Pinterest Peer Pressure
I have a friend who is the personification of Pinterest. When I was pregnant, she gave me the door hanger for my daughter’s room. She had handmade it, along with some hairbands that could easily pass as Matilda Jane. Every year I look forward to her son’s birthday party just as much as my son does, so that I can take in all of her craftiness. For someone as domestically challenged as I am, every visit to her home is like taking a college course in wifery.
Just last month, she explained to me how she made her son’s birthday cake, camo icing and all. She piped out various hues of forestry frosting, and each layer was a different flavor. I only know one way to make a cake: call the bakery. While she uses Pinterest for inspiration to gain and hone new skills, I use it to text pictures to my local baker.
I may not be able to make my own photo frames and bake beautiful treats, but thank the good Lord I know people who can. And I’m perfectly fine with paying them to do what I can’t do. It’s liberating to have such self-assurance my life, but I wasn’t always so confident in being myself.
Not long after the birth of my first child, I started reading parenting blogs. Most of them were filled with postings about cutting PB&J sandwiches into cute shapes and creating fun crafts using burlap and bottle caps. None of this would’ve appealed to me before, but I suddenly felt pressured to be the best mom for my son.
That’s when I became obsessed with what I like to call Pinterest Porn. Every beautiful picture made me think “I have to try that.” Then, I sadly realized it was unattainable. This just led me to another beautiful photo of an even more unattainable DIY project. Pinterest itself is not a bad thing, but the the way it can make a woman feel is bad. For someone as competitive as me, every project becomes a challenge to conquer.
I realized I had a problem when I had wasted three bags of powdered sugar trying to make a cake in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. That’s perhaps the simplest shape to accomplish—three circles. But instead of a head and two ears, my rendition looked more like two sad little planets orbiting too close to the sun. Meanwhile, my frosting was the same consistency of ice cream . . . well, that is, after it melts and refreezes. With all the money I had spent on sugar, flour, cake pans, food coloring, and a rolling pin, I could’ve almost paid for a “real” cake. As you might have guessed, I had to buy a real cake anyway.
That was an eye-opening experience for me. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be that perfect Pinterest person. And that’s OK. After all, people who bake cakes and sell décor for a living love people like me who keep them in business. Most importantly though, I learned to love me for me.
While all of those DIY projects might look cool, I’ve learned that DIY can have multiple meanings. In some cases, it’s best to interpret this acronym as “Don’t Insult Yourself.” Not everyone is supposed to be a crafting queen. The only reason it looks like all moms can do crafts and cook is because that’s what most moms write about on their blogs.
For every woman who can smock and bake or who owns a vinyl press and an assortment of paint brushes, there are dozens of others who have created nothing besides their children. And what could be better than that? The key to being a great mom isn’t in all the cool things we can make for our home but in being the best versions of ourselves.
I will never cease to be amazed at all the talents my Pinterest Princess friend displays in her home. My kids have so much fun there when we visit their family, and so do I. But what really makes her a good mom is that she loves her kids and that they feel loved.
My son is old enough now to know that the only things his mom makes are articles and jokes. He has even started using phrases like “For my next birthday, I want you to buy a cake like . . .” Smart boy. He knows to say “buy” rather than “bake.” He is learning that although I can’t do things that other moms can, I also can do things that other moms can’t.
So, next time you’re elbow deep in some powdered sugar trying to create a cake castle, give yourself a break. Maybe you can hand-pipe camo icing on a cake. If so, go for it! But if you’re more like me, leave the icing to the experts. The key is to be confident in who you are and focus on your strengths, not try to be and do everything you see online. You will feel better about life and serve as a great example of true success for your children.
About the Author: Kaci Lane Hindman can best be described as an unconventional Southern Belle with a sarcastic sense of humor. She loves Alabama, writing, and writing about Alabama. She is married to the walking definition of a high-tech redneck, and together they have two young children.