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What I Learned from Pinterest. And it’s Not What You Think.

Who are my Pinterest junkies? Do you have a board for everything? I know some of you do because I get suggestions from your pins. Pinterest is awesome! You want to know how to organize your closet? Search it. Wanna take a bicycle trip in Rome? I randomly typed that in and found hundreds of potential pins (and I kind of want to do that now). Do you want to make anything (and I mean anything) in your instant pot? It’s on there. Don't get me started on all the stuff we can put in Bento boxes. What a great tool for just about anything. I say "just about" because there is one thing Pinterest is terrible for and that’s expectations.

This actually looks yummy. Click on it to see where I got it.

It’s fun to dream about and research stuff and maybe to even use some of the ideas. But there is also danger in the Pinterest expectation game. This isn’t new. We’ve all seen the meme that says, “I wanted to be a Pinterest mom, but I’m actually an Amazon Prime mom”. But let’s say for argument sake, that you took all your boards and expected your life to look like the ideas on those boards. You would have a perfect, healthy, home-cooked meal on the table each night. Your house would be perfectly organized. And let’s not stop at just the house. You’re car, garage, yard, attic (for those who have one) and desk at work will look like, well Pinterest at all times. You’ll exercise, pray, read, serve, shop and craft perfectly. You’ll have homemade everything and be the most efficient and thrifty grocery shopper in the world. People will be talking about your parties and get-togethers for weeks afterward. Are you getting tired yet? See the lunch in that picture? My kids' lunch will never look like that. If it did, I'd lose my mind when it came home half eaten as lunches often do. The problem with expectations like this is they are never reality and that leaves us feeling bad.

Let’s be real. We don’t need Pinterest to feel inadequate, just being around people can do that to us. If I look at my friends, I find myself thinking, “If I had her body, her ability to keep the house clean, her patience with kids, her business skills, and her eating habits, I’d be happy." What? That’s crazy! We need to stop comparing every part of our lives to our friends' highlight reels. We see the things they do well that we stink at but we forget they may stink at something we've got down.

I have a friend named Carrie. She is one of my carpool moms who I couldn’t do without. Every Monday when Grady’s still asleep in the afternoon because we had a busy weekend, I know I won’t have to pull him out of bed to take Anna to dance because Carrie will be there right on time. Carrie struck me as the type that would have a clean van, so I asked Anna. Before I could even get the question out, she interrupted with, “Mom! I’ve never seen anything like it! Her van is so clean.” We were having this conversation because it was my turn to drive and I had just asked my kids if there was a clear enough path for someone to even get to the back of our van. And once she got back there, could she sit on the seat without soiling her clothes? Once I had this information about Carrie (who claims it’s her husband who keeps the van clean), I had two options. I could suddenly care about the cleanliness of my van and fret over it every week because her daughter would be joining us, or I could say, “At least Anna gets to ride in a really clean car once a week on Mondays."

The tale of the two vans.

I chose to give myself the grace to say we won’t have the cleanest van. We can take better care of it, but just because my friend does something, I’m not required to measure up. Instead of trying to tackle every Pinterest board, I’m going to choose a few things to prioritize and settle for being ok other places. I’m going to make sure we have great conversations with the kids at dinner which we will eat together as much as possible. We will be going to church and praying together. We will have a lot of fun this summer even if a rainy day means watching too much TV and not making the indoor hop scotch course with masking tape I pinned.

As much as I admire the old man down the street with the perfect garage, I know he doesn't have 7 sizes of bikes to find a way to store and when his kids were little, his garage probably didn’t look like it does now either.

I will continue to look at Pinterest. I will pin a bunch of stuff I’ll probably never do, but I will do the stuff that matters. And I’ll study the best way to do those things. They will be my priorities. I will get them wrong too sometimes. But overall they will be reflected in my schedule and hopefully on my families’ hearts.



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