Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Why we all want Pinterest Perfection

It's a relatively new phenomena, but it's growing at a staggering rate. It is a desire. An ambition. For some of us, all consuming. 

The desire to portray Pinterest Perfection

Instamums, as I've affectionately dubbed us, post photos of our exercise gear, swimsuit bodies two months after birth, home cooking, sparkling lounge rooms with fresh floral arrangements, new home-sewn kiddy outfits and day-dreamy holiday destinations featuring our gorgeous husbands posing topless and holding our cherub-like, swimsuit-clad babies. We want the world to see it. How wonderful snapshots of our life are. How relaxed, joyous, beautiful, sexy, interesting and clean our existence is.

Originally, I was going to post about the futility of it all. The guilt trips that ensue because as mums we are constantly bombarded with the Stepford Wife standard. We feel pressured to work extra hard to reach the bar set oh-so-high by those who do it all, before hubby comes home, with a pie in the oven and in Jimmy Choos. I was going to lament the fact that motherhood is portrayed as sunshiney and relaxing to those who were yet to embark on it. I wanted to fight for more photos depicting the amount of bodily fluid a newborn can project, the sleep deprivation, the crumbs caught in the floorboard cracks and the stretch marks. I wanted to tear down the impossibility, bring back reality and stop making us feel like horrible, messy hair, yoga pant wearing, 'there's something sticky on the floor and it has been for there for three weeks' mothers.

But then I went on Pinterest to find some recipes and Instagrammed my newly decorated Christmas tree.

And I LOVED it!

I think the secret is, we all love it.

I'm not sitting here feeling particularly guilty that bub has been eating the same zucchini slice for lunch for two weeks now whilst I find more One Handed Cooks recipes I might make later this week. Or next.

I do not endlessly lament the fact that I am renting and can't renovate my entryway to include a gorgeous wood panelled mud room with a mushroom colour scheme and extra storage. I dream, but it doesn't keep me up at night. 

I don't care that every day I wear thongs and can barely walk 200m in anything higher than a two inch heel whilst I pin to-die-for Christian Louboutin mint green stilettos with bows on the back (so cute!)

It just doesn't get to me.

And yet, I continue to Pin, 'gram and fb the parts of my life that are beautiful, that I am proud of and that make me smile.

Photo credit, screenshot of my Pinterest board Get On My Feet Right Now

It seems contradictory that, as mothers, we would seek to portray an image of ourselves that might make other mums feel inferior or like they aren't doing a good enough job. Most mums I know become a whole lot LESS judgemental once the baby arrives than before they were a parent. (Maybe I just know nice mums?) So, why do we do it?

Here are just a few reasons why I think we all want Pinterest Perfection:

1. We want to feel validated. A like on a photo may as well be a 'good on you' spoken in person. Our efforts have been appreciated and were not futile.

2. We want to spread the love. Beautiful things are worth sharing.

3. We want to inspire and encourage. That photo of us at the beach, in the bikini, two months after giving birth might make one mum feel hideously inadequate, but it may also be the motivation they need to start up and maintain a healthy exercise routine that actually makes them feel and be better. OR let them know that, hey, my body is far from catwalk standard and that's OK. (BTW I would be the viewer of said Instagram post, not the poster).

4. It gives us something to do! There's no end to the list of new hobbies that a new mum undertakes in order to feel like their whole world isn't just about baby. This blog is exhibit A. 

5. It can be a useful tool that helps us organise our own lives. I am in the process of thinking about bub's first birthday party (that's an EEEkk! moment in itself) and Pinterest perfect parties actually have some great ideas. Everyone loves a life hack board and some of those personal filing ideas are actually ingenuous. 

I guess this is the reason I started this blog in the first place. I love social media and sharing but I also really want reality to be put out there, not just pristine snapshots that utilise technical lighting and DSLR cameras. I want mums to know they are not alone in their struggles. BUT I also want mums to feel inspired, happy and embraced for who they are AND what they are capable of. Pinterest, Instagram, FB and Twitter, even blogs, give us the opportunity to inspire, gladden and encourage. There's so much potential for good to come from it. 

In the end social media is 'USER BEWARE'. You can't let it get to you when you see posts that make you feel like a bad mum. Or wife. Or woman. Or person. You need to be content where you're at. With what and who you have. Now. Not once the project is done, once you have enough money, once you lose this much weight. How do you want your kids to think about themselves when they start coming across their own version of Pinterest Perfection? You would want them to be content, grateful and satisfied with what they have and what is in their power to do and achieve. 

Enjoy it, but don't spend your life striving for it. 

Strive to enjoy your life the way you are spending it. 

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