I failed at Pinterest and came out OK.
Pinterest and I have a love-hate relationship. But I’m coming to terms with having failed as a Pinterest mom and am still able to have a meaningful life. It’s possible. I’ll show you.
Love it or hate it, I’ve learned that Pinterest is a must-do to help get the word out about my blog, and to try to get some following. I was afraid of Pinterest for a long time — it can be overwhelming with all those beautiful, pristine pictures and creative ideas and boards, so many boards. I thrive on creativity and sharing ideas — I always have — so I admit I’ve had some secret bitterness while all these other people who happen to know how to take good pics, label them with fancy fonts and pin them up the ying yang get validated in the world of “wow, what an amazing and clever idea,” while I’d love to share some creative thinking and can’t seem to break through to anyone.
I started a blog in May and entered the world of Pinterest in July. A teeny tiny baby step into Pinterest. I will openly tell you I haven’t been successful there yet. I have a lot to learn about how to make better graphics and become more visible. Or maybe to write better content. I didn’t think my lack of success had had any effect on me . . . until recently.
The day I realized I wasn’t a perfect Pinterest mom.
How many Mothers of Boys are on Pinterest, anyway?
“But I specifically chose that t-shirt for D to wear at his party because it has a dinosaur critter thingy on it, and animals are the theme of his party,” I yelled, as my husband came in from playing outdoors with D just minutes before his 3-year-old birthday party, taking off his water-soaked shirt.
“Did those words just come out of my mouth?” I wondered. On the one hand, who cares what the birthday boy wears — it’s not like anyone would really notice, right? And if they did, would they ever make the mental connection to the rest of the party theme? (“Oh, wow, she really has her stuff together — everything tied together so perfectly at D’s party and she’s full of cute ideas . . .”) On the other hand, for $@%$^ sake, I had animal decorations, animal-themed games, an animal cake (homemade and filled with pride), an animal-owner coming to show the kids chinchillas and tortoises and snakes and more, animal masks and animal stickers in the goody bags, paired with homemade craft kit (complete with a poem I wrote) so that kids could make their own animal out of pom-poms and googly eyes and pipe cleaners. Animals. EVERYWHERE. This was shaping up to be a super-Pinterest-worthy party, and one that is relevant to my blog about being the mother of boys. How could I not complete the theme with my kid wearing an animal shirt?
In my split-second craze, I considered a superhero shirt instead. Nope. That’s just not going to cut it. So I threw the dinosaur shirt in the dryer. I was determined to make this work.
And then what happened? We had a great party, filled with smiles and snacks and sunshine and yes, an animal theme. I wonder if anyone noticed. We took lots of pictures, but when I look at them now, I see that they are not quite Pinterest material. But that’s ok. They are snapshots of my final baby‘s 3rd birthday. Of the amazing friends who came to celebrate and eat the darn animal cake with me. Of a little boy who stole my heart and made my life as the mother of boys even more complete. Of me cringing as my sons held a snake around their neck or let a lizard sit on their head, and how they loved every minute of it. And, of course, of D’s dinosaur shirt, reminding me of the moment I almost let my desire to connect and share my ideas (and, yes, get some credit for them) overtake what really mattered that day.
Happy Birthday, D.
How to Host an Animal Party
In case there’s hope for me on Pinterest yet, for anyone curious, here are some pics and tips for an awesome and affordable animal-themed birthday party. I recommend you throw one of your own, but only if it’s what your kids will love and if it makes you as happy as it made me.
For the goody bag, I bought a bag of pom poms, something like this. I also bought a pipe cleaners and googly eyes and a few pieces of felt. I put into small snack-size bags two pom poms, two googly eyes, 2 pipe cleaners, and two small random shapes of felt. I wrote a little poem to help the kids know what to do and that the glue was not included. I know my kids had fun crafting their little critter, and I’m hoping the other party attendees did, too!
This was a fun cake to make! I made it from scratch with the recipe on the back of Hershey’s cocoa. Then, I mixed vanilla store-bought frosting with blue and green food coloring to make the grass and river. I used store-bought chocolate frosting for the mud corner, and topped the cake with a pretzel stick bridge & fence, and plenty of animal — animal crackers, gummy worms, and Swedish fish. Fun and yummy!
For party activities, we had www.crittercaravan.com come to show the kids all sorts of animals. And I made up an old-school game, complete with unprofessional hand-drawn pictures — we played animal sounds, and the kids had to run toward the picture of whichever animal was making the sound. Good idea in theory, but it didn’t last more than a minute!