At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old grinch, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: These damn people with their Pinterest are screwing everything up for the rest of us.
I realize I’ve probably just made enemies with a lot of the moms reading this blog, but let me just say first that I have nothing but admiration, and even a little envy, for all of you who can make birthday cakes in the shapes of castles, fashion amazing holiday crafts out of twine and a hunk of fabric, hand design your own wrapping paper, create snacks for your kids’ schools that are both healthy AND look like Disney characters, and slap together functional organizational methods for your kids’ rooms, all in just a few hours. I am in awe of you. I know people who can do this and find enormous fulfillment from it, and more power to them. Good for them—I will continue to look on with amazement as I swoop in to the grocery store and grab two boxes of Gogurts for my daughter’s class snacks and call it good.
What’s NOT cool, however, is making people like me feel we also have to be Pinterest-perfect.
One day in October, I picked my daughter up from kindergarten and asked her how her day had been. The first thing out of her mouth was this: “For snack, we had pumpkins made out of oranges and celery for a stem! Can we do that sometime?”
Granted, not a terribly difficult snack to make, but it did require peeling 25 oranges and carefully poking 25 tiny celery sticks into the middle. And I would never have done this. Seriously, my head doesn’t work that way. I would have bought a bag of oranges and handed them to the teacher. Unpeeled.
After that, every morning when I dropped my daughter at school, I found myself scanning the playground for the mom who was handing over the snack to the teacher, to see if I was the only one showing up with bunches of store-bought grapes, bags of string cheese, Gogurts, and the like. A shocking number of them were hand-dipping pretzels in dark chocolate, making grape caterpillars, baking zucchini muffins, and creating individual cups of yogurt/granola parfait.
I definitely needed to step up my game.
Halloween rolled around, and while I expected my daughter’s class party to be a candy-fest, with the obligatory veggie tray or apple slices. What they actually had were mummy-wrapped juice boxes, blue jello cups with fake fingers in the bottom, or spiders made of marshmallows and chocolate-covered pretzel sticks.
Meanwhile, the time I decided to join the ranks and send Ants on a Log to school for snack, it took 45 minutes to spread peanut butter on those damn things.
I mean, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Don’t they work? How do they have time for that nonsense? All the kids do is lick the peanut butter off anyway. Next time it was our snack day, we brought string cheese.
The coup de grâce, however, was the email I got the other day from the mom who is organizing the Christmas party for the class. I expected to help, to show up with some things, but what I didn’t expect was this:
Below please find requested items for both the luncheon and the graham cracker house decorating station.
The graham cracker house alone requires 5 cans of white frosting, 2 bags of mini M&Ms, 1 bag of Red Hots, 2 bags of peppermint candies, and 2 boxes of mini candy canes. And then there are the things for the luncheon.
The list of requests includes finger sandwiches “cut into triangles,” a “meat and cheese Christmas Tree (“either multiple types of cheese/olives and/or add cubed salami”), a veggie Christmas tree with ranch dip, Grinch-green deviled eggs, and strawberry Santa hats (“with or without oreos, can substitute mini brownies also”).
All of the above items featured an accompanying photo from Pinterest.
I was incensed. I have no problem with someone who has the time to make food topiaries for the kindergarten party—more power to ‘em! The kids will love it, I’m sure. But telling me to select which topiary to make is NOT COOL. And strawberries aren’t even in season!
Can we just stop piling more crap onto parents during the holidays? I mean, for crying out loud, what 5-year-old is going to eat a green deviled egg? Do you think the appealing Christmas tree shape will make them more inclined to eat the veggies in the face of the cupcakes, candy, and graham cracker house? Could I not just run to Safeway really quick and grab a veggie tray?
I remember my own mother being a room mom, and she hand made and (oh, the shame) hand frosted cupcakes with a butter knife for my class parties, and those things were freakin’ delicious, and all I remember about those parties was that my mom was there and we had fun. But now we have Pinterest and we can’t just show up to a damn party anymore, ever, at any place, with a snack that isn’t in the shape of something. We can’t ever go to a kid’s birthday party where somebody’s aunt didn’t make a cake, from scratch, in the shape of a Frozen-themed ice castle.
Add this to the 1,001 things to do with the Elf on the Shelf (which I will not do, even though my kid’s school has introduced her to it, thank you very much, and she asks for it repeatedly now), the ridiculous number of holiday get-togethers we all have on our schedules, the holiday shopping and shipping… I do not need Pinterest giving me yet another thing to feel competitive and inferior about, or to pile on one more thing on my to-do list.
I mean, I’m a HUGE fan of Christmas, I truly am, but enough is enough.
Which is why I will be bringing plates and napkins to the class holiday party.