Pinterest Ruined Everything. Seriously. All of it.

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.)

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    When I feel like this, I unfollow people, hide people, stop hanging around with the people that are contributing to the feeling. And usually it’s online, so I back off. Luckily I’ve got a core group of friends that never ever make me feel that way, and hopefully I never make them feel that way either, when I decide to do something ridiculous like throw an olympics-themed family dinner. I’m glad you have a break from Valentine’s. :)

  2. 2

    I’m still old school. Partly because I don’t see the need, but mostly because I’m not that patient to do the projects or that talented to pull them off. I like simple because the person is more important than trying to impress with all the fanciness, although I can see doing it fancy because they are special. For my surprise 60th birthday party, there were two handwritten posters (no glitter or special add-ons or fancy calligraphy), 49ers napkins and colored plates and cups and a few balloons. I noticed those after I got over the shock of seeing all the people I just said goodbye to at church a couple of hours before. I still have the two signs.

  3. 3

    I get what you are saying. I’m not on pinterest that much but I do understand the peer pressure of being crafty/homemade. I have a baby (my first) and it’s all are you going to make your baby food. And if you don’t a “oh, okay” Like Oh you are going to feed your baby that swill from a jar. You are a terrible mom. Lol. (That’s me being crazy now)

    You make what you can, buy what you can’t and realize that the important stuff is the event or just being together. Because in the end, no one remembers the handmade invites that took you 47 hrs to make, they just remember having a good time.

  4. 4

    Yes! I love making handmade for my kids but you are right it seems like its turned into a requirement and I feel partially responsible for that. We are all crafting and blogging about it. We are inspiring millions of moms who want to be crafty but too afraid they can’t or it won’t be good enough. I think that’s great that more moms are stepping outside of their comfort zones and working on something handmade. My problem is probably more within my household. My kids expect handmade. Mommy to spend hours working on their project. When in fact I don’t always have hours. I think they have taken my time for granted and that is something I don’t mess with is time. There is never enough in the day! xoxo

  5. 5

    I love handmade everything, I love Pinterest, I love beautiful things. But I’m also very fine with buying manufactured Valentine’s Day cards at Target. My kids would much rather have Spiderman Valentines to hand out then anything cute. But I will continue to pin the crap out of the cute stuff.
    Jen´s last blog post ..Round Up: Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts

  6. 6

    i <3 you more and more. long lost other half of my brain.

    i absolutely cannot do what's expected, much less DEMANDED of me. it's some issue from childhood with authority I'm sure. I can't get anywhere on time, either. it's like… yeah. I.Must.Rebel. or something.

  7. 7

    Do the things that are fun and interest you. Forget about the rest. I can tell you from memories of my childhood that if the cute picture came at the cost of several weeks of Mom being crazy trying to get everything done perfectly, the kids will remember Mom being crazy for two weeks for a stupid picture. I have also found over the years that kids enjoy both the homemade and the store bought. It’s fine if some years you go all out making Valentine’s by hand and next year your kid has the fun of picking from all the different box options at the store. Whether you have really thought it through or not, you have made choices about what is most important and what you will sacrifice for those things (like Janine who has a priority higher than making her own baby food). Own those choices. Don’t feel ashamed of them. Think of it in terms about the things you have made a priority rather than the things you have chosen to sacrifice.

  8. 8

    I can SO relate to this!! When my husband and I got married 8 years ago decorating our first apartment was my favorite thing in the world. I was so confident in my “style” and loved every inch of our first home. Inspiration came from unintentional influences- I didn’t go searching for DIY this or DIY that. I just made, bought, inherited, thrifted to my hearts content without feeling like my style wouldn’t measure up to what was “cool”. Now I find myself feeling so insecure about my paint choices or shelf styling, throw pillow pattern mixes or rug prints. I find myself hesitating to make a decision until I “check pinterest” for “inspiration” first….I TOTALLY feel the self-pressure to DIY something rather than buy it because I’m creative so I SHOULD diy it. I swear I have no idea when I became so impressionable and dependent on other people’s ideas!! It’s infuriating. I’m not sure how to check myself before I wreck myself in this area yet…..but so help me, I WILL rediscover the joy of DIY just for fun and not out of self-inflicted pressure.

