A friend of mine had a party for her two year old this past fall (her adorable, highly articulate, and abnormally verbal 2 year old, lol). The theme was "Barnyard" or "Farm" because this little girl, like many 2 year olds, loves animals! The decor at this party was out of this world. A chocolate cake outlined with kit kat bars that resembled a mud hole, complete with little pink fondant pigs face down in the mud and even backstroking through the chocolate. There was no question my dear friend had looked to Pinterest. Pinterest has become a phenomenon. It's used for marketing, product pushing, inspiration, propaganda, education, etc., but it's also become a major cause of "mom guilt" for many mothers.
The friend who threw this party is a highly intellgent, lifelong overachiever, and I believe she genuinely enjoys doing things she finds on Pinterest or in Parenting magazines for her children and her home. She is one of the few people I know who pin something to an inspiration board and then actually do it. She's an amazing mother, wife, and friend, but not because of Pinterest. I admire her creativity, but I also know she does it because she enjoys it, not because she feels the need to.
But, there's another type of Pinterest mom. There's the mom that throws elaborate birthday parties that she planned a year in advance and stayed up nights for weeks to complete projects for. She organizes elaborate playdates that are so elaborate, in fact, that the children aren't able to explore and play for fear of messing up mommy's work. She packs elaborate lunches that teach the child to expect a heart shaped sandwich or castle built from cookies. The kids who's mommies don't do this just aren't loved as much, right? She does things like this to feel validated as a mother and to show the world what a great mother she is. It's even better if she can master Pinterest, work part-time, cook dinner, and lose the baby weight in under 6 months. Wow, what a great mom! (please note the sarcasm).
Don't get me wrong-Pinterest is awesome! I love it! In fact, I may play on it some this afternoon and I'm sure to use all kinds of cute, fun Pinterest ideas with my own children! But, when did it become the measuring stick for mothers? When did mothers start competing in motherhood anyway? It used to be that women bonded together and raised their children together as a community and didn't feel the need to compare themselves or their children to one another. The mark for a "good mother" should not be whether she was able to pull off the things she's found on Pinterest, but it should be how strong her love is. How connected is she with her child? Has she mastered the balance between wife, mother, daughter, and friend? Does she lead her child towards spirtual growth and emotional maturity? Does the child know they're loved and love others the way they're loved?
This same friend mentioned above does not compare herself to other mothers or think she's any better than other mothers for doing all that she does. She just enjoys motherhood; the good, the bad, the ugly. She enjoys all her life roles freely without fret (at least from what I can see on the outside). She also depends on other mothers within her community, her sisters, her friends, and her husband because she recognizes this can't be done single handedly and she doesn't feel the need to act like it can be or use Pinterest as a coverup when she's at a loss.
Chelsea Vail, MA, CCLS
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