I love Pinterest, and spend what I’m sure is too long scrolling through recipes, decor tips and ‘life hacks’. I’ve found some useful things over the years, and also made some truly terrible meals based on what seemed like a good idea. During nap times lately I’ve been watching Netflix’s new cooking show, Nailed It, which shows amateur (like, really amateur) bakers spectacularly failing to copy sophisticated bakes. It’s not high quality television, but it’s enjoyable when your brain needs a rest!
It does, however, point out the unattainability of most of the things we see on Pinterest… but still I never learn. Just this week I made a pasta sauce that somehow tasted of soap. Really. From ‘pinning’ all kinds of craft ideas I’ll never make, to ‘educational toddler games’ that not only end in tears, but also start in them, it has become clear to me that Pinterest is nothing like real life. And yet I, and millions of others, return to it again and again, only to set ourselves up to fail, and the majority of the time not even attempt the project in the first place. Why?
It’s the latest version of Country Homes syndrome – you know, where you browse through the pages of magazines showing posh houses you’ll never afford, or even if you can, your home will never look like the insides of those ones, which have been done up by interior designers especially for the photo shoot. It’s aspirational, is what we’re told. But we don’t really aspire to these homes as we know that we can never attain them. We just look longingly, sometimes translate ideas into our own homes, but mostly just sigh and move on. But Pinterest is different because we are led to believe we CAN achieve these things – the beautiful images of perfect cupcakes and stunning children’s parties have supposedly been put together by regular people, who deign to give us step-by-step instructions on how we too can become domestic goddesses. Only we can’t, and we don’t.
I think we can draw several things from this:
- If we put our hope in this, we will be sorely disappointed.
Caring too much how these things will turn out will lead to us feeling crushed when they do not. But if our hope is based on something else, something sure and certain, we won’t worry too much about a new hairstyle falling flat.
- We need to keep it real.
I am not a 1950s housewife. As much as I like the idea of greeting my husband at the door each evening with a smile, a bow in my hair, and a pinny tied neatly round my teeny-tiny waist, it’s not going to happen. And if I pretend that that is who I am, I will be miserable, and he will be confused. I’ve realised that if I wait until my house looks ‘just so’ before I invite somebody over, I’ll be drinking tea on my own forever more. Inviting people into our homes, politely asking them to step over the clutter, is a much better option. As is serving cakes that have sunk in the middle. Or chucking a half-finished craft project in the bin and doing something else instead.
- The Pinterest obsession points to something bigger.
But even though I have come to the above realisations, I still love scrolling through Pinterest. I think that something within us loves looking at these miniature versions of perfection. We love things that are beautiful, well made or just stunningly practical. I believe that’s because we were created for perfection. We were made not to be satisfied with the brokenness of this world. We were made for something more…
The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible talks about the futility of life on earth, but the writer states, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3 verse 11). As humans, we can know what is beautiful, and long for it, because we were made for a beauty and perfection that is not here, but is to come. The book of Revelation talks about what heaven will be like. In chapter 21 we read that there will be a new heaven and a new earth (verse 1), that God will live there with his people (verse 3), that there will be no more sadness (verse 4), and that God will make everything new (verse 5). Wow!
Our wobbly elephant biscuits
This was one ‘parenting hack’ that worked… at least for five minutes!