10 Feb
Compulsory Valentine’s Day Cards

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I got an email from my son’s 3rd grade Class Mom suggesting that the kids make Valentine’s Day cards for all the other kids (24!) in the class, so that no one is excluded.

I thought it was a cute idea, but when I told my son, he said that he didn’t want to do it. Should I insist?


Cupid’s Mama Didn’t Have These Problems


Dear Not Cupid’s Mama,

Should you insist that your son make Valentine’s Day cards in bulk to distribute to friends and nemeses alike?

Should you insist that your son celebrate an indu$try created holiday?

Should you insist that your son spend time and energy doing arts and crafts instead of battling Pokemon for badges, experience points and all that is good in the world?

That’s one of those parenting decisions that you have to make with your spiritual adviser, because no one answer will fit all families.

But no way would I force my child to participate.   Mostly because the idea of overseeing this project is making me want to stress-eat enough chocolate to deprive several families of Valentine’s Day festivities.   And because I see this project as busywork.

In my experience, arts and crafts and most third grade boys don’t mix (and it is absolutely not the mother’s fault. Not even a little bit, so quit your finger pointing.)   Writing out 24 cards can be an exercise in torture for adults, and kids don’t find it any more enthralling.

One solution would be to ask your son to select a multi pack of Valentine’s Day cards at the local dollar store and have him write his classmates names on them over the course of   a few days.

This has the benefit of being relatively painless for everyone involved and avoids the possibility of your son being *gasp!* the only one without cards to distribute.

Another option would be to suggest to the Class Mom and the teacher that you bring in muffins or an amaryllis bulb, as a gift from your son to the class.   From what I know about 8 year olds’ affection for cards, they would much prefer a snack anyway. Or even a class flower that they could watch grow. Really, it’s the new paint drying.

The important thing is that your son understands that excluding his classmates is hurtful. If he wants to give a card to just his closest friends, he should do that outside of school, to avoid hurt feelings. Hopefully together you can brainstorm of a way to include all of his classmates in the celebration. And hopefully next year the Class Mom will be less ambitious.

Hearts and Arrows,

Marinka, TMH

19 Responses to “Compulsory Valentine’s Day Cards”


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

What is the meaning of Valentine Day? What is the value of a Valentine card, if it’s distributed to everyone? What’s the use of writing out 24 cards in order to get another 24 oneself? Who would care to get 24 cards, knowing the writers had to undergo the same ordeal as he in writing them?

(from the above questions, it might transpire that I am a Valentine Day Hater – and not because I didn’t get many cards in my time! 🙂 Anyway in your place, would have punched the mother who proposed the idiotic scheme.)


Comment by coffeelots.

Making 24 cards? Is he allowed to use a printer?


Comment by chris.

The only reason that mom wants everyone to make valentines is because she has a great idea for really cute cards. Buy a box at the store, put your sons name on each one, no need for him to write each child’s name, so has something to pass out. Believe me, every parent who joined the “who made a better homemade card” contest is going to be envious of your decision.


Comment by Cate8.

No ‘real’ parent makes 24 cards. Buy a box. Use caution now in this crazy world about food items. Where we live candy is banned,

Karin W Reply:

Homemade food items are banned 1 county over from me so now there’s no variety at bake sales (can’t imagine why they aren’t doing well with all the limited, unoriginal, over-processed, store-bought choices that still have the ingredient list printed on them) and this year they banned all food items to be shared (I’m sure class parties ROCK! but this also means no Valentine’s candy with the cards). I’m sure it’s bound to come to our county soon enough too. But until then, I did help my kids hand-make cards – that’s 30+22+16 cards – that you stick a lollypop in.

Karin W Reply:

fyi – I would prefer a handmade card over a store bought one any day and I’m kind of a crafty person


Comment by Momof4Luds.

Just guessing here, but it might be that when the class mom said “make” she meant “send in” rather than “hand craft”. Some years, my kids (boys and girls both) wanted to go nuts with stickers, glue and glitter; some years, nothing would do but a box of Pokemon valentines(or Batman, whatever the flavor of the year was.) But the requirement was always to send in one for everyone in the class, or none at all.


