Mom Confession: I Throw Away My Kids' Artwork


mom confessionsIt's time for a Mom Confession -- because, let's face it, we're real mothers and sometimes it doesn't work the way the parenting books say it should.

This Week's Confession:

If it doesn't make me laugh or cry, my kids' objets d'art have gotta go.

I'm a neat freak. Until I became a mother, or at least until the kids hit preschool, I was able to maintain a minimalist household. Now my house is gasping for air beneath an avalanche of construction paper. My kids generate a minimum of one piece of artwork a day, and that's conservative. If I never trashed any of it, I'd be overrun by nearly 10,000 pieces of paper by the time they left elementary school.

I throw the art away on the sly. I make sure it's wedged securely under several layers of potentially camouflaging detritus. Coffee grounds are good. Likewise with the recycling bin. I never toss that worksheet full of big A's and little a's near the top of the pile. Inquisitive eyes can spot one of their outcasts anywhere. I bury it beneath the Sunday paper and layer in a healthy dose of junk mail just to be safe. I've considered investing in a shredder. -- Bonnie Rochman on


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Do you save all your child's artwork? If not, do you tell them you are going to throw it away or do you do it stealthly? By doing so, are we being dishonest with our children?

We all have secrets and opinions -- so thanks to these brave moms for sharing their honest thoughts, and thank you for keeping this conversation non-judgemental!

Past Confessions:

I Paid $22 for My Son's Haircut

My Toddlers Eat Pizza for Breakfast

I'm Dying My Toddler's Hair

I Leave My Toddler Alone in the Bath

Our Children Aren't Invited to Our Wedding

I Scold Other People's Kids

I'm on Vacation, But My Kid Is Still Going to Day Care

I Favor My Older Child

I Let My Toddler Eat Food Before Paying for It



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Doity... Doityourselfer

I have three you can't save every scribble...telling them so I think depends on the childs age and sensitivity....I have a tot, pre-teen, and teen....all so far forget...out of site, out of mind!  If it was important to them then I'd start some sort of art scrap book of the "good stuff" minimize the clutter.  Cute story and worry!

pen321 pen321

I sat my children down and told them how lovely their work was and how much i care for them and love their art work. but we only have space for so much in our home and told them each week they may pick one to keep the best of the week you might say and the rest we have to give to other family members or friends.. they loved the idea of sharing their art work with everyone. and in the end. a few did disappear into  art heaven world but for the most part .. they were happy and so was I . Penny

motof... motofamily

I only have one child, but we do artsy things at home as well as his school masterpieces, so I too, prioritize what to save and what to put into the circular file!

One thing I do is every couple months, lay it all on the living room floor, and stand on a chair for height and photograph the collection. That way we always "have" it. 

For younger kids, a friend of mine will tell her young twins (when she is caught tossing) that garbage collectors really love getting the chance to see it!


drpep... drpepper73

I save the ones that mean something, like the first time she drew a family picture, the first time she wrote I love mom and dad.....but the scribbles and all the coloring pages that she brings home from school go in the garbage.  She never asks about them cause everyday she's bringing home 10 more things.

Jesse... JessecaLynn

I will save a few things but most of it will go in the recycling .  I will take pictures of it first and put it in an album for them but I am not going to save boxes upon boxes of art.  My mil did this and now we have a box that sits in our closet of my dh's stuff.  I am not a packrat so most of that would be thrown away.

fluud7 fluud7

every sunday each of my children comes home from church with a paper bag full of papers, stickers, etc. if we go on wednesdays, it comes home those days too. i think i have saved ONE piece of artwork that really stood out to me from my son last year. as they get older, i hope to teach them how to sort through and keep only their favorites.

my mom saved TONS of my school papers and when i got married, i had BOXES of junk to go through. i wish she had just thrown it long ago.

sunsh... sunshine06

I have 5 kids and I save everything.  My husband hates it.  I have a special wall just for their artwork.  I take the coolest ones and put them up there.  They love it.  It makes them feel so good to see their stuff out where everyone else can see.  You can't see my fridge through the artwork.  I change it out once a month.  What is not being displayed gets put up in a special place.  I put their name and date on it so I know who it goes to.  My mom kept some of my stuff and recently gave it to me.  I wish she had kept more!  It was so cool to look back at those things and remember the day I did it or who it was for.  I want to do the same with my kids.

JPsMo... JPsMommy605

Most of my son's artwork gets destination TBD.  But occasionally, he'll have a special piece that get's placed on the fridge or in the room.  Last summer he painted me a big blue picture - water - and now it's hanging in pride of place above my bed.  Now that you mention this, I think's it's time for a change on the fridge - those rocket ships have been there forever it seems...time to redecorate.  But I've heard some moms take pics of the artwork so it can be kept digitally while the originaly is safely placed "elsewhere" (circular file, whatever).  I haven't tried that yet, but I might this of the piles is about to fall...


i agree you can't save everything. My son is in third grade and doesn't bring home quite as much artwork and doodles as he used to, but when he did I just had to be honest with him and tell him we could not keep every single thing. he is a reasonable kid and so we would sit and pick through his papers together and decide what to keep and what to trash. I have a trunk that is just for his school stuff. Projects, artwork, scrapbooks, assignments that made me laugh or that he got 100% on. Some of them are great to hold on to, but not every single thing.

Momma... MommaCocoaButta

i keep what ever is important to my son, the artwork that he is most proud of I keep. And he tells me about the ones he really likes.

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