01 Aug Pinterest Pressure
I can honestly say that I have a perfect life; on Pinterest, anyway. I love Pinterest! If you looked at my boards, you’d think I float around my house with a fairy wand full of Pinterest magic. A little sprinkle here and my house is perfectly clean and organized. A little sprinkle there and my family only eats the healthiest of meals, prepared from organic foods that don’t grow in the soil, but are lovingly cradled in the arms of an angel until they’re at their peak of perfection. A sprinkle over my children, and *poof!* they are dressed in the finest of clothes, their hair combed, with big smiles on their cherubic faces as they are entertained for hours by the craft kits I’ve lovingly put together for them. Wait, one more sprinkle of magical Pinterest dust over my own head, and I’m fit, thin, and glossy magazine perfect; not a hair out of place; not a wrinkle in my clothes, or on my face; wearing 3-inch heels that kiss my perfectly painted toes with each step. Ha! I wish.
A 2013 survey conducted by NBC News found that 42% of the 7,000 moms surveyed felt some sort of pressure attributed to Pinterest. There are entire threads on wedding forums on the stress of trying to throw a Pinterest-perfect wedding, and how to incorporate the hundreds of mason jars they’ve bought into their wedding décor; trust me, mason jars are hot commodities in the Pinterest-dom, especially for weddings. I have found multiple threads on parenting boards, about how frustrated the moms are from their houses not being clean enough, to their kids not being interested in any of the 500 crafts on their “Summer Fun” board.
The pressure is real! It has even sparked a website called Pinterest Fail, which showcases some truly disastrous attempts at recreating things people have pinned. To be fair, though, many of the fails are fails because directions weren’t followed correctly. Unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, altering plans or recipes by using something ‘close’ to what’s called for, will rarely lead to good results. Others, well, bless their hearts.
I am so not immune to the pressures of Pinterest. I have a thing for decorating the front porch of my house. It’s usually not elaborate-by my standards-and generally includes a wreath, on the door, most of them made by me, along with a few other random coordinating bits, and bobs to go with the season or holiday. I always have a vision in my mind, some inspired by Pinterest, and can spend a ridiculous amount of time tweaking, and moving things around until I’m satisfied.
Last year, my neighbor came out, just as I was finishing up my 4th of July decorations, and told me my porch was Pinterest-worthy. Ho.Ly.Cow! I got the craziest high off that statement. While I didn’t quite think so, it was the biggest compliment to hear that I had done something that someone thought was worthy of Pinterest! As insane, and yes, shallow, as it sounds, I felt like I had achieved something. I didn’t know what, but…something! The problem then became how I would outdo myself for each new décor change. If I had a Pinterest-worthy porch for one holiday or season, I couldn’t let myself slide back into the mediocre! I had to be Pinterest-worthy all year long! I’m not going to lie, within an hour of her comment, I began obsessing over my August décor. I scoured Pinterest for HOURS, looking for new ideas, and pinning thousands-seriously, thousands-of amazing photos that I could never duplicate perfectly in a million years. Never mind that the inside of my house was a hot mess, and laundry was piling up, my porch must always be Pinterest perfect!!! As ridiculous as it sounds, I was feeling some serious Pinterest pressure, to the point I was making myself utterly insane.
I finally had to take a big step back and realize that, while Pinterest is certainly great for inspiration, it’s simply not possible to live the lifestyle depicted in all those gorgeous pins. We torture ourselves with our perceived failures. If our kid’s birthday party doesn’t look EXACTLY like the pin found from a party professional, we often feel like we’ve let them down, even though they’d be happy with a few friends, pizzas, and cake. If our houses aren’t photo shoot ready at all times, our thighs have a bit of jiggle, or we’re not brewing our own kombucha, we’re clearly not fit for the mother/spouse/friend role. If those bloggers/diyers can achieve that level of flawlessness, and we can’t, then surely there is something wrong with us.
Why do we feel this way? Most of the people doing these projects know what they’re doing, because they’ve have been doing it for years, not just casually for kicks as a weekend project. They portray a picture of perfection, but most pinners forget that there were likely 3, 4, 5, or even more failures before the perfection they eventually posted. I’ve spoken with a few professional crafty bloggers, and they’ve all commented on how the photos posted are carefully staged, and that we don’t get to see all the madness going on around them. The area of the house or project in the photo might look stunning, but the areas just out of camera range look like a hurricane, or a wild pack of toddlers, came through tossing everything around with abandon. There is no such thing as the perfection we are shown.
There are enough things in this world for us to get stressed about, but Pinterest shouldn’t be one of them. We all have our own skills and talents, and shouldn’t feel the need to live up to someone else’s. We need to sit back, grab a cocktail, and appreciate what’s happening around us, instead of worrying that it might not be suitable for pinning.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I did, in fact, revamp my 4th of July wreath. Not to make it better than last year’s, but to make it slightly different. I couldn’t help myself; I thought it was looking tired. And yes, I did truly make it from 200+ cupcake liners, just like the one in the pin I found a few years back.
Are you on Pinterest? Have you ever felt pressure or stress over a project you attempted, but didn’t turn out quite right? Were you ever disappointed in a project you attempted? Tell me about it.
Comparison is the thief of joy-Theodore Roosevelt