When we sat down over a year ago to make ourselves write (ie: create self-imposed deadlines with a weekly blog) we talked very seriously about our imagined contributions to academia. We would be inspired and brilliant. We would provide insight and context for the wild world of community college instruction. I’m so glad we made room for whatnot because after a day in the Writing Center, I’m tired. It’s like my creative brain is sucked out by outlines and MLA citations. I can barely formulate a sentence worthy of the average freshman comp class, let alone write intelligently about the conflict in Syria or the latest best seller. So this is the junk I read.
Confessions and fair warning: The recommended reading is probably offensive. It’s full of four-letter words and putdowns. But it’s funny. Really funny. Okay, maybe only funny to a woman of a certain age who has no time for crafts or overly considered school supplies or other people’s children. Check this out: These Pinterest Moms Put Me to Shame
This was basically my introduction to the social networking phenomenon Pintrest. It wasn’t long before the abrasive humor seeped into my brain. I posted a link on my Facebook and waited. My friends commiserated – I felt righteous and relieved. The Bitchin Sisters were right: none of us can keep up.
I don’t frequent Pintrest, but I’m all too familiar with the rat race that is modern parenthood. Much has been written about the damage our image driven world has done to women, young and old. Popular media sells us the same overly polished bill of goods. We’re never as sexy, as slim, or as fit as the billboard or the magazine. We’re always missing the right clothing or the season’s hottest handbag. It’s a game – and it’s one that I learned to play with my eyes wide open: I’ll never look like Gwyneth Paltrow, but that’s obvious. It’s somehow less obvious that the perfectly curated mommy-moments aren’t real.
Pintrest traffics in DIY porn – with enough time and multi-colored duct tape, we can all make our homes look like a Pottery Barn catalogue. Our children will have hummus and animal shaped vegetables at snack time. Their distressed jeans will never be dirty and their hair will always be gelled. Or at least I can make it look that way on-line despite the pile of laundry that threatens to engulf me and my iPad.
Maybe it’s helpful to have a beautiful, digital escape, but the perfectly crafted mommy-world of the web is not helping with my struggle for realism and balanced priorities. The Bitchn’ Sisters’ post went viral last month. It’s all over Facebook and sites like the Huffington Post will make their brand of sarcasm mainstream. My friends and I are still laughing and parroting the foul captions tagged to melting crayons and personalized chalk boards. It’s great entertainment, but it’s also our only hope for sanity.