Parenting in the age of Pinterest: why I feel inadequate and utterly incapable as a crafter
This year, my oldest daughter entered kindergarten. The day before she started, I confessed to a co-worker, “I can’t decide whether or not to feel guilty about the fact that I haven’t made a cute little sign for my kid to hold in the morning.” The unmarried woman, who has no intention of becoming a mother any time soon, looked stunned. “Why would you even do that?” I thought about it for a second. “Well, I guess that’s the trend right now. To take a photo with your child on the first day of school holding a sign that says which grade they’re in, how old they are, what they want to be when they grow up and a whole host of other stuff.”
Nearly 30 years ago, my mom’s snapshot of me boarding the school bus for the first time (while simultaneously looking as though I wanted to hurl my plaid-dress clad body under the moving vehicle because I was terrified) was sufficient. So why is it all such a production now?
I blame Pinterest.
But before the cult of Pinterest followers decides to jump down my throat, I want you to understand that I use the site from time to time. I find it to be a very useful and inspiring way to spend 2 hours preparing to do a 20-minute craft. My issue with it is that it sets the bar too darn high for my liking. Call me lazy, but I think that having all the correct school supplies, a clean outfit that fits and an emotionally-prepared 5-year-old on the first day of school is enough work. I didn’t find myself twiddling my thumbs and trying to find more things to do.
The holidays are another reminder of how Pinterest is making moms feel like they need to harness their inner Martha Stewarts, make things from scratch and make them perfect (because no one wants to spend all that time just to end up with a #PinterestFail).
The past two years at Christmas time, I found myself combing Pinterest for the perfect gift ideas for teachers and daycare providers. What can my child help with? What won’t break the bank? Can I personalize it? I’ve found a few things that worked out great but in the end, I wondered if the teacher would have preferred that I save my time and buy her the universal teacher gift: a Target gift card.
And don’t even get me started on birthdays. Not long ago, it was perfectly sufficient to host a child’s party adorned with a few balloons, some crepe paper, colorful napkins and a rectangular cake that said the birthday kid’s name on it. Now it seems like there has to be an elaborate theme that’s carried out from invitations to goodie bags, decorations, signature drink flavors, 3-dimensional fondant-covered cakes and customized games. So being the mean mom that I am, I thought that I would just never give in to it all and my daughters would be oblivious to these over-the-top soirees. But then they started getting invitations to friends’ birthday parties (remind me again why I pushed for them to socialize?). We’re taught not to compare ourselves to others. But as moms, I think we can’t help but to look at the beautiful DIY creations that other families put on display at parties or send to school for the holidays.
Every time I venture into the endless options of Pinterest crafts, recipes or decorating tips, I find myself sucked in for more time than I anticipated. Then I walk around with grandiose ideas of how to refinish furniture or repurpose old household items. Before I know it, I’m wandering the aisles of a Michaels store wondering what gave me the impression that I’m capable of such tasks when I can’t even make a decision on the correct type of glue to buy for my project.
My last grievance with Pinterest is this: it eliminates the need for original creative ideas. This can be both wonderful and horrible. Wonderful for those days when you want to perform a quick search and get the answer on how to make some adorable little seasonal craft with your kids. But a real problem for kids who could otherwise imagine ways to make their own pinecone creations if their overbearing mom would just equip them with some basic tools (guilty as charged).
So I am conflicted, to say the least. On one hand, I love having an endless resource for things like kids’ activities and crafts. But on the other hand, I feel as though today’s parents are already burdened with busy schedules for their kids and demanding work lives. So why add more things to your to-do list? (Note to self, check Pinterest for cute to-do list ideas)
-By Emily Shedek