When I discovered I was pregnant with my first baby, Pinterest was in its infancy. In fact, Pinterest was conceived around the same time my daughter was! So as I was growing my tiny baby in my belly, I was also busy growing a ridiculous amount of Pinterest boards. With categories ranging from “Baby Girl Nursery Ideas” to “Organic Baby Food Recipes” and “Crafts to Do With Toddlers,” I was preparing myself to become the Queen Pinterest Mom.
And for a while, after my daughter was born, I did a good job of being a Pinterest mom. Being a home decor and DIY blogger, I naturally had to decorate her nursery to the hilt. I also tried my hand at sewing her a baby quilt (turned out decent). When she was a bit older, I made all kinds of DIY activities, a cute “Baby Napping” sign for the front door, and DIY baby pull-up bars, among other things.
But by the time my daughter was old enough to start eating solid foods, I think I hit a wall. I remember sitting at the table attempting to feed my girl my very first batch of organic, homemade pureed carrots much to her displeasure. I had gone to so much trouble for a tiny little batch of baby food. My ungrateful kid refused to eat any of it, and I think I just snapped. At that moment I realized that I was EXHAUSTED. Absolutely, bone-achingly tired of doing so much to be the “perfect” Pinterest mom. And it just dawned on me that I had had enough. I was done. Because I realized it simply did not matter in the slightest.
I Thought I’d Be a Pinterest Mom, But I’m Not
When my second kid came along a couple of years later, I had completely given up on the idea of being the Pinterest mom I always thought I would be. And honestly, when I gave up that expectation for myself, I became a whole lot happier with the whole motherhood gig in general. Here’s why:
Perfectionism is the thief of joy.
Too many times in my life I have allowed my perpetual quest for perfectionism to take the fun out of life. I remember as a teen being unable to enter into contests I had a real chance of winning for fear that I wouldn’t perform perfectly. As a young adult, I remember sulking at my dinner party because I burned an appetizer and my decorations weren’t how I expected them to look. It took me many years and a lot of embarrassment to realize that letting imperfection steal the joy of living life to the fullest was an absolute waste. So I decided I wasn’t going to let it take the joy of motherhood either. I mean, let’s be honest, motherhood is hard enough as it is!
I’m not made of money.
Trying to make your entire life, from the baby nursery to the toddler’s bento box lunch to the perfectly laid out playroom, a Pinterest-worthy space or project is EXPENSIVE. Listen, I am the queen of frugal DIY projects, but this kind of thing can add up quickly! As a mom, you have more important things to spend money on (hello, diapers!) than making sure your child has a picture-perfect bedroom.
Creativity doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy.
I’m going to admit something embarrassing. Every time I attempt to do crafts with my kids, I end up making the craft for them. Do you know why? Because when they do it, it doesn’t look “good enough.” Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? I have had to have some serious come-to-Jesus moments with myself and let go of control of craft time. Do you know what I’ve discovered by doing this? My kids make really ugly art. And I would never dream of putting their arts and crafts on Pinterest. But what they create is not for any reason other than their creative expression and that is exactly how it needs to be! Creativity is messy and silly and, most of the time, it’s not Pinterest-worthy. I’m okay with that.
I don’t have the time.
I am a single (widowed) working mom. Even when my husband was still alive, he worked all the time (most of the time out of the country). So the great majority of child-rearing has been my responsibility from day one. Now that I am the sole breadwinner of the family, in addition to being the sole parent, I simply don’t have the time to worry about whether my life and my kids’ lives are Pinterest-worthy. My time is precious. It is far better spent being present with my kids instead of worrying about what other people’s perception of our life may be based on the highlight reel tidbits I could Pin. I would rather spend the hours I don’t have to work or cook or clean or chauffeur to enjoy my kids in whatever messy, non-picturesque activity we happen to be doing that day!
I’m an advocate for “real” motherhood.
From the moment I became a mother, I realized that the things women know about the reality of motherhood are seriously lacking. We live in a culture where the ugly truths of motherhood are either glossed over or avoided entirely and replaced with staged images of what motherhood “ought to” look like. I knew from the beginning of my motherhood journey, after suffering from scary postpartum depression and a myriad of other issues no one ever talked about, that I did not want to play into the false and unreasonable expectations placed upon moms. Instead, I chose to use whatever voice I had to tell about the realities of motherhood, as dirty or ugly or imperfect as they were. I wanted to make sure that other moms out there weren’t blindsided, as I was, thinking they must be doing something wrong.
As much as I love Pinterest (and still do!), I realized that it could be used as another tool to make mothers believe that they were not good enough. Or that something was wrong with them if they didn’t measure up to the perfect pictures they so admired. I still love putting pretty pictures of my newest DIY project, or home decor makeover, or activity, etc., on my Pinterest boards and Instagram account. But I make sure that I also share the real, the raw, the messy, and the ugly as often as I can. Because life is too short and those kids are too precious to let chasing after that Pinterest-worthy life steal all the happiness that comes with imperfection!