The Pinterest Trap

I walked into a friend’s house recently and couldn’t escape the feeling that Pinterest had thrown up allover her living room. Every nook and cranny of her home was filled with homemade crafts, elaborate chore charts and uplifting thoughts plastered on decorative tiles.

My first reaction was the same one I always have: “I am lame. She is awesome. I am going to copy her ideas and I will be awesome, too.”

It’s the same feeling I get each time I scroll through sites like Pinterest. The cycle is always the same: I spend my precious time looking through everything from how to make flower fabric doilies to creating chore charts that are clearly the key to my children being successful in life. In the end, I just feel overwhelmed — defeated before I’ve even started on a single idea.

Sites like Pinterest can be incredible tools for mothers to help enrich our homes and spread ideas. But sites sometimes make me feel like the worst mother of all time. In an attempt to edify and simplify the lives of mothers, these sites (and even well-meaning mommy blogs) can sometimes be our worst enemies: a portal into other people’s lives that only show the most wonderful moments and most perfect homes.

It always seems like these other online moms have perfect lives: smiling kids who never misbehave, a well-organized home complete with chore systems and poster-sized summer bucket lists and enough spare time to stick adorable love notes into their children’s sack lunches (which are well-balanced, homemade and educational, by the way.)

I remind myself in these moments that these singular crafts and moments on a mother’s blog are just that: singular. A mother who posts about her amazing mother-of-the-year museum outing with her children may also have fallen asleep on the couch while her 4-year-old watched TV for an hour. That little tidbit won’t make it on the blog, however.

If I lined up only the photos of all the fun outings, adorable moments and crafts I’ve done with my kids, my life would seem unattainably awesome, too.

I also remind myself that all the homemade crafts and recipes in the world can’t make a good mother. The only thing that can do that is time and love — two things that definitely cannot be found on Pinterest, no matter how many hours you search.

Do you ever feel inadequate when looking through sites like Pinterest or other mothers’ blogs? How do you keep perspective?

 

8 comments

  1. Cat

    I stay away from mother blogs because it did make me feel inadequate. Then I realized that most of those blogs are not written by people like me. I’ve got 6 kids ages 20 to 5. I work full time. I have a chronicly ill husband who sometimes it’s all he can do to go to work. I have a yard and a house to take care of. I have a child that sometimes requires urgent care (usually weekends and evenings) when he’s ill. I also have my own medical issues to deal with. The few blogs that I have read, the moms are SAHM and only have a few young children. They have spouses that are healthy and can do things like garden, mow, dig, build and repair. I have learned to stay away from things like pinteret because they make me feel bad about myself. It also bugs me that often I can’t find the instructions on how to do some of the things that I find there.

  2. John Charity Spring

    Pintrest is no different than Facebook in one crucial aspect: it is a frivolous time waster that takes a mother’s focus away from her children. As such, it should be condemned.

    Any mother who spends her time on Facebook or Pintrest, instead of with her child, is subjecting that child to increased risk of substance abuse and participation in immoral conduct. Can any loving mother really claim that the risk is worth it?

    • Elizabeth

      You spend a lot of time condemning things John Charity. I don’t think those things should be condemned, I think we all are striving to have proper balance in our lives. I have Facebook AND Pinterest, and you know what? I am a really good mother. Why? Because I spend time with my son, AND enjoy other things as well. Just because you spend some time on those things doesn’t mean your child is going to become a drug addict. Yikes.

  3. Momof7

    I’m so lame, I can’t even figure out how to follow Pinterest! I signed on just to delete my account 5 minutes later. My children are lucky to have sheets on their beds let alone cutesie decorations on the wall. Any decorations they have, they put up themselves.

  4. CC Harris

    Pinterest is a very useful tool but it should only be considered as such and not as a reflection of how your life should be lived. It is great to organize ideas and pictures of things that you find interesting and that would otherwise clog your computer and slow it down. I use pinterest as a file cabinet and that works great for me. I do not compare my life to others because I am unique and so is my life. Besides, who has the time to do so? I celebrate the good ideas others have and I am happy I found those little tidbits of genius.

  5. The Yellow Wiggle

    Pinterest is for those with no imagination or creativity. Whenever I know someone used Pinterest to make something, I know they are not that creative.

  6. Day80

    Well said, CC Harris! Pinterest is great for ideas. Yes, I am creative considering I am an actress and an artist, but that doesn’t mean I can come up with every single idea that will work. Yellow Wiggle, if you have ever asked for someone’s opinion or consulted a recipe book, you are not creative either.

    John, I usually agree with you to a point, but I don’t sit and watch my children nap or stare at the wall, patiently waiting for them to come home from a friend’s house. I am allowed my own time when my children are taken care of or not in my home.

    I use Pinterest to shop! 🙂 It might sound odd, but we are really buckling down on our finances and when I feel like I just want to shop, I go on Pinterest and pin outfits or furniture or whatever I can’t afford and it gets it all out of my system. I have also made some amazing recipes from there. You just have to remember that every mom is different, every child is different. And you are right, Erin, they really are singular moments. I saw a mom that has a very popular blog in IKEA a few months ago. Her kids always look clean, cute and well behaved. But in IKEA she looked like she was about to rip her hair out. Everyone is still human, and as long as you remember that I really don’t think its a big deal.

  7. MomTrain

    I found Pinterest and I LOVE it. It has made my life better. Not because I compare with any of those rad Mom blogs who have the perfect houses and perfect everything and seem to have an endless supply of money too! (You know the ones I am talking about!) I love Pinterest because it HAS simplified my life. Have you checked out the stuff you can do with vinegar and baking soda? 🙂 I make the BEST homemade lemonade (easy, fresh squeezed, and oh so delish) from someone off of Pinterest. I repainted my kitchen from drab to fab (cheap and awesome) because of Pinterest. I have made the best steak marinade and dessert from Pinterest. So I know the traps that everyone can fall into and I get that but for me, it has been one of the BEST things ever.

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