I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and decided instead of thinking I should just write it here, right?
I’ve pretty much given up on Pintrest. I will peruse it occasionally if I am bored, or need some motivation to cook, clean, laugh, or such. Let me explain why. As we have heard about from many other stressed out, over worked, trying to compete mothers, Pintrest makes us feel inadequate. We, uh, I mean my kids, don’t have the best Valentine’s Box at school. I didn’t make the best dinner ever for my family. My kids have not read all the books on the “25 Books your Kids Should Read by Kindergarten” list. Also, I do not look like that in that outfit, nor do I want to spend $105 on a cotton tank top. I’ll get some ideas occasionally, but I have found it to be just another way to “keep up with the Joneses.”
Please note, I’m not knocking Pinterest. If it is your thing, that is great, but don’t let it suck you in. Life doesn’t look like that.
I have seen several young mothers pin things recently, and it got me thinking. We are trying to hard to create moments in our life. I see people pin “pictures to take at the birth of the second baby” and “candid shots to take of your family.” The sweetest pictures I have of my boys are the ones that just happened. I didn’t place my youngest son in my oldest’s arms and ask him to kiss him, so I could take a picture. He wanted to hold him, he leaned down and kissed him, and my mother was quick enough to take a picture. We are so worried about what the picture will look like that we forget to have moments. To enjoy the time we are given.
I’m not simply talking about pictures. We have everything planned. Our college career: I’m going to go to this school, major in this, find my future spouse during this year, and live happily ever after. Our weddings: We will be engaged for this long, our wedding will look like this, at some point in the ceremony I will look down and my spouse will kiss my head, perfection. Our children’s births: I want this music playing, I want to labor this way, in this position, I will not have any preventative actions taken, and I will not have a C-Section. Our children’s childhood: My children will eat at this time, nap at this time, cry at this time. They will not be rowdy; they will listen when I tell them to, or they will be punished. I will never negotiate, or spank, or bribe. It will be perfect….. This is not life. It’s good to have a plan, but plans change. You take an English class and your world changes in college; you start talking to your spouse through the entire unity candle song and it makes the best memories; you labor for 24 hours and don’t care how the baby comes out, as long as he comes out; you bribe, beg, and steal to get your child to eat or stop crying. It’s life. It’s not how the picture looks from the outside. It’s how it looks from the inside.
Be honest about life, who you are, who your spouse is, who your kids are. The only way to improve is to be honest, but sometimes things don’t need improving. Sometimes your 5 year old has the manual dexterity of a 4 year old, and has to work really hard to catch up to his peers. Sometimes this effects more than holding scissors, it effects his demeanor, his personality, his behavior. Sometimes you get to celebrate the victories of watching him do a sit up by himself, or cut in a straight line, or sit still in a chair for longer than five minutes. To act like we aren’t dealing with this gives the impression there is something wrong with him. There isn’t. Sometimes your kids act up at the grocery store, or the birthday party, or the play date. Sometimes other kids do. There is no need for the “my kid doesn’t act that way” speech. We all know differently.
You don’t need to create the perfect picture, because that’s not life. It doesn’t matter what other’s see. It matters what you see. If you are miserable on the inside, but it looks pretty from the outside, what’s the point? When you are honest with yourself and others about what you are seeing, that is when real life begins. That is when the picture is the prettiest.