The Pinterest Trap

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by Angela Hedges

I’ll admit it: I love Pinterest. It’s just a site to bookmark or “pin” ideas, recipes, pictures and websites, but it’s so pretty that I can’t resist it. The community aspect allows you to follow friends or any pinners with a style you admire. Soon your home page is a lovely collage of dream kitchens, adorable crafts, decluttering tips and heavenly vacation spots.

But it’s a trap. I’m not talking about the time you’ll waste pinning and repinning. All fun social websites drain our time. What makes Pinterest so dastardly is the illusion that anyone lives like this. I see friends posting gorgeous recipes and wonder where they find the time to cook like a gourmet chef. When I look at amazing landscaped backyards, artfully arranged with shabby chic castoffs, my untended yard seems barren and ugly. And with all the elaborate themed birthday crafts, the grocery-store cake and balloons I grab at the last minute for my children’s parties look pathetic.

Of course I pin like crazy, dreaming of my perfect home or imagining that someday I’ll learn to sew and then those cute curtain patterns will come in handy. I save recipes I haven’t made and pin miracle cleaning solutions I haven’t tried. The thing is, my friends see this and they re-pin too. Do they think I actually make my own photo coasters or that my incoming mail is organized in cute floral baskets? Because I don’t and it’s not. The real trap is thinking that any of these pretty ideas matter. Your kids don’t need seven cute bunny-shaped desserts on Easter. Your wedding does not need to have every square inch covered with romantic homemade crafts. Your messy house is fine. It’s normal.

I have tried some of the crafts and recipes and more often than not they don’t work out. Even if I go back and delete the pin, it’s already out there, repinned countless times, spreading misinformation and disappointment behind it’s beautiful facade. Even the ideas that work can just be too much. I attended a Valentine’s Day party that suffered from Pinterest overload. The hostess and several guests went crazy with picture-perfect foods, homemade games and craft projects for the kids. There was too much to eat and too much to do. Mostly we took pictures of each others’ creations while the kids ran around playing tag. Like so much of what’s online, it was all for show.

Life doesn’t need to be picture-perfect. It’s messy. It’s unpredictable. The best times can be spontaneous and unstructured. Laughing with friends over a bottle of wine. A walk around the block on a sunny day. A bowl of popcorn and a cheesy movie. No camera can capture the beauty of those moments. Instead of always trying to document or recreate, I make the uncaptured everyday moments a priority. I ignore the unsorted mail and call up an old friend, or heat up leftover pasta and curl up with a good book. I still pin and share and dream away (over 1,300 pins and counting!) but I it’s just for fun. The best things in life can’t be pinned.

(If I haven’t scared you away and you want to see what the fuss is all about, check out my impossible dream life at: http://pinterest.com/angelabcd)

Angela Hedges put aside a career in social media to pursue her passions: family and writing. As a mother she is inspired to explore the struggles and joys found in the ever-changing landscape of modern parenting. Her blog With Fail chronicles her journey as a writer. Angela also dead-blogs about the remarkable life of her grandmother on the aptly-named My Dead Grandmother.