Comment by Lindsey.

Homemade items are banned at my daughter’s school, I’m only allowed to bring in things I buy from a store with the ingredient list clearly listed. But you know, lollipops are so much better for you than a muffin anyway.


Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

Of course a 3rd grade boy isn’t going to want to participate. He’d rather be outside climbing trees and playing soccer or something. This is why kids have parents, to insist that they take part in the niceties that make the world a more tolerable place.

I would just buy a box and make him put each kid’s name and sign his own. It doesn’t take very long to do it. A lot of kids in his class will really enjoy the valentine cards and will get a lot of joy from them, especially the girls, so it is not a waste of time. Sometimes it is okay to do things for others even if we get no benefit. You need to make sure your son understands that.

Marinka Reply:

But is making 24 cards making a world a more tolerable place?

Or is it merely satisfying a Class Mom’s megalomania?

Because in my experience most kids seem to tolerate the world well enough without cards.

Roshni Reply:

I think the real issue is why schools are encouraging this Hallmark card-promoted day?!?!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:



Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

So here’s my thought. He is going to receive cards from kids and he’s going to enjoy getting them (whether or not he admits it). I would bet he’s going to feel left out in the ‘giving’ process if he does not bring cards to hand out even if he says right now he doesn’t want to do it.

So I agree, go buy a box of cards, have him write the names and let him hand them out. They definitely don’t need to be homemade.

But in the end, he’s going to want to be a part of the action.


Comment by Kathy.

I’ve done the handmade valentine thing before… its not that hard. I guess I’m not a “real” parent. We’ve also done the store bought thing. This year my kids wanted to make goodie bags so we’re going with that. They think its fun. They like an excuse to do something different at school for a day. Its a break from routine and a chance for them to socialize a little more. Hardly the worst day ever. At the third grade level I understand not wanting to deal with the drama of having a child ostracized by no one in the class giving that child a card so give one to everyone… nothing says you can’t give an extra special one to extra special friends.


Comment by N and Em's mom.

Am I missing something here? In the world that I grew up in, a kid would rather spend an hour opening up 24 cheap valentines featuring a Disney character saying something really profound like “Be Mine” than doing a math worksheet. Is it conformist? You bet. But the lesson here is sometimes you have to give to get. Handmaking valentines for your class is absurd and obviously a spill-over of the scrapbooking cult’s influence on modern day life. Don’t get sucked in people. My daughter’s elemntary school rocks at parties. Every class gets the same treats: a juice box and store bought valentine cookies. Class moms are not allowed to go over the top with crap. The school decided that it wasn’t fair for the kids if one class had a frazzled mom on a budget and another class had over-the top mom buying $5 custom made cupcakes and all you can eat pizza. The kids get 45 minutes at the end of the day to open cards, play games and have snack…..and a good time was had by all.

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

Absolutely agree with you here! This isn’t really about the ‘holiday’. This is about breaking up the day with a little fun stuff that doesn’t mean much but makes one smile. It’s not some life-altering occasion. It’s not a celebration of something religious (or non-religous). It’s not about love, really. It’s just a great excuse to do something a little different in the monotonous day to day routine. Let’s not suck the fun out of everything, shall we?


Comment by SLSG.

It doesn’t need to be that hard! Cut out 24 hearts (pink, red, white, whatever) and write his name on them. He doesn’t have to address them to each class mate because that IS too much work for a third grade boy. For extra fun, if, it’s allowed, tape a Hershey’s Kiss to the heart. Or skip the cutting and just buy a box, but only make him sign his name to each one. It can be done in less time than it takes to do homework. REALLY.


Comment by Plano Mom.

1. Cheap valentines from the store.
2. Cheap suckers
3. Roll of duct tape

Let him stick the suckers on the cards with duct tape. He doesn’t even have to sign the cards. Homemade, unique craft project.


Comment by VG.

Let’s see, 3rd Grade boy is around 7 to 9 yrs old? Yeah, anything associated with love and romantic connotations is the LAST thing they want to be involved with.

Why not let him own his decision this year, and he’ll probably feel left out and want to do it next year, maybe not. V-Day is optional.

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