When I discovered I was pregnant with my first baby, Pinterest was in its infancy. 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 an excellent 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 sewing her a baby quilt (which turned out decent). When she was a bit older, I did all kinds of DIY activities, including a cute “Baby Napping” sign for the front door and DIY baby pull-up bars, among other things.
But I think I hit a wall by the time my daughter was old enough to start eating solid foods. 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 homemade 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. When I gave up that expectation for myself, I became much happier with the motherhood gig. Here’s why:
Perfectionism is the thief of joy.
Too often, I have allowed my perpetual quest for perfectionism to take the fun out of life. As a teen, I remember being unable to enter contests where 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 wouldn’t let it take the joy of motherhood either. I mean, motherhood is hard enough as it is!
I’m not made of money.
Trying to make your entire life, from the baby nursery theme to the toddler’s bento box lunch to the perfectly laid out playroom, a Pinterest-worthy space or project is EXPENSIVE. I am the queen of frugal DIY projects, but this 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. Whenever I attempt to do crafts with my kids, I make 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, which is precisely how it must be! Creativity is messy and silly; 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 (mostly out of the country). So, the majority of child-rearing has been my responsibility since day one. Now that I am the sole breadwinner of the family and the sole parent, I don’t have 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 other people’s perceptions of our lives based on the highlight reel tidbits I could Pin. I would rather spend the hours I don’t have to work, cook, 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.
When 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 to make mothers believe they were not good enough. Or something was wrong with them if they didn’t measure up to the perfect pictures they admired. I still love putting pretty pictures of my newest DIY project, home decor makeover, activity, etc., on my Pinterest boards and Instagram account. But I ensure that I also share the real, the raw, the messy, and the ugly as often as possible. 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!