“Woman was not made for Pinterest, but Pinterest for woman.”–Kim Kirby
I tend to be protective of my mental health. My protectiveness stems from the fact that I view the human mind as quite fragile, which means it should not be subjected to pointless stress and strain.
It is that conviction that kept me away from Pinterest until last month.
When I first heard about Pinterest, I didn’t really understand what it was all about, but I signed up anyway, vaguely thinking that it might be a good way to keep up with the blogs I like to read. Which, of course, makes me the only person on the internet who responded to the idea of Pinterest with, “Hmmm…that sounds interesting. I’d like to use it to organize my reading material.”
Clearly, I didn’t get it. And just as clearly, I’m not a crafty person. The idea of using Pinterest as a repository of creative ideas held no allure to me.
When I first started a Pinterest account, back in those early days, I immediately became 1) disillusioned with Pinterest’s usefulness as an online blog organizer, and 2) freaked out by the fact that several of my Facebook friends started following me on Pinterest. Those stalkers! At the time, I didn’t even know how they knew I was on Pinterest! Paranoid, I promptly deleted my account.
By the time I actually understood what Pinterest was, I was even more disinterested in using it. However, last month, my bff convinced me that as a homeschool mom, it was criminal–criminal!–to not be on Pinterest. She convinced me that the site would be an invaluable resource to my children’s education. And since I was already haunted by the prospect of my artsy daughter condemned to a life of educational drudgery at the hands of the most uncreative teacher ever, I capitulated and signed up. Again.
And guess what? My friend was right! Pinterest has helped my family a lot!
But I believe the reason that Pinterest has proven valuable in my life is because I cling to three simple mantras in my Pinterest use:
1. Pinterest should not make me feel bad.
I know that sounds lame, but it is one of the main reasons I hesitated to sign up for Pinterest. I really try not to judge myself too harshly or compare myself to others, but I worried–and not without reason–that the sight of all that wonderful creativity would just depress me. Instead of inspiring me, it would just remind me of my own artistic failings. And again, I know that sounds lame, but I have had to stop reading blogs before for similar reasons. Here’s how it would go down: I would start reading a blog by a wonderful Christian mom who was always doing creative crafts with her ever-smiling children in her beautifully decorated house filled with only organic food. And then instead of coming away inspired or even–I don’t know–happy for her, I would instead dwell on my own disheveled, chemical-filled, art-free home and feel like a massive failure.
Which is stupid. Let’s just acknowledge that. Other adjectives that come to mind are petty, insecure, jealous, selfish…I could go on, but I think you get the picture. These feelings do not bring me closer to the Lord.
However, they are what they are, and when I get in those situations, I just have to mentally tell myself, “I am so happy for that blogger and hope that her life is every bit as wonderful as her blog makes it seem…but I just don’t need to read about it ever again.” And then I move on with my life.
At this point, Pinterest has not made me feel bad, and I think a big reason is that I limit my exposure to it. That brings me to mantra #2:
2. Pinterest should not waste my time.
I have enough time-wasters in my life (I’m looking at you, Facebook), and heaven knows I do not need one more. As a Christian, I am convicted by the fact that my life is a gift from God to be used to build up His kingdom. Thus, anything that wastes my time wastes that gift.
Thankfully, Pinterest has not done that so far. When I need an idea, I search for it. When I don’t, I stay off Pinterest. Seems simple enough. I think it helps that I’m not naturally crafty and so am not tempted to look for ideas for their own sake.
3. Pinterest should make my life easier.
This is a big one. Sometimes, I see the lengths that people go to fulfill some Pinterest inspiration and I think, “That person’s life would have been so much easier if she had never seen that on Pinterest.” I thank the Lord that I got married before Pinterest, because the pressure to create “Pinterest-perfect” weddings seems enormous these days. Some people love all that stuff, and again, I’m happy for them (really!), but to me, all that wedding planning sounds like torture. (Full disclosure: I barely planned my own wedding, much to my mom’s delight. She would call me periodically to tell me what kind of flowers she had picked for me or what photographer she got, and I tried politely to feign interest, all the while grateful that she was handling it and letting me finish my last semester at school.)
My point is that I think that Pinterest can make life more complicated, whereas my goal is to make it more simple. Thus, I only pin things that are really, incredibly, extremely easy to make. I know that I can’t handle much Pinteresty brilliance, and that my life is complicated enough without having to figure out what “modge-podge” is. (Actually, I do have something pinned now that calls for modge-podge, and, though it seems very, very simple, it still makes me shudder just a little bit.)
But let me give you an example of how Pinterest made my life easier today.
I had been feeling bad about my kids not doing any “fall” crafts, and so I found this super easy one on Pinterest. It was inspired by a book about mummies that was available at my library, and the required materials were construction paper and paper plates. We did it this morning, and the kids thought I was soooo crafty. (It’s important to set a low bar.)
We finished up the morning with Language Arts and Math. Math was a struggle, and afterwards, I desperately needed a sanity-saving break, so I kicked the kids outside to enjoy the beautiful fall day while I straightened the kitchen and caught up on one of my friend’s blogs. Coincidentally, she talked about making homemade sidewalk paint from Pinterest, which I read at the same moment my son was leaning against the window mouthing to me that he was bored. Sidewalk paint takes corn starch, water, and food coloring.
Then, after lunch, the kids asked if we could do yet another Pinterest-project that consisted of converting a pumpkin into a planter. Here’s how you do it:
1. Cut the top off a pumpkin.
2. Walk inside and do whatever you want while your children spend twenty minutes filling it with dirt and watering it.
Here’s hoping those pumpkin seeds will grow. And even if they don’t, these three incredibly simple projects made me feel like Mom of the Year and Martha Stewart all in one. And combined, they took about fifteen minutes of my time.
That’s what I’m talking about when I say Pinterest should make your life easier.
And I hope that if Pinterest ever stops making my life easier, that I will (again) delete my account. The way I figure it, life has too many natural struggles and stresses for a website to add to them. For some crafty people, Pinterest might be unmitigated awesomeness. For my non-crafty self, it is a little more of a challenge to make sure that it benefits the lives of my family and does not detract from them.
Do you use Pinterest? Have you noticed any pitfalls? Or do you just love it??