I posted a Facebook status the other day that said this:
Got an email from Henry’s teacher saying that due to time constraints (science projects and such), the kids are not allowed to exchange Valentine’s Day treats. I realize that for some moms, they are super sad over this. This mom? YESSSSSSSSSSSS.
Funny thing is, last year, I wrote a whole manifesto professing my love of handmade, Pinterest worthy Valentine’s Day treats. And this year, I dreaded February 14th and the whole process. Getting an email effectively saying that Valentine’s was cancelled this 2014, I about did a happy dance.
So why the about face?
I have long loved the beauty and ease of Pinterest.
A place to catalog all of your favorite finds, and peruse the pretties of friends and internet personalities. It’s like getting to rummage through the cedar chests of all your friends. The prettiest, best, most precious items stored away. No time to read every blog on the internet? No problem. Pinterest is basically an ever changing, constantly updated Best Of.
With over 2,700 pins, I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time wasting there. Overall, Pinterest is great.
I mean, I did THIS. (My party was even included in a round up blog post for overachieving snark. Which I can no longer find the link to but I got a great kick out of it.)
Except that somehow, making something by hand, coming up with a quirky and unabashedly nerdy play on words, and coming up with something fun and original…is no longer a fun bonus, but a requirement. An expectation. Making homemade _____ doesn’t feel special anymore to me. It feels forced. It feels like my Duty to join the ranks of Good Mother.
Two years ago, I thrifted, hot glued, and pieced together six Halloween costumes to turn my goofy clan into Star Wars characters. I spent hours (and probably way more than I’d ever want to tally up) over the course of two months to put those together. I loved it. It was fun. A way to be creative. I like being creative. I do.
Last year, I couldn’t find the margin in my life to hand make, hot glue or much of anything costumes. Every bit of the kids’ costumes were store bought. (Or Internet bought, really.)
They look darling. Heck, I even kept a theme going. But I couldn’t fall all over myself apologizing for their non-handmade quality whenever people complimented them, fast enough.
“Oh, thanks. They’re all store bought, but I think they look okay, right?”
“Yes they look cute. But I spent all of ten minutes clicking Add to Cart and entering in my credit card info. So it’s hard to mess that up.”
“Yeah…last year I went all out. But I didn’t this year. They’re fun, but not homemade…”
Note to future self: Yes. Thank you.
Those were the words you were looking for. No others tacked onto the end.
I couldn’t even own a compliment without backing up all over my shame. As I had somehow failed my kids and Good Moms everywhere.
Ironically, I don’t look at other moms who buy costumes, cookies, or Valentine’s Day cards as subpar. They get all the Grace. But I don’t extend much of it to myself. I can’t really blame Pinterest for that. That’s my own hang up.
Even still, it seems as though the popularity of Pinterest and the constant churning out of DIY content , is making it feel forced.
Like when a friend of mine, recently engaged, called to ask me to help her brainstorm ideas for how to ask her bridesmaids to be in her wedding. We chatted and threw out some fun ideas for a while, until finally I said “You know, you don’t HAVE to be all crafty, clever to ask someone to be in your wedding. You can, you know, just call them and ask.”
But no, she wanted to do something fun. And that’s fair. She’s allowed to want that. But I wonder if she had gotten engaged 10 years ago, would the thought have ever crossed her mind?
Or how it now requires a special cupcake with either a blue center or a pink center, a full on gender reveal party, and perhaps a professional photographer to capture the looks on new-mom and dad’s faces when they catch the first glimpse of color in order to announce what apparatus your unborn baby is going to come with. Or a big box with balloons to come flying out of when you open it.
None of these things are bad. I have been known to throw together themed parties, upcycle, and even put bunting on a chicken coop. (Chickens. The new Suburban Black.) So I’m not hating on this stuff. At all. Glitter and mod podge are one of God’s greatest gifts. I only mildly kid.
I’m hating on how it doesn’t feel special anymore. It feels stressful. Non-negotiable.
At first is was fun. But now…now…now I feel like it’s expected. Gone are the days of calling your friends to say “It’s a BOY!” Hell, I group texted my family with the simple “twig and berries” with we found out Owen was a boy. (Which is super classy. Because that’s how I roll.)
Don’t get me wrong, I still get my crafty pants on from time to time. I still surf Pinterest. I still love it all on the surface. I created a full on video to announce my last pregnancy. I’m in the Crafting Trenches too. But…
Once I feel like I’m expected to do something, like the tide has turned from fun extra to DO THIS, I buck so hard against it, I sound like a jaded grinchy Grinch. (Psychoanalyze that. Go.)
I realize I’m likely projecting my own deep seated issues on a website, but I don’t think it’s just me. All I know is that I’m forcing myself to analyze if I’m doing a project because I want to do it, or because I feel like I’m supposed to do it. And this year, Valentine’s Day cards fell into that category for me. Maybe next year they’ll make the crafty cut. We’ll see.
Anyone else feel this way? Am I crazy? (Wait, don’t answer that.)