This Saturday Daddy had to go in to work. My five little men and I decided to redeem the day by having a party for no reason. It was hilarious, messy, and oh-so-very UN-Pinterest. There was no theme. There were no fruit kababs or DIY glow sticks. There was no waffle bar or glitter popcorn. Instead we had cake from a box complete with store bought neon blue frosting. We had Spiderman tattoos, paper airplanes, and party blowers leftover from New Years. The word “un-Pinterest” wouldn’t have even crossed my mind a few years ago. It just shows me how much my thinking has been influenced by the internet’s standard of how things should be done.
Pinterest is a wonderful tool for getting our creative juices flowing, but it can also bog us down. When I refer to “un-Pintersting,” I’m not talking about the beautiful inspiration we get from it. I’m only talking about the dark side of Pinterest – the side that makes us feel anxious, inadequate, and discontent. There are four ways we can take the good and leave the bad.
1. Bless, Don’t Impress
I love having people over. But I hesitate to extend that blessing when my floor is sticky and the only clean dishes have Star Wars characters on them. In one of my all-time favorite articles by Jen Wilkin she shares the subtle but heart changing differences between blessing and impressing:
“Entertaining is always thinking about the next course. Hospitality burns the rolls because it was listening to a story. Entertaining obsesses over what went wrong. Hospitality savors what was shared. Entertaining, exhausted, says ‘It was nothing, really!’ Hospitality thinks it was nothing. Really. Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.”
This is my kitchen at any given moment of the day. Pinterest worthy? Of course not. But Pinterest shouldn’t be my standard of how I can bless others. I recently saw a friend’s kitchen in this state. I was at her house because instead of making time for her dishes she was making time for me. And it blessed my socks off.
2. Family First
I put what I see on Pinterest into one of three categories: 1. This project will bless my family. 2. My family won’t care too much about this project, but it will be fun and relaxing for me. 3. This looks like fun, but it will take needed time away from my kids and other more important tasks.
If it falls into the third category I put it aside. My kids don’t need a Pinterest house and an exhausted mommy. They need simple time with me on the couch reading books. I have limited hours in the day. If I choose to do one thing it means I am choosing not to do something else. I always have to evaluate if it’s worth it.
3. Don’t Hold Out for Perfect.
One time a good friend told me she would never again bake an apple pie. Knowing she was an excellent cook, I asked her why. She said that even though her pies tasted great she could never get them to look like ones she’d seen online. If “perfect” has become our standard for what’s worth it, what’s enjoyable, we are on the slippery slope to not being able to enjoy anything. One of my favorite sites is Pinterest fails.
This mom went for it with those shark cupcakes. And even though hers were a far cry from the Pinterest picture, I bet they tasted great. I bet her kids were thrilled. We don’t do our families any favors by holding out for perfect.
4. Check Your Standards of Others
There hasn’t always been Pinterest, but there have always been judgmental moms. If we’re being honest, that’s all of us. Most of the time we fixate of being judged, but Matthew 7:1-2 tells us the root of that feeling is our own judgmental hearts: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Ouch. Hits a little too close to home for me. We assume others are thinking about us what we think about them. When we freely show grace to others we are able to show grace to ourselves. The quickest way to un-Pinterest our lives is to stop being critical of each other.
So let’s go for it, moms. Let’s do crafts with our kids that don’t yield anything but a messy dining room table. Let’s have each other over for coffee and sticky floors. Let’s un-Pinterest a little and let our brains and hearts relax.