When your child brings home something Fugly

I so wanted to be the mom who is able to celebrate everything my kids do, to see the beauty in their attempts, to set up shrines to their endeavors. But I’m not. I’ve gotten over it, so you should too – let’s get that out of the way right now so that I don’t have to roll my eyes at any comments about how everything a child does is a gift.

Because sometimes what kids do is produce butt ugly art.

Fiona's bowl

I have to assume that some day Fiona will stumble upon this entry and be deeply hurt by her mother calling her brown, lopsided bowl butt ugly, but truth is truth, and when her kid brings home a papier mache horse that looks like it was spawned inside of a nuclear cooling tower, she’ll understand. Still, apologies Fiona. Feel free to get back at me on your own blog by telling people something embarrassing about me – you’ve got plenty to choose from.

Just about everything has a learning curve. And not everybody is good at everything. Let me be clear that I am in no way criticizing the attempt. I am simply bitching about the fact that I now have in my possession this thing that, frankly, looks like it was crafted out of a big turd. This is either the stepping stone to my daughter’s future career in pottery, or the best she can do before moving on to something she’s good at. Either way, I seem to be stuck with it, because she gave it to me with so much pride.

What the hell do you do with something like that? Would you display it, just to humor her? Tell her it broke while you were dusting it? (Damn, she’ll see right through that one – I don’t dust.) Throw it out and if she ever asks, tell her I sent it out to be encased in lucite for all eternity, and the damn post office lost it?

Or just tell her that while I appreciate the effort, it was just too ugly to display in my house?

Knowing my daughter, I’ve got a good shot at simply making it disappear – out of sight, out of mind. But perhaps I should just make it disappear to the basement, in case she does ask about it some day. “Oh, I put it somewhere safe until we could build a custom shelf to display it on!” By the time she realizes what I’m doing, she’ll be in college.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.


  1. says

    Oh, that is bad. I go with the out of sight out of mind phenomenon when my kids crank out something I don’t intend to keep. And I always say, “I love that you made something for me,” because that’s true without the truth.

  2. says

    Hysterical post. I would feel bad about getting rid of it – so I would put in her box of things to save for her when she gets older.

    This way she could throw it out.

  3. says

    Ok, that is ugly – and my daughter’s name is Fiona, so I should give it a bit more of a chance. Three suggestions:
    1. keep it in a box like someone previously suggested for her to go through as an adult and get a good laugh
    2. make one small space that art is displayed and she gets to choose which piece goes there(that way, it’s never all over the place)
    3. have her display it in her room
    My daughter is in pre-k, so mostly I just get wads of paper that I can easily throw away without her noticing. Thanks for the visual of what’s to come.

  4. Annie says

    Sometimes we just have to appreciate whatever the kids bring at home, whether they are fugly or not, because God knows in their minds they think whatever that is it is something perfect. They will just style up as time goes by.

  5. says

    Wow, that’s… unique! Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for: unique. Having raised two kids who considered themselves little Van Gogh’s in the making, I spent most of the past two decades feeling obligated to display some pretty hideous “masterpieces” in my house. When my oldest finally went off to college — where her second major is in art, God help us — I started taking some of her pieces off the wall. She came home unexpectedly right when I was in the middle of packing away the ceramic elephant foot she’d made in 4th grade (she thought it would make a great plant stand, but it was hardly level). Naturally, I panicked, thinking she’d assume it meant I didn’t love her. But, no. Once she got older she realized how fugly it was, and actually said she’d always wondered why I hadn’t gotten rid of it years before!

  6. says

    Just want you to know – my kids grew up and didn’t stumble on blog posts – they actually searched my blog and the Internet for anything I had written that might possibly have referred to them. And boy, did I hear about it. For weeks.

    • says

      @Debi P: My son has been googling himself for a while now (man, that sounds dirty). I’ll take some money out of the college funds and put it in a therapy fund if need be. :-)

  7. says

    I find this cute and funny! When some moms are too proud of their child’s artwork, here you are criticizing it with silent Love. You are just too real and moms are supposed to be that. I hope your kid will be more motivated to create a better craft next time.

    All the Best!

  8. Glenny says

    I’m sure I’ll be freaking out seeing it. But of course we should always show that we appreciate things they did for us. It’s hard to see them hurt and not well appreciated.

  9. Mary Stinsel says

    I appreciate every piece of artwork my little child brings home because it shows a talent being nurtured in them. I just can’t let her display it in the room though.

  10. says

    The title of this post was enough to draw me here :) Certainly no parent would berate their child for bringing home something fugly. As a mother I realized both adults and children alike may see the same things, but interpret whatever it is very differently. Handling such a matter diplomatically would help. :)

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