Wanna go for a ride? I'm on my high horse today, and I'd love some company. This parenting gig is hard. It's precious, beautiful and worth every strain, but it's hard. The sad thing is that we make it even tougher by either comparing ourselves to other parents and feeling we don't measure up, or criticizing them for doing things differently. I saddled this high horse today because moms everywhere are writing on the idea of how not to be like those OTHER moms, and everything I see is one-sided. On one side, there's a camp for mothers who dote and coddle, and the other side is made up of moms who dig in their heels against that camp for creating guilt for the rest of us. I propose that every coin has two sides, and today I'd like to ride my high horse through Pinterest to make my point.
Side number one (we'll call it heads):
Pinterest makes me crazy. You see, I'm usually the mom who's yelling, "Come on, baby, we've got to hurry or you'll be late to school," then mutters, "Oh crap. Snack. Um...cheezits and gummies...wait where are the gummies? Dang it! Oh thank God, here's a cereal bar... Let's go!" And at the end of the day when I find a few minutes to chill out with some social media, what will I find on Pinterest? Someone else's perfection. I gaze in awe at what all these women can do. I can almost hear an angelic choir singing as light shines from heaven on their amazing creations. I envy their talent and dedication. I really do, but... wow. How on earth can these women find the time to put together a lunch that looks like a well-planned cartoon scene made from organic foods which I'm guessing they grew in their own garden? Are you kidding me? These are clearly THOSE moms. You know, the ones who don't have to work and who wrap their kids in bubble wrap. If I didn't have to work, I could create organic food cartoons too... or be a full-time birthday event planner... or whatever. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be this kind of mom no matter how much time I have, and I believe bubble wrap is intended for packaging, not parenting. I guess that makes me a tail?
Side number two (tails):
Pinterest is over-the-top fantastic! I can find a solution or at least an idea for absolutely anything I can dream up on there. One day I thought, "I hate just throwing away this Pringles can." I decided to go on Pinterest, and that's how my son's nighttime Batman beam was born. It took about two minutes to create and made me the "best mommy ever". Two minutes is up my alley. Whoever posted this was MY kind of mom.
Here's where I stop my horse to get down and investigate a little closer.
It's the concept of "my kind of mom" that I'd like us to all consider. We're diverse. Different personalities. Different kids. Different strengths. Different weaknesses. Different schedules, incomes and interests. It makes comparisons and judgements seem a bit ridiculous. We look at how other moms do something, and we size them up. We judge what kind of moms they are by something as absurd as what they pin. I assure you, our judgements are entirely off base.
Wanna know my weird mom thing I like to do? I like to produce keepsakes in the form of print. Maybe that doesn't sound weird, so I'll explain. I've gone so far as to produce my own family magazine before. It contained stories, recipes and family poems. I even created "ads" that showcased family-favorite products just so it would look like the real deal. And it did look like the real deal; I was pretty darn proud of it. Some people who saw it thought it was what I do for a living. Nope. It's just my weird thing. I spent countless hours working on that magazine, and if I ever figure out how to work it into my schedule again, I will.
I did not publish a magazine in my spare time to keep up with someone else, nor did I do it because the earth and all the planets revolve around my kid. I did it because I loved every second of it. I was being my own kind of mom, doing something I was great at. It was therapy. It made me smile. Oh, and it also produced a great keepsake. It occurred to me one day that if I pinned that to Pinterest along with "how to," there would be a mom somewhere raising an eyebrow and thinking, "Well, she's one of THOSE moms...probably doesn't even work" (as if that's a bad thing). And somewhere else there would be a mom thinking, "It's been two years since I've even updated a photo in any of my frames, and this mom is producing family magazines. I suck."
What if we all just stopped it?
Maybe that mom who creates elaborate bedrooms for her kids does it because that's where her own personal talent and passion can shine. It may be the only thing in this world she actually feels good at, and she's sharing it with her children. Leave her be. There's nothing wrong with THAT kind of mom. Maybe the mom who encourages her kids to play outside, unattended, for hours on end actually does know they're safe and is fostering a love for activity, health and independence. There's nothing wrong with THAT kind of mom either.
Maybe we should stop judging each other by the tiny sliver we see. Perhaps we should also allow a little grace for ourselves and realize those Pinterest moms are mostly just like us, showcasing the one thing they're good at. So what if there's an army of DIY moms who can turn trash into treasure, and I can't even get an even spray with a can of spray paint? They probably can't DIY their way through a self-published magazine, so let's call it even.
How about we all stop worrying about THIS kind of mom and THAT kind of mom? Be YOUR OWN kind of mom, and give others the grace to do the same. I think we'll ALL feel a little less stress for it. Thanks for riding along with me while I got that off my chest; I feel better now. As a matter of fact, I think I'll go celebrate some incredible moms by pinning some of their cool stuff...see you there?