About a year ago–when I was spending about 8 hours a day sitting in a chair nursing my newborn–I discovered the addictive internet time-suck called Pinterest. For those of you who have managed to evade the world of Pinterest and pins and pinners and all that is “pinteresting”, let me fill you in.
Pinterest is a website where you basically create virtual bulletin boards of images from the internet. Each “board” is a collection of ideas and inspirations that you create and share with others on the website. You might have one board full of cooking ideas, another with birthday party ideas, another with fashion tips, and so on.
When I last checked, I had over 20 different boards chock-full of amazing ideas. Ideas that, last time I checked, have pretty much all remained at the “I should try that some time” stage. Because, you see, Pinterest is not reality.
I like the idea of beautiful organization and creative DIY projects and over-the-top parties. But I can’t do that stuff. Pinterest is beautiful and clean and well-planned–real life, though, tends to be more chaotic and dirty and thrown-together. Here are a few examples of how my real life compares to the magical world of Pinterest.
Pinterest: Cute little bins for each day of the week to entertain your child during quiet time. Each bin is full of interesting activities that will captivate even the most restless of preschoolers. Reality: About two weeks ago David gave up his naps. Cold turkey. He’d always taken a 2-3 hour snooze in the afternoon and then, out of the blue, he just quit taking naps one day–and he hasn’t looked back. So now we have “quiet time”–time where he is supposed to retreat to his room and rest or play quietly for half an hour so I can prep dinner or watch YouTube videos in peace. I have discovered, however, that the quieter he is during his quiet time, the more trouble he’s getting in to. Case in point: Moral of the story: the only thing worse than a noisy 3-year old boy is a quiet 3-year old boy.
Pinterest: Cute, hip, trendy, fashionable. This is how I should look. Reality: My baby would smash bananas on the cute shirt, my 3-year old would break the shiny glasses, I’d trip in the ooh-la-la shoes, and the bag would be full of diapers and spit-up rags. My mommy uniform of choice consists of black yoga pants, a technical shirt and my fuzzy Ugg-inspired slippers. If you ever see me looking even remotely cute or hip or fashionable, you know I’m just putting on a show for you.
Reality: We recently moved into a smaller space (and, by smaller, I mean that Jacob literally sleeps in a closet now). We have to make the space work for us. And, by work for us, I mean we have stuff crammed into every nook and cranny we can find. Jacob’s closet consists of his jackets, boxes for the too-big/too-small baby clothes, a laundry basket full of diapers and wipes, more diapers piled up the sides of the closet, a Pac-N-Play on the floor, and luggage piled up to the ceiling. Hey, it works.
Pinterest: Dazzle your child with this rainbow-layered sprinkle cake. Reality: I made a sprinkle cake, too: chocolate cake mix from a box, topped with sprinkles. …and within about 2 seconds, it looked like this: I bet mine was just as yummy, though!
Pinterest: Look at this cute way to organize all of your child’s art and craft supplies. Cute, cute, cute. Perfect little jars arranged on a shelf. Notice how each jar contains exactly one type of supply. Notice also how all of the crayons are in one piece with their wrappers on, the markers all have lids, and the chalk is unused. Reality: We have a large Rubbermaid bin that I stash under a bench in our kitchen. Into this bin we stuff all of our crayons, paint, markers, Play-doh and stickers and we pull it out any time we feel like getting crafty. And, just so you know, half of the markers are lid-less and all of the crayons are in tiny, broken shards.
Pinterest: A DIY family rules sign. Charming. All you have to do is go out to the woods, chop down a tree, plane the wood until you have a smooth working surface, prime the wood, paint the wood, apply a second coat of paint, create text stencils on your Cricut, adhere the text with a glossy varnish, “weather” the wood with sandpaper, and drink a glass of wine to reward your hard work.
Reality: I bought this sign on Etsy. It took me less than two minutes to select the product, enter my credit card info, and hit “submit order”. I still drank a glass of wine to celebrate a job well done.
So, Pinterest: I love you. I hate you. You inspire me, you guilt-ify me. In the end, though, you really just entertain me. I know that I can never live up to your unrealistic expectations, and that’s fine by me. I’m just gonna keep on going the best way I know how–and it’s gonna be messy, and unorganized, and frumpy. It’s gonna be real.