SAHM, working moms, free-range moms, helicopter moms, granola moms, soccer moms…
Society seems to be obsessed with using a few of our identifying characteristics to label us as a specific type of parent and individual, despite the fact that it is our differences that make us unique and interesting. But we all do it. We can easily judge one another based on the type of mom they are without really knowing anything about them. So, what’s your label?
I am the PINTEREST MOM.
The internet is full of articles bashing the “Pinterest Mom” and making assumptions that we are all over-achievers obsessed with making other moms feel inadequate. We apparently strive to create a home in which our children will grow up to believe every day is full of magic and that they are, in fact, the center of the universe. We do this through meticulously designed school lunches, over-the-top theme birthday parties, and adorable homemade holiday treats and gifts.
Well, I am here to tell you that I DO make my children meticulously designed school lunches, I DO throw over-the-top themed birthday parties (depending on your definition of ‘over-the-top’, I suppose), and I DO make incredibly adorable holiday treats and gifts. However, I don’t do it with other moms in mind. Frankly, I don’t really do it for my kids. It is because this is who I am. This is what I love to do. Sure, my kids benefit from it, but I do not think that is what will define their childhood.
Pinterest is no longer just for the crafty moms. It offers something for everyone – the workout buff, the travel enthusiast, and those interested in learning about cars, technology, pop culture, or new parenting strategies. For me, Pinterest has officially replaced Google and serves as my visual search engine. It can lead me anywhere I want to go on the internet (while distracting me simultaneously, of course). I have been a member since the beginning. (Remember when you needed to be invited to join?)
But the truth is, I’ve been creating my own ‘pin boards’ way before Pinterest.
I began by creating countless folders of semi-organized magazine clippings. In fact, that’s how I started ‘pinning’ my wedding back in 2007. Then, I started searching Google images to copy and paste photos and arrange them into collages in Microsoft Word. So, the concept of Pinterest was not new to me – in fact, it felt as if Pinterest was created for me, customized specifically for the way my brain works. With or without Pinterest, I would still be considered a “Pinterest Mom”.
Remember that feeling of excitement you got as a child the night before your birthday or Christmas? That is the same feeling I have as I go to bed, eager for the night to pass so I can wake up and begin a project. I will admit to being a very good sleeper, so insomnia is a foreign concept to me EXCEPT when I am planning an event.
My mind will race all night with color schemes, adorable bite-sized appetizers, themes, and elaborate desserts and favors.
This is something I truly enjoy doing.
I don’t actually believe my kids will gain anything from having me plan a fantastic themed party. I can admit that I selfishly use their parties as a way for me to express my own creativity (using their interests, of course). I challenge myself with new cake designs, recipes, decorations, and activities.
I recognize that I
may be am on the extreme end of the ‘crafty mom’ spectrum. But, here are a few of my confessions that I think (hope) many “Pinterest Moms” can relate to at some level.
1) I can’t have nice things.
Wait, what? I thought Pinterest was all about having nice things. Well, this occurred to me the other day when I was brushing my hair and got side-tracked by one of my necklaces hanging on my (handmade) jewelry board. It was no more than ten minutes later that I found myself sitting on the living room floor with my jewelry pliers disassembling the jewels to repurpose for a current project. This was not the first time I’ve done this. I’m embarrassed to admit how many articles of clothing I’ve ripped apart for the fabric or perfectly good furniture that I’ve refinished (over…and over… and over).
2) I am not the ‘ideal’ wife.
We assume most men would love to marry a great homemaker, and who would make a better home than a Pinterest Mom? Let’s just say, when reciting our vows, we should have added “in piles of craft supplies all over our house” after “in sickness and in health”. I know there are crafters out there with impeccable homes, but let me be clear when I say I am NOT one of them. Luckily, I met my husband in high school when my crafts were still confined within the walls of my bedroom at my parents’ house.
3) I have the same amount of time as you.
I’ve had a lot of people assume over the years that I must have tons of free time to bake and craft. The truth is, I have the same amount of time in my day as you do. We’re all busy in different ways. I just prioritize my time differently (not better, just differently). In fact, I would not suggest for anyone to spend their time the way I do, unless you want to regularly feel sleep deprived while also feeling as if you haven’t accomplished anything. I wait for the kids to go down for nap and then, instead of doing the dishes or picking up toys, I work on projects. I regularly stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. working on projects just because I enjoy it. That is my ‘me time’. Despite how tired I am, I genuinely love being awake when the rest of the house is asleep. When no one is shouting “Mom, I need…” and I feel completely free.
4) Homemade does not equal cheap.
Sure, there is the occasional project that I can whip up from materials I have around my home. But, unless you are purchasing your supplies for wholesale prices, it is easy to spend the same (if not considerably more) money making something than just buying it. Therefore, if you are someone (like myself) who has created a business for yourself, you may be able to relate to spending considerable amounts of money and time working on a project only to hope that you will find someone, someday, to purchase it just so you can ‘break even’. (I never said business was my strong suit.)
5) If I can make it, I don’t buy it.
This is probably the hardest to admit, but if I’m being completely honest, I have to say that if I see something I like and I think I can make it myself, I won’t buy it. This doesn’t mean that I actually have any intention of making it, but simply if it looks like I can make it I won’t pick it up off the shelf. I seem to have some completely unreasonable fear of people asking if I made something and have to admit ‘no’. Ridiculous? Yes. Truth? Absolutely.
Like anyone else, I want to put my ‘best foot forward’ on social media. It’s not to brag or to make anyone feel inadequate, it’s because I’m proud (yet still highly critical) of my work and I want to share it. That’s it.
But, this is what my house looks like right now. To be brutally honest, this picture of my kitchen is actually after I just spent some time cleaning. It’s nice to be reminded of what life is like ‘behind the scenes’ as we browse social media.
Even my very extensive glitter and rhinestone collection is not even enough to make my ‘real-life’ as glamorous as my ‘Instagram-life’.
Hopefully these images show you I’m just a real mom. I’m not an ‘over-achieving’ mom. However, if you want to label me, I’m a ‘Pinterest mom’. But, if you get to know me, you’ll learn I’m much more than that. I am an artist.
I’ve spent years pinning the perfect recipes and adorable mason jar projects like the rest of us. But more recently, I use Pinterest to learn skills and techniques to create my own art. Of course we all love a free printable for teacher’s appreciation week, but that’s not what interests me most. I would like to thank all the artists out there that have taken the time to set up tutorials for me to learn from and enhance my own artwork. Each time I learn a new skill it opens countless doors to what I can create.
I may not be able to teach my daughters the rules of soccer or set a great example when it comes to housekeeping. However, I can nurture their creativity in ways that teach them to appreciate the simple joys in everyday life, foster a strong sense of identity, and develop essential problem solving skills. I hope that as they grow and reflect on their childhood, they will not be focused on the messes, but instead they will remember the memories we created together.
So, whatever type of mom you are, embrace your strengths and use them to nurture your relationship with your children, because ultimately that is what they will remember.