*This piece was also published on Medium.com, where it was selected by the editors as a Member Feature.*
“I honestly think this is the most successful Pinterests I’ve ever seen in one room.”
By her tone, I couldn’t tell if she meant it as a compliment. I decided to go ahead and take it as one anyway.
My best friend was walking through my house, taking in the crafts and recipes I had completed for my son’s Dr. Seuss-themed first birthday party.
I didn’t tell her that I got a lot of the ideas from Pinterest, but she knew. My obsession with the popular inspiration board website is well known among my friends and family.
I am what they called a Pinterest Mom, a term I believe was coined to throw shade at women like me. But I own it. In fact, I take pride in it.
My kids’ hospital bracelets and newborn caps did not get packed away in storage boxes. They were placed in adorable, homemade Christmas ornaments.
If I have to send a snack to school for a class party, I don’t run to Shop Rite for a pre-made fruit tray.
When one of my kids finds a pine cone in the backyard, it’s craft time.
When they want to be something obscure, like The Gruffalo, for Halloween, I don’t tell them to just pick something from the costume store. I break out the fabric scissors and get to work.
And, like any Pinterest Mom worth her Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, I do The Elf.
Since Pinterest launched in 2010, it has become the internet’s go-to spot for recipes, craft ideas, outfit inspiration and much more. But it has received some backlash as well. A 2012 Buzzfeed article went viral when it claimed that Pinterest was killing feminism by giving women a one-stop shop for healthy recipes, fitness inspiration, and interior decorating ideas. Gawkereven went so far as to call it “the Mormon housewife’s image bookmarking service of choice.”
Last I checked, it was not anti-feminist to want to be healthy and live in a pretty house.
But I digress. I’m not here to talk about Pinterest and feminism. I’m here to talk about Pinterest and Mom Culture. The term “Pinterest Mom” has always felt like something of a backhanded compliment, as moms who opt out of these crafts project a sort of defensive pride in their decision to forego the DIY versions of everything from teacher gifts to holiday decorations. The implication is that these projects are cute, but moms like me only do them because my life revolves completely around my children and I have no hobbies or interests of my own.
Guess what? This is my hobby. And it always has been, long before Pinterest existed.
Before I was making Halloween costumes for my son, I was making Greek letter shirts for my sorority sisters. Before I was throwing elaborately themed parties for our kids, I was throwing them for my husband. This is who I am.
Pinterest hasn’t forced me to give up part of myself in order to create cutesy crafts for my kids. It has given me an avenue to include my kids in the things that I have always enjoyed.
And let me just say this one more time, a little bit louder for the folks in the back: Motherhood is not a competition. I’m not trying to one up anyone. I just like crafting. If I decide to make homemade heart-shaped crayons for the class Valentine’s Day party, it’s not because I think they’re better than your store bought Paw Patrol valentines. It’s because I wanted to make homemade heart-shaped crayons and the Valentine’s Day party simply provided me an excuse.
As women and as moms, we need each other. Especially as we struggle under the weight of adulthood, our strong female friendships become more important than ever. There are plenty of influences, both in the media and in our daily lives, that are trying to turn us against each other. Let’s not add crafts and recipes to the list.
And if crayon-making isn’t your thing, that’s fine. You do you, Mama. You’re fabulous, and my kid loved the Paw Patrol valentine.