Mar 6, 2013

The Anti-Pinterest: Making You Feel Better About Your Home, Body, Parenting...

Where do you go for your daily dose of self-loathing? If you're anything like me, you probably get it at Pinterest. 

Most of us used to rely on lady mags, Martha Stewart, and judgmental friends to make us feel bad about our bodies, home decor, and parenting. Thankfully, we no longer have to wait until the beginning of the month, or even pay to look at pretty pictures of unattainable bodies, home decor and parenting!



I know, I know: Pinterest is a great way to catalogue all the bookmarks that would otherwise get buried under broken links for patterns-you-may-someday-sew and recipes-you'd-like-to-try-but-know-your-kids-will-never-eat (I'm looking at you, Quinoa and Kale Patties!). I try to only use it like that, avoiding others' boards and the "everything" button like I have a pair of virtual blinders on. But every now and then I get sucked down the rabbit hole of birthday party themes, fashion boards and crockpot recipes (and I don't even own a crockpot!). Then I get up, look around my messy, non-coordinated apartment, listen to my kid whine about having nothing to do, and go make mac and cheese for dinner again. 

Writer Dana Norris for The Rumpus said it best, in her (satircal, obvs!) Pinterest FAQ. Here's an excerpt:
What is Pinterest?Pinterest is a million-page woman’s magazine written by everyone you’ve ever met and edited by no one. Want inspiration for an upcoming party? Want ideas for what to make for dinner tonight? Want to take on dozens of nifty projects that you have neither the resources nor the time or talent to accomplish? Want to worry that you don’t throw or attend enough parties? Want to feel that everything you’ve ever made for dinner was bullshit? Want to cultivate the creeping suspicion that everyone else has a beautiful, clean home full of repurposed mason jars and yours is the only home where all surfaces are covered in cat hair? Pinterest is the place.
What is a pin?A pin is a picture taken out of context with a short description that belittles your life choices. For example: a picture of an eight-layer cake with the description, “I got rid of my TV and now look what I do!”

Have you seen Pinterest Fail (Tagline: "Where good intentions come to die")? Or Epic Pinterest Fail? Or Pintrosity? Or Craft Fail? Each of these blogs catalogues the myriad ways in which Pinterest-users have failed to replicate the cool and creative things they've seen on Pinterest. Some things, like cake decorating, for example, are just not the easy for amateurs to emulate. (And some of those pins we've all seen are pure fiction, like the "fairies in a jar" project, which Mommy Needs a Martini tried, much to her child's horror.) 

Peter of Male Pattern Boldness recently labeled my apartment as "pristine," though really I just get my husband to snap pics in the one clean corner, pushing all the toys, dirty clothes and assorted items that don't belong just out of the frame. To prove it, and to help counteract any negative effects you may be experiencing due to Pinterest-overload, here are some pics of my apartment juxtaposed with the very pins that make me want to burn this apartment block down and start from scratch:

Sewing "Room" (Mine is not a room, but a corner in my foyer)

 Decorative Built-in Shelving (yes, those are my recyclables):



Toy storage solutions!


Kitchen Sink 
(I don't have a dishwasher, which pains me greatly thrice daily, but maybe if I had a cool, built-in rack...Damn it, Pinterest! You win again!)


Birthday Banner:



Did I make you feel better about yourself just a little? That's my public service for today! Now back slowly away from the pin button, everyone!

39 comments:

  1. Love it. There are plenty of decor ideas, sewing projects and recipes I would love to try. I probably should get my ass off pinterest, stop pinning and actually cook/sew/clean though. That might be a start. Luckily, I don't feel bad when I see most of those pins because half the things (I'm mostly talking crazy nail polish and burlap and mason jar projects) are things I would screw up and/or think are not worth the time! I embrace my lazy.
    So glad I got married before the age of Pinterest though! Every picture and detail now has to be touching and perfect? Yikes. no pressure! Thanks for the blog links - I'll have to check those out, they sound hilarious.

