Little boys don’t really need picture perfect cupcakes, they do fine on mud pies and love.
When Pinterest first came into my life, it was as if the gates of Heaven opened and allowed celestial lights to beam down on me from above. It was the greatest thing since Clorox wipes, and I love Clorox wipes. I was ecstatic, elated even! It was amazing to know that if I needed a crafty idea, there were dozens just seconds away with a simple search and click. I can’t count the number of nights I stole the computer to look up everything from photography to baking to creating furniture with pallet wood. Yes, I said pallet wood.
It wasn’t long after I discovered Pinterest that I discovered something else. I was pregnant. It was the day after Thanksgiving when two lines appeared on a dollar test. I was in total shock, as was my husband. Once the initial shock wore off, I did what any expectant mother would do. I used Pinterest to help prepare.
I spent a lot of time looking at nursery ideas and cute clothes. I even found a few Father’s Day gift ideas I hope to use someday. I pinned some pictures of wall art and party favors. I actually made bookmarks for my shower out of paint sample strips. The idea came from a cute Valentine’s Day pin that I tweaked to work for my shower.
My baby came, and with him, a whole new me. It was like someone had thrown me into the deep end of the pool without first teaching me how to swim. Being an only child, my interactions with infants up until having one of my own was limited, and that’s stretching it. Aside from holding a new baby at church and the time I spent in the nursery doing rotations in LPN school, I had no experience with them whatsoever.
And just like that,with some pushing and a loud cry, I suddenly became responsible for one. It was completely overwhelming.
I caught on to being a mom fairly well. At least, I like to think I did. As to be expected, there were some hiccups along the way. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when he walked through the door one evening to find me nearly in tears. I was trying to cut my son’s toenails and accidently got the skin, too. He was bleeding and I was freaking out because I couldn’t get it to stop. I knew to hold pressure, but I didn’t want to hurt him anymore than I already had. I was trying to hold the gauze as gently as I could, which was doing nothing for the bleeding. He smiled, told me to put pressure on it, and reassured me Izaiah (my son) was fine. I sniffled and did as he said. It stopped bleeding shortly thereafter. I held my little boy and told him I was sorry.
By the time my maternity leave ended, I had somewhat of a handle on my new life. But with work added into the mix, my days became an endless cycle of making bottles, changing diapers, work, and sleep, when I could fit it in. Without realizing, I drifted away from the boards and the pins, from the cuteness and crafty I had once been giddy about. It faded into the background. Surprisingly, I don’t miss it. I don’t have time to miss it.
I won’t lie. When I scroll through Facebook and see pictures of too-cute-not-to-share cupcakes or birthday decorations, I’m envious of my Pinterest mom friends. My son’s birthday party was a few weekends ago. He turned two. Decorations were minimal. I am ashamed to admit the Ninja Turtle streamers I bought didn’t even get hung. Why? Because the roll of tape I grabbed was empty. Talk about an epic fail! And here, the Pinterest moms have handmade table runners and gift bags. The pictures of their party should be in a magazine somewhere and mine weren’t even picture worthy.
The Pinterest moms make it look it easy. They make it look effortless. But I know it isn’t. It takes work to make life look put together and I admire what they do behind the scenes to paint such a pretty picture. I respect that work, as a Mom who knows I could never do what they do. I applaud them for the time they put in to matching outfits for every holiday. I cheer when they are able to create the perfect gift from scratch for any occasion. I thank them for the recipe they so wonderfully executed to make the best pineapple upside down cake I’ve ever put in my mouth. They are amazing Moms.
But Pinterest doesn’t make them the amazing mom I am proud to know. Love does. Every last thing they bake, every creation they make, is fueled by the love they have for their children. That’s what makes everything they do so special. That’s what makes them special. So when I start to get down on myself for not being the Pinterest mom I secretly wish I were, I take a step back and look at my life.
What I see is messy and real. It is not in any way, shape, form, or fashion fit for a magazine. I see a floor that hasn’t been vacuumed in longer than I care to admit. I see unopened mail on the counter blocking the microwave. I see piles of laundry waiting to be sorted, washed, and put away. If that was all there was to see, my life would be pretty dull. But it’s not.
I see bright eyes in my rearview mirror as I watch my son eat his (ice)cream. I see a Step Two grill he got for his birthday in the middle of my living room floor. I see blocks and cars and wooden puzzle pieces scattered from one end of the room to the other. And I see the little boy who made me a mom smile as he takes me by the hand and leads me to sit in the floor next to him. That’s all I need to see.
My son doesn’t need a Pinterest mom. He doesn’t need handmade decorations or even store-bought streamers for that matter. He just needs my time and energy. He just needs my love, which is the same thing my Pinterest mom friends are giving their children, just in a different way.
A Pinterest mom may make cookies whereas I dance in the rain, but we both show love. They may dress in matching outfits the while I’m searching for clean clothes, because we watched Charlie Brown instead of doing laundry. Both show love. They may have a life that is neat and pretty, wrapped with perfect creases and a shiny bow, while mine is chaotic and crazy and unwrapped, because I forgot the tape.
As long as love is what drives us, the details don’t matter.
What does matter is the precious cargo we have been entrusted to nurture and cherish. As a mom, our most important job is not party planner or head chef. It is to create a safe space for our sons to be happy, healthy, and thriving. The use of Pinterest doesn’t create that environment for them. A mother’s love does.
Photo: Flickr/Eric Lewis