I've read several blogs with this same topic I'm about to discuss in the last few weeks. At the risk of being repetitive, I really do have some things I would like to say, if that's alright with everyone. Once again, it is my dear friend Lacie who inspired this one.
Lacie sent me a distress text last night feeling totally overwhelmed that she won't be a good mother. The cause of this anxiety? Pinterest. Specifically the "kids" category. Oh...the dangerous "kids" category! (Dun, dun, dun!) Sure, this category is chock full of spectacular and fresh ideas with pin captions that read "this woman's blog is amazing! She has so many good parenting ideas" or "why didn't I think of that?" Or the most deceptive three letters floating around the Pinterest realm: DIY.
Before I make everyone feel bad, Pinterest is not a bad thing. I myself am a fellow addict. I've found some phenomenal, almost life changing ideas on there. It's where I got all the inspiration for Kennedy's "big girl" room when the time comes. Although it'll be 8,000x more work than it would have been to just buy a toddler bed and stick her in a new room, she is going to love it!! I've found things to do inside when the weather is bad, creative crafts, parenting techniques, and other information that I probably never would have found otherwise. It's not all bad.
But it's not all good either. We've all seen them, those pins that make you hyperventilate and feel like you need to take a parenting class. You see birthday parties that obviously took an entire week to prepare for: cakes that put any wedding cake to shame and make you feel guilty for eating it, every wall is decorated with streamers and pom-poms, pictures and games, the punch is 7 different colors and has pirate ships floating in it with actual moving pirates, the food looks like it was flown in from the nether most regions of France, party favors that are better and more exciting than what I got in all my childhood Christmas's combined, and the presents...*sigh*... the presents... Have I made my point?
Or there's the lunches. Brace yourself people, but did you know a good mother makes themed lunches and writes a new, witty joke to place inside each and every day? Your child won't be happy at school unless their sandwich is shaped like a dragon and actually breathes fire, and their carrots are built into a little village that the dragon can destroy.
Pinterest has also made it apparent that every holiday has to run you into the ground weeks in advance and empty your bank account with evidence of leprechaun footprints, Easter bunny poop, tooth fairy dust around the house, and live turkeys in the yard that they can raise from a hatchling and then kill and prepare themselves. And don't even get me started with Christmas. That's an entire blog in and of itself.
The list goes on and on. Women are riddled with guilt when they see all these seemingly cute and enjoyable ideas and they're not doing them. But I ask you, who has the time for that?! I don't want to make any woman who actually does these things feel badly about their parenting style. If it works for you, that's awesome. But it is NOT the way the rest of us have to do it.
Where do we get the time to decorate a cake for hours on end and still spend time with our little ones? How are you supposed to make an extravagant birthday party and possibly top it the next year when they're even older and can realize they want more? How are our kids supposed to appreciate what they get or get excited for holidays when everything is so overdone? The harder we try to make mediocre holidays special, the worse it's going to be when we want to take it a step further and really create memories.
You might call this lazy parenting, but I can it actual parenting. I feel like our society is raising a generation of ungrateful, disrespectful kids and I believe this is a major contributing factor. We're made to feel like good parents give and give and give their kids what they want and make every day something spectacular. But how are they going to remember every single cool thing you did for them if you're always doing them? Eventually they will get bored and you'll have to work that much harder. And if they're always getting what they want, how will they ever learn that life isn't fair? Because let me drop an A-bomb on job here: it's not!
Growing up, we had our traditions in our family that I LOVED and always looked forward to. For Easter, our parents would hide eggs and our Easter basket and we got to search for them. We had candy and one, I repeat, ONE toy or article of clothing in our basket. And that was so exciting I couldn't sleep the night before. For Halloween we did the traditional carving pumpkins and dressing up to trick or treat. Done and done. My parents made it special, and simple in their own way, and I loved it enough that they're traditions I want to carry on with my children. And I won't need a week to recover from the preparations of making it special.
Mothers of the world, you're doing a great job. You don't have to go overboard on everything your child interacts with. As long as your child is loved and cared for and you're doing the best you can, THAT IS ENOUGH. Don't ever let what another woman does make you feel like you're not stepping up to the plate. Don't take the time away from reading or playing with your child to whittle army men from scratch because you think that's what makes you a great mother. Spending time and loving your child is what matters most. Always remember that.
And for heaven sakes, stay away from Pinterest.