I have a confession to make. I’m a wanna be Pinterest Mom. I say wanna be because I have not reached the true levels of epic parenting worthy of a Pinterest board. My rice crispy treat Christmas trees looked…terrible. I mean, absolutely terrible. But my reindeer cookies turned out adorable! My Ninja Break cookies fell to pieces, but my sock snowmen are my daughter’s favorite Christmas decoration, and maybe I’m still sweeping up glitter from when Santa visited last year (I sort of forgot I have cats who play in the fireplace), but it’s been a year and my daughter is still talking about it. I save more pins than I’ll ever even attempt to try, but I do try some of them, and maybe I give nothing back to the pinning community, but only because all my creative energy goes into writing. I want to make cute bento lunches and have a cool new craft every day. I want to be that mom. But it just takes so much effort, so I settle for using cute sandwich cutters and sticker books then call it a day.
Despite my laziness (and please don’t misinterpret this. I’m not saying Moms that don’t do those things are lazy. I’m saying I’M lazy because I totally could. I have the time. I have the craft materials. I have the inclination) I don’t stress about it overmuch because my daughter is happy and healthy and loved. If the Pinterest Moms stopped doing all their awesomeness, their kids would also be happy and healthy and loved. I don’t think any particularly crafty mom is under the impression the only way their children will survive to adulthood is with unique bento lunches and themed snacks.
But you know what? It DOES make their kids happy (if you don’t think cute shaped snacks make a children happy, you haven’t spent much time with a five year old) and it makes Moms happy to do things that make their kids happy. And if they have the time, and the materials, and the inclination, what harm does it do as long as they aren’t being utter snobs about it?
I’m so tired of people accusing these moms of showing off when they post their cute ideas to Pinterest with detailed instructions, so that people like me, who just can’t think of one more elf on the shelf pose to save their lives can also get in on the creative mom magic. I’m tired of people looking at these moms and feeling threatened, or saying they’re pathetic, or have some sick need to live through their children and it’s really all about them because the kids don’t care. I’m tired of people linking this to entitlement culture and saying that somehow, leaving carrots for the reindeer along with Santa’s cookies is going to lead to spoiled children who grow up and become useless members of society.
It needs to stop
Children hear their moms making snippy comments about someone having too much time on their hands and it makes a powerful impression. People without children, people who are not impacted whatsoever by the existence of cute deserts of elves on shelves, jump in to make fun of these women whose only sin is that they’re trying to do something cute and fun.
I’ve seen these women deflate. I’ve seen unbelievably crafty, talented moms who used to take so much joy in planning these moments flush when they talk about them. “Oh, it’s silly,” or “it really didn’t take that much time,” or “I don’t normally…” all because people took something they loved, something that wasn’t hurting anyone at all, and ripped it to shreds in the name of humor.
That alone would be sad enough, but here’s the thing, the attack of Pinterest moms (or for that matter any attack on moms who aren’t crafty, who work, who don’t work, who breast feed, who don’t breastfeed, who attach, who free range, who wear green, whatever) is a symptom of a larger problem. Everything that women do, everything that women enjoy, is under constant attack, mostly by other women.
Women who enjoy dressing up and putting on makeup and coordinating everything try to hard.Women who don’t make that effort are lazy, terrible people. Books that appeal to women, like Twilight, are torn to shreds on a level that books that appeal to boys, like Maze Runner, never do. Boys who read Twilight are judged on a level that girls who read Maze Runner never are. “Not like other girls” is a heavy compliment. “Boy” shows are literally cancelled if too many girls like them.
This constant critique, the constant belittling of all things girls could possibly get any enjoyment from, has a powerful effect on society. Women are constantly trying to strike a balance, because if they try too hard they get torn to shreds, but if they don’t do anything they’ll be judged just as harshly. Mostly this results in a lot of hedging. “Oh, this old thing.” “Yeah, I just had a lot of time on my hands this morning.” “Oh, I know, I look terrible, I just…” “Oh, I know it’s silly, but….”
It needs to stop. Women need to stop apologizing for getting enjoyment out of the things they like. And we need to stop making other women feel like they have to. This season, let’s make an effort to stop ripping each other to shreds.
Starting with Pinterest moms.