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    1. I saw some really bad nail polish fails! some things are best left to pros, yo!

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  2. I love this post. You should make this a regular segment.

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    1. Watch out, if I do, it won't be long until you are a featured player in my Anti-Pinterest PSAs!

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  3. I also find looking at the Ikea catalogue with it's perfectly coordinated Scandinavian accessories has a simliar effect.

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  4. how funny, i sometimes look at pinterest in the evenings (when a parent feels the most defeated, mind you) and just want to scream: "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!?!" it's handy for organizing links sometimes, but it's just overload when you get sucked in.

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  5. macaroni and cheese is the food of the gods. no shame there. :-) in fact, i have a mac and cheese recipe pinned for just that purpose!! ;-)

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    1. Yes, it is. And it always gets eaten! That's why I made it for lunch today!

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  6. Great post, it made me think. Its just an overkill of "pretty" stuff, though I always need to remember that most of these pictures are styled and not for real. In most of those places people don't really live, because life can't be styled.

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  7. Love it! I get total satisfaction if I empty the dishwasher at the end of the day; to again fill it back up! Who knows when I'll have time for all of those crafts, recipes, and home improvements. Most likely they will all be pipe dreams until I hit my late 50's when I assume I will have time to myself!

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    1. I hear you. But by the time we are late-50s, Pinterest will be a chip in our brains that automatically downloads all the projects, recipes and outfit inspiration we now have to search for!

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  8. Though I do ok in the sewing department, others areas of my life, decorating is one of them, are just a total bloody mess and since I refuse to sew home stuff like curtains and such, my house looks just like when we moved in 8 years ago.
    You made me laugh like a mad woman and I take comfort in the fact I am not alone in thinking it all looks too good to be true.

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  9. I think it would be a great blog post to send you a pic each of our "reality shots". I'm talking bottom of the pantry shots, or windows (my windows are always filled with dog snot and fingerprints, and sometimes kid drool). Facebook is slowing starting to kill real life too. Everyone is happy and their kids are happy and there are twinkles and stars and sunshine. Dude, my kids scream and the dog barfs and someone always drops in and inevitably uses the bathroom someone just destroyed. Then you could create a Beau Baby Pinterest board about keeping it real. We can upload more pics and stare at it when when feel bad as moms for not creating handmade birthday favors with matching ribbon and kisses. I'm falling hard into the depths of my daughters 3rd birthday kitten party. I need a Pinterest intervention. No one cares if her cupcake liners are the perfect shade of aqua or if I handmade the table runners to match her hair bows. Drink more, Pinterest less. I commend you!

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    1. That's a great idea! reader-submitted anti-pinterest pics...I like it!

      And yes, kids' birthday parties are the ultimate in shame-making pinterest searching!

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  10. You better watch out, or this post will go viral on Pinterest! hahah. I totally agree that Pinterest is like a heat-seeking missile when it comes to making people feel bad about themselves. It's so nice to hear that other people have the same reaction to the endless supply of perfectly styled people/homes/tablescapes. I can't even type tablescapes with a straight face hahaha

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  11. Funny! I love my kids, but they don't even get banners for their birthdays.

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  12. Oh, I have submissions for your anti-pinterest series whenever you decide to start it. For example-- I really do have pretty maple floors in my house. I like to take photos of small projects on my pretty floors sometimes. But I want you to know that I usually have to brush a layer of cat hair out of the way before I take any photos. Vacuuming would be the proper choice but I generally just push it to the side. And I second the notion that mac n cheese is the food of the gods. Especially the southern casserole style mac n cheese. I have a recipe pinned if you are interested ;)

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  13. Oh, this is funny, but your pics still look good to me. I think lots of what we post up on blogs, even the real stuff, we automatically attains a 'netglow'.

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  14. Hahaha oh man, that is spot on.

    Want to feel that everything you’ve ever made for dinner was bullshit?
    Gold.

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  15. Suzanne, I love you. I agree with Ryan that this should be a regular segment.

