Have you been on Pinterest lately? There are all kinds of really cute projects, activities, and ideas to do with the kids. I love looking and pinning things! When I try them, though, things do not always (ok, almost never) look as “Pinterest Perfect” as the image I pinned. I have had quite a few of my very own “Pinterest Fails”. I wish I had photographed some of them so that I could show you. I’m ok with “Pinterest Fails” because if you and your kids have fun doing them, they turn into “Mom Wins,” which is far more important! So often, we get caught up in doing things “right” that we forget to have fun with it. Perfection is not the goal. Making memories and enjoying your kids is the goal.
Why Pinterest Perfect Is an Illusion
We all want to make good impressions. I am no exception to that. As a blogger, Pinterest is one of the tools that I am in the process of trying to develop a following on to drive traffic to my blog. (If you want to follow me, there is a link in the sidebar!) I want to give you high-quality content that you enjoy reading. I want you to come back when I post more articles. In order to accomplish that, I endeavor to make my Pinterest graphics look as nice and appealing as possible. Those pretty pictures are edited, cropped, and some have filters.
Additionally, if I try something and it does not work, I am not going to post pictures of it, or even do a blog post on it. When you look at Pinterest, keep in mind that you are looking at the best successes a person has and the prettiest picture that they could take of it. You are also looking at pictures posted by people who have a lot of practice at what they do.
What REALLY happens
I will share a story with you to illustrate the point. (If you don’t want the stories, then skip these 2 paragraphs). I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked really good the other day. It was for banana chocolate chip muffins. I decided to try it, but then I got the bright idea to modify the recipe and to try to “healthy it up.” I am a blogger, but I do not consider myself a FOOD blogger. Yes, I have a few recipes on here that are tried and true for my family, but as for just spontaneously coming up with recipes or modifying them, I am no expert. The people that passionately blog about food have a lot of practice with modifying recipes and coming up with their own. They are the experts.
I added an extra banana and replaced half the butter with applesauce, and then I tried to bake it for the recommended time. When I checked on them, they still looked under-done. So I baked them for an extra 10 minutes until I thought they looked done and a toothpick came out clean. They looked pretty good! I took them out of the oven to cool, and my nice puffy looking muffins fell. They looked more like very thick miniature pancakes!
I did not take any pictures of them, and I do not intend to do a blog post on them. They did taste good and the kids and I like them, but they are not blog post quality. My flop will never be seen on Pinterest. However, I don’t feel like I wasted my time on them. I made some muffins that taste good and the kids and I enjoyed them while they lasted for snack and breakfast. I consider that a “Mom Win.”
Oh, the Pressure!
Mothers in particular place enormous pressure on ourselves. We want everything to be “perfect.” We want to be the “good mom.” (C’mon now, I know I’m not the only one with perfectionist tendencies. Asking for a friend here!) We see posts on Pinterest for all these great ideas on home organization, parenting, cleaning hacks, travel, fashion, and whatever else catches your fancy. We pin the images, we might even read the articles, and we think “I really need to do that!” A picture perfect image arises in our minds about how everything “should be.” Then, inevitably, we fall short of the unrealistic expectations we have set for ourselves.
In my “Pinterest Perfect” image of myself, I have a beautifully clean house, where everything is nicely organized and sparkles. All my interior is newly designed and I have more square footage than I actually have in real life.
My children are always perfect, they adore me, they always do their chores on time because of my amazing positive parenting. I never yell. They always confide in me about their problems and make good choices. They do beautiful artwork and always clean up after themselves. (Have to keep the house nice and sparkly, right?) I am an amazing budgeter and we go on extravagant vacations. When my husband comes home from work (assuming my blog is not making a million dollars yet, so he can retire) I always have a fresh gourmet meal ready and waiting for him.
Perfection does not Always Equal Happiness
Sounds like a fantasy doesn’t it? That’s because it is. In the book “Magnolia Story” even Joanna Gaines talks about feeling the pressure of keeping her house “Pinterest Perfect” and feeling like she was failing. She designs Pinterest Perfect houses for a living! You know what snapped her out of it though? Listening to her kids laughing. Think of the sound of your children laughing. That is the most beautiful music that I have ever heard, and it will not be in my home forever. “Mom Wins” are far more important than “Pinterest Perfect.”
“Mom Wins” happen when the kids have the freedom to enjoy themselves and make good memories. Moms can be so busy trying to keep up with everything that we forget to stop and enjoy the little things. Our lives will never be completely “Pinterest Perfect.” Messes happen. Life is Messy! That’s ok. Your house will not always be clean, you will not always keep up with the laundry, and sometimes supper just does not happen the way you plan. Budgets have to be “adjusted” from time to time. We get frustrated and yell from time to time. Forgive yourself. Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn things! The value of art and projects is in the experience of doing them, not that they always turn out perfectly.
Pinterest Fail turns Mom Win
The other day I found some little snowman clings that had been given to me and I thought, “What the heck, let’s take 15 minutes and I’ll do these with the kids. It will be fun!” My 6-year-old thought it was awesome. My 10-year-old is sometimes “too cool” for such projects, but he submitted to this one without a fuss. That was my first Mom Win. I sat down with them and we discussed what we were doing and I helped peel off the sometimes stubborn clings.
We talked and laughed, but what drew the MOST laughs was the very last snowman that my 10-year-old did. He thought it would be funny to mismatch the eyes and give his snowman a buttoned lip. When it was all done, amid MUCH laughter and silliness, my cute little snowman cling looked more like a zombie snowman! When I said as much to the boys, they both died laughing. It was a total Pinterest Fail. That zombie snowman was NOT how it was supposed to look! As he was putting it on the fridge, my oldest son smiled contentedly and looked at me and said “This sure has been memorable!” as he gave me his biggest “stinker” grin.
As he looked at me I had a realization. This may have been a Pinterest Fail, but it was certainly a Mom Win, and that’s much more important. When you do a project with your kids, remember that the fun is in DOING the activity, not in the final product. So what if you have a zombie snowman? We had bonding time and made a good memory together. If your project totally flops, but you had fun with it, then mission accomplished! If you make a huge mess, that’s ok. Messes clean up, clothes and children are washable. If the prep takes longer than the actual project, that’s ok too. The joy is in the doing of the activity, not in the final result. That is how you turn a “Pinterest Fail” into a “Mom Win.”
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Do you have a “Pinterest Fail” story? I would love to hear it! Leave me a comment below!
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