I guess the best place to start is with a straight up confession. I am a Pinterest Mum….there I said it, it’s out there. But before you ready the torches, allow me to explain a few things.
Pinterest was recommended to me a few years ago when it was in its infancy. There weren't many people on it but I found the idea novel. A giant pin-board of the stuff that you have seen on-line and say, “Oooh I LIKES” and then actually put somewhere as opposed to forgetting it and then thinking, “Now where did I see that thing?” So I joined up and I found out about Etsy and other places that I didn't know about. The timing for me was perfect because I was in a complete state of flux and Pinterest allowed me to see a different way to do things.
Suddenly it became the ‘thing’ that everyone jumped on, I saw an influx of people but I didn't follow every new person’s board just because they had one thing that I liked. My on-line choices reflect my real life choices, so just like it will take me a good while to choose decent eye-liner and not the one that has been recently advertised as the best, the same goes with the people I friend on Facebook and follow on Pinterest.
I think this is key. There have been a few people whom I have followed and then after seeing the same flipping bird tattoos and wonders of Paleo eating I have just stopped following. Why? Well the way I see it is that they have a voice and I do too but sometimes I don’t want to hear what they have to share. They are entitled to do the same, no harm no foul. But recently I have started to see a trend of bashing Pinterest.
The folks who proclaim vehemently, that they will not create jewellery from macramé or use baking soda and vinegar to clean their surfaces. Witness the bile as they tell you point blank that they do not give a good goddamn that lavender is better than Nytol and that the world has not got time to upcycle old jeans into waistcoats or make glow in the dark lamps from kilner jars and glitter. They speak of the pressure to do these things and that they feel if they do not take part that they are bad parents, awful friends and that the time they have is precious and if they choose to use their time not making loom band flowers then that is their right, thank you very much.
You know what I agree. But let me add this.
I spent a lot of my life as a child and teenager being told that I was clumsy, silly and fat. I took no pleasure in the things that most girls did at my age. I was weird and strange but those people who took the time to look past that and gave me a chance, to actually inspire me well they made an impact. One of the highlights of my teenage years was performing as Bottom in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. 2 nights with a donkeys head on and I tell you this, I was fucking awesome! That only came about because a teacher took the time to believe in what I could do when most of the world was telling me that I had little to offer. She saw in me things that I couldn't see then.
So now I am an adult, with a daughter of my own. Her Dad is a wonder and we have a great marriage. The 3 of us are a little unit of awesome and they inspire me everyday to fight the demons of my past that told me that I had no talent and nothing to offer the world. With the help of Pinterest, I had the courage to give things a try and see them come to life. I knit my own snoods in winter because it’s something I can do on a train, instead of stare into space and avoid the smell of rush hour. I can usually do it cheaper and there is a pride in something that you make. I have come to realise that I am gifted when it comes to creative. I also do not have to put up with the indignity of not looking good. The high street, which these days sees size 10 as plus size, likes to put the curvaceous and buxom lady in some of the most awful clothes and I can be anything from a 16 to a 20 depending on the shop. The point is that Pinterest showed me a myriad of sites and looks that I can happily achieve and not feel like I am missing out because I am not a stick insect. I vote with my money to pay folks around the world to make me look good. It’s a win-win, they get to make the things they want and I get to buy it.I bake my own bread usually, but sometimes I am just too tired. I made my own sourdough starter a few weeks back.
I love geeky rockabilly weird shit with corsets and I have found some of the most charming and talented folks via Pinterest who have helped me look good. I know how to do make-up now as I was never taught, I have rediscovered some of my Gran’s recipes because she died and didn't teach me as everyone presumed I couldn't cook. I was inspired to go to Art classes and am writing my first graphic novel. My daughters’ most recent party was a lot of Pinterest work and you know why I am unapologetic about it? Simply because the kids loved it, my daughter was rocked by it and I put a little less money into the hands of big business and happily gave it to some creative folks trying to do their thing.
Because honestly that’s one of the things it’s about.
I follow some great folks. There’s a woman who loves to can and preserve stuff and is very much into survival. Her everyday carry is immense and I am sure that if the zombies come, this lady is more than ready with a lot of sharp implements and canned goods. Am I intimidated by her? Not really. Do I feel the need to follow her example? Nope. However she did raise a good point about carrying around a little bit of First Aid as you never know what might happen. As someone who does this and has helped 3 complete strangers and a little girl on the school run, I cannot recommend enough that more of us should do this.
I don’t feel intimidated by the pictures of Disney World and the fact that I haven’t taken my family. But the handy hint about putting the daily budget in envelopes on holidays so you know what you are working with was a god send on our recent trip.
I know that there are a lot of mothers who see the things on Pinterest and feel like this is just another thing telling them that they are not good enough. That not making things with their kids means they are awful. This is what I say to you.
The judgement of your love is not on Pinterest. The judgement of your talent as a parent isn't on Pinterest. That is the preserve of your wonderful darlings. They try us and stretch us and some days you may not feel like you are good enough or just enough. You are. Don’t make that knitted cuddly toy because a site told you to. Do it because you want to. If you are sick of it all then turn it all off and chill just be. Don’t allow some pictures on Facebook or Pinterest to tell you that what you are doing is crap.
Take a breath. Walk away if you must. Maybe just chill and if worse comes to worst, have a look at something awesome and take some time to recognise the awesome in you.