  9. 9

    I completly feel this way… This last Halloween I allowed myself a little grace and store bought everything and I felt a little sad for 27 seconds and then I realized I didn’t even give a hoot and my kids were just as happy, and just this weekend I loaded my cart with 200 paper valentines for the first year instead of making them and I didn’t even bat an eyelash, I feel there is some growth there for me, I mean huge mommy guilt growth. I will say though that on sat I threw a rather awesome baby shower if I do say so myself and not one idea came from Pinterest other than a tutorial my husband followed to build a tent and every single person kept calling me a Pinterest queen and it honestly hurt my feelings since I came up with it on my own, anyways. I like this post a lot.

  10. 10

    No, you’re not crazy. I feel EXACTLY the same way. EXACTLY. But Pinterest didn’t make me do it, having my twins did. And my husband. He convinced me that I had to let it go. All of it. He didn’t want to live with a stressed out shell of a woman for the rest of his days just because the handmade birthday cake was a disaster. And honestly, I had all I could handle with keeping 3 kids alive, fed, covered, and relatively clean. So I did…I let it all go. If it’s something I love or want to do, I do it. If not…I let it go. I have lots of scrapbooks because I love the memories. My friend has tons of beautiful handmade quilts because she loves to quilt. But she doesn’t have one scrapbook. And I have zero quilts. We can’t be all the things all the time. Let it go. The truth shall set you free.
    Jenni´s last blog post ..Fourteen

  11. 11

    Yes! It’s all over the top lately in every area of crafting. Thank you so much for saying it out loud.

  12. 12

    There’s certainly a lot to learn about this issue.

    I really like all of the points you have made.
    leotard´s last blog post ..leotard

  13. 13

    I’ll just answer with my default position. You’ve seen it before.

    I engage ‘the face.’

    The Face can be interpreted as ‘>bad-word-that-rhymes-with-itch< face.' And away goes the people trying to make me feel like crap when I store buy.


  14. 14

    Hey girl. Self standards are tough huh? They are for me, anyway. It’s good to be crafty and homemade when the mood strikes, glad you recognize that sometimes it doesn’t strike and it’s better to go with what feels good than force what doesn’t. I’ve always found, even when I am kicking myself for not doing homemade, God has another plan for that store bought ________ and the whole situation works out for the best. Keep your chin up, don’t hate on yourself for the decisions you make.

  15. 15

    TWIG AND BERRIES. I laughed so hard I’m thankful I wasn’t taking a drink at that moment.

    You’re not crazy. Solidarity, sister. Crafting, online ordering, a run to Target. It’s all awesome. It’s all good.
    Courtney´s last blog post ..It’s The Little Things: Olympic Style

  16. 16

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    Weebly.Com´s last blog post ..Weebly.Com

  17. 17

    “I’m hating on how it doesn’t feel special anymore. It feels stressful. Non-negotiable.” . . . I totally get this and agree. Stress over crafting = so not worthy it sometimes!!
    brittnie (A Joy Renewed)´s last blog post ..On two kids under two. . . aka the comedy that is getting out the door by 7:45am

  18. 18

    Thank you for saying it out loud!

  19. 19

    Totally rebelled against the homemade valentine this year too. I agree, it’s forced. My girl brought her bag home today, most were handmade (by mom, not the student) and the others were the cheap traditional card and envelope with a piece if candy taped to it. I’m glad I dugong give in this year- and even if I do next year, I won’t be posting a pic on Facebook!

  20. 20

    YES!! When I found myself feeling ashamed of the from-the-box cupcakes with store bought frosting and sprinkles, that I took to my son’s preschool….. (mid-moving out of the country) that’s when I had to take a deep look at my own mental state. My 5 year old just wanted Mommy on his birthday. And something sugary. How dare I make it about my own ego, and what I created, when I was supposed to be celebrating his life! Not a dessert that I created….my child I created. (yes, a little help from hubs and God) :-)
    Mari´s last blog post ..Long Awaited Conclusion to Car Adventure

  21. 21

    I’m there with you sister! With the exception of using Pinterest for best teaching practices, makeup and hair tutorials, I feel totally inept in all other endeavors——. Thanks Pinterest.

  22. 22
    danielethan says:

    Excellent post! I like this…Thanks for sharing!

  23. 23

    I loved this! It’s gotten to the point that, at least for me, I automatically reject anything that feels or looks too “Pinterest-y.” Like many of the other commenters, I just have to reject whatever it seems like everyone else is doing. Maybe we’re all punks, in a sense. (Oi! Oi! Oi!)