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Day 29 Write 31 Days Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: “Take a shoebox and…”

I don’t have any shoeboxes.

I don’t keep shoeboxes.

When I buy shoes, I leave the box at the store.

Somehow, I wear this as a badge of dishonor; a testament to my wretched mothering.  I have no shoeboxes. I am the mom with no shoeboxes.  We started to homeschool because I couldn’t deal with the judgments and whispers, “She doesn’t have any shoe boxes. Her kids had to borrow shoe boxes for the History Fair Dioramas.” 

Now shoe box demands have infiltrated the homeschool circuit.

Granted, no one should be able to advance past the third grade without having adequately demonstrated a herd of dinosaurs at 1/100 scale formed from play dough, toothpicks, broken crayons, and marshmallows. However, I don’t think like this when purchasing shoes.  I am just thinking about getting my crying toddlers and pre-menstrual unhappy tween out of the shoe store for less than $300.00.  I ask the clerk to bag the shoes and keep the boxes.  It makes it easier for me to maneuver the stroller and my purchases and also… then I don’t have ten shoe boxes to stockpile.

Also, I also don’t have any cardboard toilet paper rollers. Call me crazy – those have airborne and tactile ick on them… we throw them away, so we don’t get E-coli and die.  There has to be other cardboard cylinder options available besides our used TP insert. And if not? Let’s do another craft.

Where is the mom with a storehouse of saved shoeboxes? Because when I asked to borrow one, I get the shifty eye, “Uh, sorry… I don’t have any.” And then all of the sudden no one is answering their phones. Why are you people hoarding the shoe boxes and do you think you are better than me because you have a garage full of shoeboxes?

You probably are better than me.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You are probably better than me, but I have no shoeboxes. ” quote=”You are probably better than me, but I have no shoeboxes.”]


I am willing to concede I am not a crafty mom.  One time my daughter sent me a pin from Pinterest on how to make a gingerbread house. It seemed reasonable. It was kind of cute, and the worse case scenario? If it is too ugly to display we will eat graham crackers with cream cheese frosting and spicy gumdrops for dinner.  Winning.

Alas, that wasn’t the worst case scenario.

First, the “recipe” called for a shoe box. Second, because I didn’t have a shoebox and the frosting was too thin… it collapsed. Third, on the heels of this fiasco, I was notified that one of the children’s Sunday school classes is collecting shoeboxes to fill with Christmas goodies for Syrian refugees.

My lack of shoe boxes is a disappointment to my brood and now, the suffering Syrians.

We briefly converted to Judaism in protest of Christmas and all it’s shoe box nonsense.  Alas, the Jewish have a wealth of seasonal shoe box activities – eight crazy days of shoebox mayhem, and we also can’t live without bacon or Jesus.

With the New Year, there was the commitment to change. Some people try to quit smoking or losing 20 pounds.

I commit to hoard shoeboxes. I pledge to stop disappointing my children, the refugees, and the next generation of mommies who ask innocently, “Do you have any shoeboxes?”

Tsk-tsk, “Of course I do… do you need to borrow one?” I might ask with self-righteousness and contrived pity. Yes, I committed to keep the shoe boxes… but like so many New Year’s resolutions, I failed, and as we enter this holiday season, I once again find myself without any shoe boxes.

I continue to be true to my nature, I am a non-shoebox saving mom.

I don’t have the forethought. I don’t have the storage space or the maternal fire in my belly that makes a woman think, “This is the perfect size for a Valentine’s day Mail Box!”

I can cut the crust off the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

They will have whacky socks for whacky sock day at the homeschool skate and bowl.

I can sign up to bring caramel apples to the Fall Festival, the cookies might be slice and bake, but they will be decorated like the Taj Mahal.

I will pay for the children’s counseling. I will drive them to soccer, gymnastics, and dance. I will keep mozzarella cheese sticks, juice boxes and apple slices in a little cooler in the van. There is hand sanitizer in my purse, chapstick in my pocket, and sunscreen in the glove box.  But I can’t undo the look, I cannot eradicate the shame or disengage the disgrace – the loathing – they felt each time I dropped the shoe box gauntlet.

And I can’t keep up the façade, I can’t pretend I am a shoe box saver any more than I can actually save the shoe box.  There is a newfound freedom in knowing I am unable to master this motherly task.  I can’t, I won’t, I don’t save shoe boxes.

In the midst of this confession, I feel it only fair to admit, I have never once… not a single time, saved a box top.

I can’t, I can’t ever find any scissors. I understand they are good as cash. I understand they are on many of the products I use every day.  But I can’t be this woman. I can’t follow through.

There are no shoe boxes.

There are no box-tops.

We throw away our toilet paper rollers.

This is the card(board) my children have not been dealt.

So don’t ask, don’t judge, and save a box or two for me, please.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19

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