    #1. Thank you for giving me a reason for never going to figure out what pinterest is...I already have trouble keeping up with twitter, facebook and my email and felt guilty that I have never been to pinterest. Glad to know my guilt is unfounded as going to pinterest would only magnify my guilt.

    #2. I would rather visit or live in your real house over all of those fakey pictures. It looks like a lovely place.

    #3. I am afraid to cook lately because there is so much dog and human hair in my apartment I am certain that dog or human hair will end up in my cooking.

    #4. My fear listed in #3 is not irrational. Yesterday in the space of time it took to reach for a plate and scoop mac n' cheese onto said plate a dog hair appeared on the plate.

    #5. Maybe I should be too embarrassed to say this publicly but last week when cleaning up my dog's doo-doo I saw a piece of my long hair in it which means he eats my hair. If I can't serve my dog food without my hair in it, I am doomed as far as serving anyone else.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I hope that you and your family will still come over for dinner if you are ever in Chicago. :o)

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    1. Dog hair (and human hair) is just fiber, basically. And if you have kids you can say you're just boosting their immune systems (a fact!).

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  16. This is very funny. I guess I just avoid those kinds of photos for the same reason I avoid decorating magazines. Who cares how interior decorators spend their rich clients' money?

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  17. You totally crack me up! You are so very right and I find Facebook can be a little like that too. There was a time when not much was going right in my family's life and I had to stop reading Facebook. No one shares the gory stuff on Facebook and you'd believe that everyone lived a charmed existence. The ban did me the world of good! Now if I could just stop reading everyone else's blogs and actually do some work on mine, I might get somewhere :)

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    1. the people who do share the gory stuff on facebook are my faves!

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    2. Hahaha. Then you should totes friend me as I have taken that tack. I figured if I need to know there are other people with gory lives, then I'd better start sharing my gory bits myself to get them started!

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  18. Lol! Very funny quote about pinterest and thanks for the dose of reality. Funnily enough, you could put photos of your house next to mine and the comparison would be on a similar level of yours vs pinterest :P Mine is not pretty, is what I'm saying :P

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  19. I was tipped about Pinterest by a collegue when it was all new, but something in my gut made me wait and just not create an account. Same as I was last among my friends to start a blog or join Facebook =) I generally always want to get a hold of what an internet community or social network is all about before I jump into it, then I can enter it with an idea of how I want to partake in it.
    I have a feeling that if I ever started to use Pinterest I'd get nothing done at home and I'd feel bad about the few things that do get done. Thanks for a great post that has more than ever resolved me into not start "pinning"!

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  20. I went to Pinterest once and it was terrifying. But I like the idea of an anti-Pinterest, reminds me of an anti-scrapbook a friend once proposed: baby's first nappy, worst ever school report, drunken 16th birthday, my divorce...

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  21. I've stayed away from pinterest because I have enough things sucking up my time! But I must say I would be happy if my house looked liked yours. Right now I have sewing projects piled all over my dining room, living and family room! I need to get to work! Love your blog over morning coffee though!

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  22. YES! Sometimes I feel like I put all my effort into making my life as magazine-like as possible, which is clearly impossible when one lives in a dorm setting and works in a paint shop.

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    1. I have always had this thing where I want my home to be ready in case the Queen pops by for tea. I think I got that from Anne of Green Gables...

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  24. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh crikey, this is good... stupid Pinterest...

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  25. Ha ha ha!!!! First of all, I LOVE Pinterest. It's the place I waste the most time. The fashion stuff does kind of make me want to lose ten pounds and do something with my hair, but overall I love it. I avoid a lot of DIY stuff, weird recipes and more than anything, the fitness boards. Those are the worst.

    I'll check out those links. I'm not familiar with any of them, but love the Regretsy blog. There are horrific things on there.

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  29. Well, hey there! Thanks for the shout out! And for making me feel like I'm not a total craft disaster!

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    1. Somewhere there's an evil person laughing hard at all the repins of that silly fairy sparkle picture. Not your fault you got sucked in. Blame Pinterest!

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