There are few things in this world that make my blood boil quite like being called a “Pinterest Mom.”
I actually don’t mind being associated with Pinterest, but I do mind the implied tone that comes with the “Pinterest Mom” label.
There are tons of memes about it, and a simple Google search of the term leads you to places like Buzzfeed and popular mommy blog sites. If you have somehow remained unscathed by the term yourself, a “Pinterest Mom” is a crafter, party planner, and decorator extraordinaire. As Huffpost describes her, “She hand-cuts themed washi tape into jack-o-lantern faces for cups of yogurt dip for an after-school snack. She gleefully volunteers for every single crafty thing in your kid’s class and coordinates it with (how freakin’ dare she?!) joy.”
If you think about it, you’ve probably either called someone a Pinterest Mom or been called one yourself. You either see someone share a photo of crafting with their child, or of the picture-perfect outing they’re on, and suddenly, the next thing you know, the phrase spills out of your mouth like a dart: “Ugh, what a Pinterest Mom.”
I think that as moms, we have enough pressure from the world about how to parent the “right way” without adding to that pressure with our snarky judgments.
I also believe that part of what makes us all stronger in motherhood is supporting other moms. I mean, if you make a habit of attacking and judging someone who is doing the same job as you, it’s not a huge leap to imagine that you think of yourself in these same negative, dismissive tones. If crafting for every holiday and arranging raisins into a smiley face makes you happy, then you do you, girl. If tossing a box of raisins at your kid while looking at the calendar and realizing it’s Halloween tomorrow and your kid is going to wear their pajamas as a costume (again), that’s cool too! (I have done both of these things).
Don’t get me wrong, I think that if someone is being the picture-perfect Pinterest Mom because they feel that they have a certain image to uphold, that’s definitely something they should unpack and work through. However, if another mom gets serious joy out of being extra, why shame her for it? What another mom does to find joy in parenthood is really none of my business.
For me, when I do special projects with my child it’s because I want to and because art brings me joy. I also like color-coded spreadsheets and use a planner. I love planning parties and hand-crafting decor. I have always been this way. As a kid, I Mod Podged everything I could get my hands on and planned my birthday party theme months in advance (just ask my poor mother, who is probably still vacuuming glitter out of her carpets from 1997).
Here’s what spurred me to write this post on Pinterest Moms:
This morning I sent some friends a picture of my daughter creating some Valentines for her classmates at childcare. I decided on a project that was handmade but also easy. I took a piece of white copy paper and drew hearts on it, then let my daughter go to town with glitter glue and paint. When the paint was dry, I cut out the hearts and taped them to baggies filled with (store-bought, the horror!) goodies. If I was a true Pinterest Mom, the Valentines themselves would be entirely handmade, as would the treats, and I would have woven the bags myself with leftover yarn. I’m sure the treats would also be gluten, sugar, and food dye-free, and not the fruit snacks and sunglasses I chose. But that’s beside the point.
This project achieved three goals:
1.) It kept my kiddo off of the television, which she has been watching more than I’d like lately due to illness.
2.) It kept me from having to stay up all night crafting and baking for a bunch of two-year-olds who wouldn’t know or care that I had put that time in.
3.) It allowed me to engage creatively with my child for 30 minutes, which is something I love.
I sent a cute photo of my daughter engrossed in painting to a friend, and then it came. “Lol. You’re such a Pinterest Mom!” She added a laughing crying emoji at the end, I’m sure because she thought it was funny. This was followed by, “Thanks for making the rest of us look bad! Haha.”
Haha. Laughing emojis.
I didn’t find her judgment funny, I found it hurtful.
I enjoy spending time being creative with my child and I don’t feel I should have to apologize for it or hide it from anyone. Whatever happened to supporting other moms? I think if we are going to truly be supportive of each other in our motherhood journeys, then we all need to start adopting what I call the “Amy Poehler Mentality.” In her memoir, Poehler says the following which has really stuck with me and transformed how I think about the actions of other moms:
I have many friends who have had a natural childbirth. I applaud them. I have friends who have used doulas and birthing balls and pushed out babies in tubs and taxicabs. I have a friend who had two babies at home! In bed! Her name is Maya Rudolph! She is a baby champion and she pushed her cuties out Little House on the Prairie style!
Good for her! Not for me.
That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.
The truth is I’m a lousy Pinterest Mom. I don’t make everything from scratch. While I do have tons of Pinterest boards, most of them never amount to anything. While I do go overboard with decorating, I use box mix for birthday cakes and brownies and am proud of it.
But even if I was the craftiest, crunchiest, most Pinterest-perfect Mom, why does it matter? If planning, crafting, and projects bring me joy, how does that affect how you parent? It shouldn’t at all, right?
If crafting with your kid or baking homemade treats isn’t your thing, that’s cool, and I support your preference. But if it is, I support that too. I think what I have learned in my past few years as a new mom, is that if we aren’t supporting each other then how can we possibly expect the rest of the world to?
And about this morning… You might see the photos I shared of the bags all taped up with their cute hearts on them, or my child painting away in the morning light. But what you don’t see is the zoomed-out view of the whole picture.
The reality is my giant, nine-months pregnant belly. I am tired and sore. I have a migraine. Probably TMI, but the entire picture is that I also have a yeast infection from antibiotics for a sinus infection as the cherry on top. I just spent five days on lockdown in my house, one of which was my birthday, because my toddler has influenza. We’re both feeling pretty stir crazy. My coffee is barely finished, but I chugged it cold rather than re-heat it for the third time today. There’s a towel thrown over my laptop because I spilled yet another cup of water near it. The laptop is there because, in addition to doing a craft with my toddler, I work from home on Mondays and was trying to get work done while she painted.
But I shouldn’t have to explain any of that. I shouldn’t have to justify my simple moment of creative and messy joy by giving a narrative of the chaos around it. And I don’t think you should have to explain either.