There are certain stages in every parent’s life when you come to accept your role as mom or dad and all the difficult decisions that go along with it.

We learn begging is an appropriate form of getting our kids to sleep. Hiding vegetables in their Mac-n-Cheese is completely acceptable and even pretending their growth is more affected by caffeine than genetics gets the symbolic seal of approval from most parents.

But every once and awhile, there comes a time when really, really tough decisions have to be made and if not done correctly (and covertly), your child and every non-parent out there will look on you with condemnation and judgment until you suffocate under the weight of your error.

So, in an effort to assist all you parents out there, I have written this edition of 5 Non-Points (Revelations that Probably Won’t Change Your Life at All) and addressed the best way to Throw Out Your Child’s Artwork.

Point #1 – Timing is Key

Your kids are everywhere and most of the time, they move like stealthy little ninjas. Best way to get rid of some lingering piece of pre-Picassoesque art is to wait for that perfect moment when they are completely occupied. Think potty breaks or extended baths. These usually provide ample time and have less risk. Not zero risk…but less.

Point #2 – Fold It Up

The other day I tossed out some art my daughter had brought home and forgot this step. Classic beginners mistake. Within a few minutes, my sweet little princess had found the paper as she was throwing away some trash and brought it to me with the most hurt and disappointed look ever. She didn’t say it, but I’m pretty sure she was thinking, “How could you? You said you liked the way I placed those cloud stickers in the sky and colored the entire rainbow red and brown only.” Made me feel bad. And then, I realized I need to be much smarter when I chunk her next work of art.

Point #3 – Consider A Burial

Folding is a great option. Much less chance of your child seeing it when they are at the waste basket. A more secure way, though, is to lift a few of the top items in the can and stick the art underneath. Of course, if your child happens to be a “digger”, you are going to have to rethink your strategy here.

Point #4 – Don’t Let it Linger

Great question Cranberries (grew up in the 90s, sue me)! No, you don’t have to and you shouldn’t let it linger. If you can get the art in the trash hours or even minutes before wrapping it up for your neighborhood sanitation workers, you avoid days of breath-holding and nail-biting every time your child heads over to throw something away. This isn’t a crime of passion. You have to be deliberate and calculating as you attempt to spare your child’s feelings from the harsh reality that is available storage space in your “memories” box.

 Point #5 – Prepare for the Inevitable

No matter how hard you try, eventually you are going to slip up and your child is going to see some evidence of your deviance. In those cases, you need to have your explanations ready. Here are a few go to reasons…

  • How did that get in there? I guess some of the glue was still wet and got stuck on the junk mail.
  • You did a great job, but it wasn’t “memory box” good.
  • I’m pretty sure your mom did that. You know how she gets when she is in cleaning mode.
  • I can’t look at your art without thinking about how big you are getting and how fast time is flying by. Do you want me to be sad and cry all the time?
  • I thought you said this one wasn’t your favorite.
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