Last Saturday, I was up earlier than normal. As Allen was getting ready to go with me to accomplish some last minute shopping and Braylen was still sleeping, I pulled up Facebook on my phone. And I scrolled through to see a status update from someone I didn’t even know. Thanks to the new (or maybe old, I’m not sure) way Facebook allows things to be shared I come across tons of pictures, status updates and links, from people and pages I’ve never heard of. This time, I read this particular status to myself as I shook my head from side to side in disagreement. The words before me on the screen certainly carried validity, I won’t deny that.
But it was the line regarding the “Pinterest era” that earned an eye roll from me.
I’m a little tired of hearing the same ol’ “Pinterest mom” argument. I’m over the “Pinterest era” and I’m fed up with blame and the constant comparison to Pinterest. I’m irritated when I hear that each time Pinterest is on the computer screen it makes someone feel like a bad mother, like a domestic failure. And I’m speaking a little tougher than I normally do because I really need your attention. Because I’m afraid we’re buying into all of this hype, that we really believe that we can blame a feeling of inadequacy on a website, that we are making it okay to compare ourselves to others because this is the “era” that we live in.
Pinterest isn’t one single person. The only idea Pinterest has is the website design (albeit a really good one) and the concept of “pinning” pictures to an online “pin board.” Pinterest doesn’t make things for classroom parties, it doesn’t stay up late sewing Halloween costumes. It is simply a website that serves as a pretty way to categorize ideas sourced from the world wide web. Once upon a time, this was known as “book marking,” but then Pinterest packaged it up really pretty and gave us a new way to book mark. A more streamlined way to categorize things deemed noteworthy while perusing the internet.
Pinterest isn’t a tool for me to measure my ability to parent or make a casserole or decorate my home.
Pinterest is composed of thousands and thousands of people, sharing their ideas with one another. I’d be willing to bet, out of all the pins I’ve collected very few of them would source back to the same website. Pinterest is a fancy holder of good ideas and inspiration, not a person who stays up late making cake pops in an effort to make me feel like a domestic failure. I will always come up short if I measure myself against a website full of ideas from tons of other people, sharing their individual talents and hobbies, giving their best. And making that comparison? That’s as silly as thinking I should cook every meal like Paula Deen, decorate as impeccably as Nate Berkus, throw a party like Mindy Weiss and craft as well as Martha Stewart. And I should do all of this with the body of Heidi Klum and the style of Kate Middleton. And if I don’t live up to my online pinboards? Then I lose, the internet wins. As crazy as it sounds, that is exactly what women all over the internet are doing when they blame Pinterest if they feel inferior regarding a parenting choice, or when they make up this fictional “Pinterest mom” persona.
The pins we see are a collection of fun things from the internet, not one persons trophy case. It makes me sad that we, as women and mothers, are using this as a tool to drive a wedge between one another. If you never make organic baby food for your child, fine. But it’s okay if you make every single bite of food your child ever puts into his or her mouth, too. We can’t get past this until we recognize that neither side is wrong in their choice to follow a maternal instinct.
I have ranted and raved, stood high up on my soap box and I’m calling out Pinterest for what it is, a website. It is incapable of inflicting guilt and it doesn’t compare us to one another, we do that to ourselves. Mothers fall short, we get behind, we feel pressure to look or be like someone else, this isn’t a new phenomenon created by Pinterest. If you were standing right in front of me, I would take your hand and look you in the eye and because I believe it with all of my heart, I would say this:
Whether you are up late sewing your child’s first birthday outfit, or buying it from Target. Whether you bake wholesome applesauce cookies for dessert, or you pick up two-bite brownies on your weekly grocery run. Whether you pressed your child’s tiny hand into salt dough this season, or the only handprint you have to commemorate this season is the dirty one left on the wall. Whether a mischievous little elf showed up this month to turn your milk green and adorn your tree with toilet paper, or you have no idea what I’m even talking about.
Your child thinks you are greater than any mom you see on the internet or anywhere else in the whole world. And if you never bake a “pin-worthy” cookie. If you never pack a Bento-style lunch box. If you have no desire to ever hold a 5-minute plank, or make a tissue paper pom-pom, or paint your furniture like a chalkboard. If you always want to sign up for paper goods for the class party. Your child will be just fine, you will be the one they confide in, the one they share their fears and dreams with, the one they want when they are scared and the first person they want to share their good news with.
Recognize what you can do, what you love to do, what makes you the best mother and throw the rest aside.
So let’s tell our children that we love them as often as we can, let’s comfort them when they are scared, and instill in them a great sense of faith and love. Let’s raise up good leaders with giving hearts. And if there’s time in between, if you even want to, fill in the gaps with fun things you are inspired to recreate from the internet or from television or from a friend.
Just don’t let it become a tool for measuring your ability to parent, don’t let it turn you against every mother who parents differently.