I’m the juice box Mom. Whenever there is a sign up at school or daycare for the Halloween Party or Holiday Celebration, I bring the juice boxes. Or napkins and plates. And I’m the first one to sign up, too. I can’t let that coveted juice box spot to get away from me - it goes fast. Apparently, in Lulu’s room, there are more Moms like me than the other kind. You know what kind of Mom I’m talking about - the Pinterest Mom.
These Moms show up to the holiday soiree with individually and creatively bagged and tagged homemade goodies that look like ghosts or reindeer or bunny feet. They are so well created that you don’t want to eat it for fear or messing up the eight hours this lady spent to put the whole treat together. These kids deliver their souped up seasonal goodies in monogrammed appliquéd shirts and homemade bows and discuss how much fun they had making the craft with Mommy while my kid is lucky to be wearing a matching outfit and has a bag of juice to contribute.
Pinterest is literally killing my Mom-esteem.
I feel like my kids get a sufficient amount of arts and crafts. They color. We sometimes do Playdoh (but only when I need to clean the floor). We make cards and write letters and at Christmas we bake goodies. I even took them to paint pottery. Once.
But everywhere I go - online, out in the community - I see these crafty Mamas sewing turkey shirts with feathers made out of ribbon and making their own bubbles and creating these elaborate and (what seems like) controlled crafting environments where their toddlers are able to make homemade, organic, BPA free, gluten free, no peanut oil, 24 calorie holiday treats that taste just like the real thing.
My kitchen is a mess.
And we didn’t even make crafts today.
Pinterest has heightened the pressure Moms put on each other to see who can out do whom. Birthday parties, holidays, even snacks at the soccer game have all turned into what cutesy craft can out perform the last. Party themes and favor ideas are discussed and hashed endlessly from the playground benches so that Instagram and the Facebook photo album is full of like and comment worthy pictures.
My Mommy Friend group became so competitive with party planning and out doing each other that I had to stop attending the $500+ child birthdays. First, I couldn’t keep up and I was finding that I was trying to and feeling judged and unworthy when I couldn’t. Second, it set an unrealistic expectation for my children.
Social Media has created a monster in the expectations we Moms have of each other and ourselves. We see the coordinated Pumpkin Patch pictures and the Night with Santa parties with Rudolph treats and crafts and feel as if our children are missing out. And what mother wants to feel as if their kid is missing out?
Who cares if you made their costume or bought it at Target? What does it matter if you spent hours on Sunday afternoon preparing individual goodie bags with the each child’s name on it or if you bought Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes from Wal-Mart? We, the Moms, are the only ones that really care. We are the ones that have created this expectation of our children, their teachers, each other. We are the ones looking down on each other when we “cop out” and buy the store bought Valentines instead of gluing homemade lace to red heart construction paper cut outs and tying them together with ribbon. Let’s be honest: how many of those homemade Valentines are still in the memory box? Who is all of this for, anyway?
Pinterest is an amazing resource - I’ve made many awesome recipes and found some cool quotes and am secretly decorating a new house that we won’t buy for many years. I’ve shared lesson plans and even logged a few house keeping shortcuts. But like so many other social media outlets, it’s created an unnatural sense of unworthiness in me. I don’t feel adequate at the class party because I brought the plates instead of making cupcakes shaped like pilgrim hats.
I’m not really asking those Pinterest Moms to stop. That’s their talent. And I’m all about developing and sharing our individual gifts and talents. I guess I’m hoping that we, as a community of Moms, will stop judging those of us who aren’t crafty - and cut us a class party break. I can read a story to the kids or direct the class Christmas pageant or teach them how to love words and write. I just can’t get the red fuzzy pom-pom to stick on the clothes pin correctly. And that’s okay. We all have something to offer to our community of children.
And hey - someone has to bring the juiceboxes.