Friday, September 21, 2012

Trying to live up to Pinterest

Last weekend, I threw my daughter’s third birthday party. I was riding the high of too much time on Pinterest plus heaps of denial about what I am actually capable of. I had big plans. She was going to have the most epic Wizard of Oz Party in the history of Parties, so help me. I was a mom on a mission, and nothing could stop me.

Pinterest is one of those time-sucks that I just can’t seem to pry myself away from. It’s a nice escape from the stacks of dirty dishes, toys scattering the floor, and piles upon piles of laundry waiting to be folded. It’s a beautiful world where people are dressed in sharp hand-sewn clothes, they pack lunches that look like artistic interpretations of cartoons, and they quote inspiring and encouraging phrases.

But, Pinterest has also warped my expectations and my perception of reality. I see something beautiful and artistic and amazing and my ego says “We can totally do that!” 

This is generally how it turns out:

I feel like there are two kinds of people on Pinterest: The show off and the self-loathing dreamer. I am generally the latter.

The Wizard of Oz party was great. The kids were impressed, but not in the way I envisioned. Rather than "oooohing" and "ahhhhhing" over the cake I painstakingly made, they stuck their fingers in the frosting and fought over who got the piece with the flowers on it. I'm pretty sure they would have been happy with anything covered in frosting.

They liked the obstacle course which my husband and I spent hours setting up, but it took all of five minutes for them to complete. Their favorite thing? Throwing water balloons at my neighbor who dressed up as the wicked witch. Time invested: about five minutes of filling water balloons. Totally worth it. 

More than anything, what I learned from Sunshine's Pinterest-inspired birthday party was just how silly it was of me to pay so much attention to minuscule details when it really didn't affect my daughter's happiness. It mostly just made me feel overwhelmed and tired. 

I'm not the only one. This article talks about how moms are a finite resource- we have to pick our battles. And, really, does having a photo-ready cake make up for the hours I spend in the kitchen while my kids watch too much television and I half-parent by yelling at them from the other room? Probably not. Is it worth the tantrum-filled trip to hobby lobby to get the "grass tip" Wilton frosting thingamabobber? That's a big fat "NO!"

I think my Pinterest ambitions stem from guilt. I am painfully aware of all the ways I could do better. 

But when I really think about it, doing better has nothing to do with all of those perfect things I see on Pinterest. I think the best moms probably know what to prioritize. My kids don't need a party Martha Stewart would approve of. They need a mom who isn't too overwhelmed to play with them, to let them snuggle on her lap, to read them books and build lego castles with them. They need a mom who got a solid seven hours of sleep because she wasn't frosting a cake till two a.m. They need me, in all my imperfect glory.


  1. They do need you, and you are amazing! Because I was blessed with my mom's overwhelming sense of self-confidence, when I look at pinterest I generally think 1 of 3 things: a) I could do that if I wanted to, I just don't want to. b) I bet the mom who did that ignored her kids for hours or c) good grief, kid's don't care about that.

    The party was awesome though!

  2. I made an appearance on the blog!!! :-) does that make me famous? Lol. I was so impressed with the party. I totally hear what you are saying, but I also know u put in all that hard work cause u thought Sunny deserved one hell of a party :-) good work rockstar mom!!

  3. I completely understand where you are coming from and agree with you that as parents, we all just need to do what's best for our family at any given moment with the resources we have and not worry about what someone else is doing (i.e. mom's on pinterest). It's easier said than done, but I think there is way, way too much judgement in parenting and as long as safety is not compromised I am working really hard on not making assumptions about other parents decisions. I think it is unfair to assume a parent ignored their child for hours when they throw a cute party or did not play with them during the day because they were too tired from staying up late to organize it. It's their thing. And it's okay if it's not your thing. There's too much guilt and judgement in the mommy world. It makes me sad to think people are judging children's birthday parties, but I know it happens. But, it happens in both directions. People will judge if you don't throw one or do a minimal one and people judge just as harshly if you put together a cute pinterest inspired party. In general, we all do what we feel is best for our children and I can't do anything, but support someone for that.

    I love this blog, by the way. Such great, thoughtful insights to parenting!
    -Alicia :)

    1. Oh, it's totally unfair. I didn't mean my comment to feel judgy, just funny. I probably just think those things because I am jealous that I don't have a "cute" bone in my body. No matter how hard I try (and believe me I have tried) my party favors, decor, and food never turn out looking cute and put together. sigh. But everyone has their own talents! which is a good thing.

    2. I hope nobody takes this post as judgmental towards anyone who can pull off a Pinterest-worthy party. I admire those moms! I want to be that awesome! This is just more my observation of my attempt at doing it all (and how exhausting it was since I don't have my act together the way some people do). No matter who you are, you can't do it all and sometimes it is tough coming to terms with that because I know every mom wants to do the best for their child.

  4. Ack! Sorry guys! I know you both are amazing moms who are also amazing friends who support other moms! The post was beautifully written and I know it was not your intention to judge and I really didn't think you guys specifically really were judgemental about this topic, but I will admit it is a sensitive one for me since I get a lot of jokes made about me and to me about gatherings I plan and after awhile it gets hurtful. My reply was meant as more discussion. I promise I did not think you guys were being meanies :) I am just sensitive about this as people have said really mean things in a joking way about my parties. I have got that I must have nothing better to do with my time, jokes about how I just like to dress my kid and his parties and "they" don't do that because they have more important things to do with their day etc. So, on the flip side- I feel just as crushed sometimes about what I am doing by those comments as I do by seeing perfectly put together lunches and parties that I know I am not skilled enough to pull off.

    And for the record, Taylor your party was freaking adorable and we loved every minute of it. I think you are way more cute than you give yourself credit for :)

    I apologize if I came off harsh. I promise I was just discussing and throwing out another view point as some one who loves cute and gets lots of crap for it ha ha!

    1. No worries! I love comments and really appreciate your perspective- you make a great point. I think people have a tendency to say snide or judgmental things when they are feeling a little jealous or when their ego is feeling a little bruised. Can't tell you how hard it is for me to like a really beautiful woman when I first meet her because for some dumb reason I am secretly hoping they are boring or dumb so that I can feel better about myself. Jealousy is lame but I know I struggle with it. I think the same applies to someone who throws a flawless party- so if I were you I'd just take those comments as a sign that people admire what you are capable of (and perhaps are painfully aware of their own shortcomings).

    2. I loved your perspective too and I really appreciate you speaking up! It was a good reminder to me--there is way too much judgement and I hate it when I contribute to it (even inadvertently). So thanks for calling me on it. Truthfully, you throw the awesome, adorable, parties that I wish I could pull off.