Denying My True Self Through Pinterest

I finally know what it must be like to be a drug addict. And I have Pinterest to thank for it.

Last month I thought I would just check out this thing that has become quite the little craze. I was curious, looking for something new to put a little pizzaz into what can be a sometimes hum-drum life of a stay-at-home mom. At first, I really did have control over it. I was just an occassional user, mostly because I hadn’t figured out how to bring up the page that shows you what all your friends have been pinning. I was simply using it as a glorified “favorites bar.” But then my friend Angie opened up the Pinterest world to me, and now it’s not pretty.

pinterest crafts diy
altered from photo by Kate Hiscock via Flickr (license)

Sure, the site has been a virtually endless trove of ideas for organization, DIY crafts, party ideas, and the like. But if there has ever been something that has made me feel such an unnerving combination of hope and self-loathing, I have yet to come across it. As my eyes flutter among the hundreds of ways I can improve my life, be a better mother, have a nicer home, and make more satisfying dinners,  I am at first exhilarated by the promise of what we all secretly desire, but few admit: to move one step closer to Martha Stewart status, one of the most highly prized components of the ever-elusive SuperMom. But here is where that double-edge sword does its handy work. The only thing that promise ever really seems to do is remind me of all the areas I am supposedly falling short in. Becoming panicky at the idea that I totally suck at life, I almost mindlessly grab a pen and start making a list of materials I need to buy at Michael’s to make this nifty little menu planning board that will surely revolutionize my family’s dinners. Yes, the menu planning board. If I just make this menu board, I will eradicate all those inferiorities I feel as the nourisher of my loved ones. But chances are, after I end up spending $35 on supplies and hours of time I don’t really have creating this board, I will still end up staring into my refrigerator at 5:15 pm wondering for the first time all day what I can throw together for dinner. Here comes the self-loathing again…and here comes Pinterest with my next fix.

I have to face reality. Pinterest is not going to change me. There are four laundry baskets of clean clothes sitting in my front hallway as I write, and at least some of them will likely be there again tomorrow. The day I put away all the laundry the same day I do it will be the day you need to suspect the pod people have finally made it to earth. My car has smelled like Wendy’s for three days now, probably because there is a wrapper or stray french fry in some crevice, and finding it just really is not on my “to do” list at the moment. I will continue to be the kind of person who one day decides she needs to clean the house like a freak until you can eat off of every surface, but on a regular basis is too lazy to throw her dirty clothes down the laundry chute and instead tosses them on the floor right in front of it. I will forever be someone who craves organization, but can never stay organized. All the DIY crafts in the world can not save me from myself. If my Pinterest boards reflected reality, they would have titles like Television Shows I Watch While My Kid Naps, Things I Always Meant to Scrapbook and Never Did, Things I Convince My Kids to Do So I Don’t Have to Do Arts & Crafts With Them, and of course Favorite Recipes, with only two pins, “Spaghetti with canned pasta sauce” and “Imo’s Pizza.”

Fortunately, I read something today that made me feel okay about that. I am sure many of you by now have heard of the blog “People I Want to Punch in the Throat,” home of the now infamous post, “Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies.” She posted an interview that DC Metro Mom had done with her, and she said something that really resonated with me: “There’s a real movement out there to manufacture memories for your children and I just don’t buy it. Every day is not a party and kids don’t need it to be.” Pin that, Pinterest. Jen is my guru for the day.

My kids aren’t going to fondly remember that mom had this kick-arse menu planning board and 25 different ways to make zucchini. They are going to remember the time I was too tired to cook and let them have cereal right out of the box for dinner. Or maybe they won’t. But they will remember that when they were hungry, I had food for them (well, except for maybe today…the cuppards are pretty bare because I am bound and determined to wait until $10 off Thursday at Shop ‘n’ Save).

Don’t get me wrong, fellow pinners; I will not be entering Pinterest rehab anytime soon. I doubt my enthusiasm will even be curbed. I may have just uncovered it as a harbor of the manufactured mother myth, but a girl can still have dreams. I may be smart enough to realize Pinterest will not change my inferiorities, but I am also smart enough to realize that if I stop striving to be better, I am not really living at all.

And to prove it, I just went and moved those four laundry baskets out of the front hallway and into my bedroom so that the pizza delivery guy wouldn’t see them and judge me as the housekeeping slug that I am.

By the way, you can pin this is you want to.

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