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.