This might seem like a very insignificant question compared with the original, but it is a very real question many women are facing today. Should we or should we not get sucked into using Pinterest? Is it a fun and effective aid, or an absolute waste of time and depression enhancer?
I’ve seen multiple Facebook comments recently from friends saying they spend way too much time on Pinterest, or that they get discouraged when they see something great on Pinterest, try to recreate it and end up with a “Pinterest-fail” project. I’ve also seen others say they don’t go on Pinterest because they hate seeing so many projects they will never have time to do. I also read an article the other day which suggests that Pinterest “makes parenting harder” by pressuring moms into doing everything perfectly. I agree with much of this article, but not with the point about Pinterest: I disagree that Pinterest (or any website) is guilty for undo pressure we place upon ourselves. More of that later.
On the other hand, I also have many friends that LOVE Pinterest, browse through pins all the time, re-pin, try out ideas, adjust them, add new ones…
I do use Pinterest and plan on continuing to use it. I don’t spend hours browsing through random pins. I usually go to Pinterest looking for something specific in mind. This means I already know that I have, or will soon have the time for it. Pinterest gives me a lot of creative ideas that I can use and adjust for projects I want to do anyway, or foods I’m planning on cooking anyway. I would be very disappointed if Pinterest stopped providing as many creative ideas or “perfect” looking projects, because then it wouldn’t be such an effective resource.
That’s exactly what Pinterest is: A RESOURCE. It’s not the roadmap to perfect motherhood/womanhood, or a picture of how you should be. If you try to turn it into that, no wonder you get depressed. It’s like opening an encyclopedia and being disappointed that you don’t know all the facts. That’s not how you use an encyclopedia. You aren’t meant to go through reading entry by entry and getting all fed up with yourself for not knowing the information. You’re meant to go there when you need specific information about a topic, or, when you have time to just learn something new, go, pick a topic (ONE topic), and learn that topic well. Use Pinterest the same way, and it’s a wonderful resource. Use it any other way, and you’ll divulge in tears, not because anything is wrong with Pinterest, but because your expectations for yourself are too high.
Which brings us to another issue: self-expectations. And here we find that the question “to pin or not to pin” is actually closer to the existential “to be or not to be” than appears on the surface. Why is it when we get discouraged that we don’t have time to do something someone else has time for? Why do we get depressed when we can’t produce a product as “perfect” as the one who pinned it? Why do we feel pitiful when we see so many great party theme ideas and pictures, and all we have for our kid is a dumpy little cake? Why do we then say that the other mothers are going overboard, just because we can’t do it?
All of this relates to our image of ourselves and where we place our worth. All of this relates to our image of ourselves and where we place our worth. Who are we? If we know who we are and are satisfied with who we are (our talents, our aspirations, our priorities and our choices), then we shouldn’t feel threatened by others who have different talents aspirations and priorities. A few ideas here:
- STOP COMPARING. Your worth doesn’t lie in what other people can do. Your worth doesn’t lie in everything you can’t do. Your worth lies in who you are, and everything you can do. And, believe me, there’s a lot you can do. If you don’t have the time or creativity to come up with a themed birthday party, it’s because you have a different job or responsibility, or a different talent, or just a different personality. As long as you are meeting your basic responsibilities toward yourself, your family and society, your worth lies in everything you ARE doing, not in what you aren’t.
- FOCUS ON YOUR TALENTS. Stop trying to be everything at once. When you visit Pinterest, you see a range of projects in EVERY area. Believe, NO ONE, not even the “Super Ladies” you see on incredible blogs, do all of it. They have their niche specialties. So do you. Think about your talents and a few things you want to focus on (and maybe it has nothing to do with crafting, DIYing, decorating or blogging). Do those things well and you’ll succeed. Spread yourself too thin and… valley of tears.
- DON’T PRESSURE YOURSELF. Any pressure to do more or do things better from Pinterest is really self-created. No one else is pressuring you to do x, y or z. Unless you really have a group of real life friends that keep calling you up and asking why you haven’t done project x yet, or telling you how awful your cake looks. Friends don’t pressure us. Pinterest doesn’t pressure us (last I checked, it wasn’t either giving readers an incentive to do a project nor penalizing them for not doing it). We pressure ourselves needlessly by imagining the worst in our heads. Don’t imagine –live in reality. Pinterest is nothing more than a website full of ideas and resources. Go to it if you want ideas or resources. Don’t pressure yourself if you don’t have the time, energy or desire.
- BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS. When you see things you can’t possibly do and see other people that have more time than you do for something, be happy for them. It’s their gain; it’s not your loss. I’m not favoring supporting society as a whole in going overboard. I do believe that spending hundreds of dollars on a kid’s birthday party to compete with the Joneses, or redecorating your living room every year to keep up with the Smiths is overboard. But there are plenty of moms that are able to do cute, themed parties on a reasonable budget – they’re fun and creative. Be happy for them. It’s their talent. Don’t feel bad that it’s not yours. Re-read #2 above. When you see the picture of a lady with her perfect cake, be happy for her; that’s her talent.
Think for a second what the world would be like if no one could be better than us in anything… if our pictures have to be the best, and our cakes have to be the best, and our crafts have to be the best and our homes have to be the best. Society would take on our limits and be held back by our standards. Society is able to function best because everyone contributes different strengths. We need to contribute our strengths and be grateful and happy for all the strengths other people contribute. That’s what makes us a community.
So… To pin or not to pin? I say to pin – in moderation.