mind that it's going to take him longer than average.


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