I am not a Pinterest mom. I always thought I’d be one. Matter of fact, I have an entire Pinterest board that I began curating from the moment I found out I was pregnant. From nursery ideas to homemade baby food recipes to craftsy DIY activities for toddlers—I thought I’d be doing it all

But then reality set in, and I realized that my desire to be a Pinterest mom was robbing me of my appreciation for all the tiny imperfections that make up motherhood. 

I was trying to be perfect. Too perfect. Pinterest perfect. And honestly, I used to be ashamed that I couldn’t ride the Pinterest moms wave. The avocado mashed potatoes and salmon recipe that I spent so much time and energy preparing for my toddler ended up on the floor in a matter of seconds. The DIY sensory activity never even captured his attention. And I was tired.

Tired of all the effort I put into everything just to feel like I failed over and over again. And tired of trying to pressure my child to enjoy these elaborate things when he does just fine with regular mashed potatoes and Tupperware that can keep him entertained for years if need be.

As the holidays are approaching, I was sure that we’d be engulfed in a load of Pinterest activities—like making turkey sensory bottles or salt dough footprint reindeer ornaments. I thought I’d be capturing tons of “Instagram-worthy” content for my stories and feed. But, I’ve decided on the complete opposite.

I’m not doing the whole “Pinterest mom” thing this holiday season—and I refuse to feel guilty for it.

I don’t want to get so wrapped up in perfectionism from trying to be a Pinterest mom that I lose sight of the true joys of the holiday season.

Because perfection doesn’t exist. But the thing that does? Imperfections. Like failed attempts at carving pumpkins. Or a messy get Prednisolone over the counter in the midst of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Or a very crooked star on top of the Christmas tree. All the things that likely never make it to saved Pinterest boards or Instagram posts—but the things that still very much matter.

Those little things are realities that set the tone for motherhood. And whether they’re worthy for a social media post or not, they are what add the magic to the memories.

I don’t want to get so wrapped up in perfectionism from trying to be a Pinterest mom that I lose sight of the true joys of the holiday season, like watching family holiday movies or completely failing at building a gingerbread house and being able to laugh about it together over dinner.

My family won’t have the modern Christmas fireplace mantle decor that would make the perfect background for family photos. But we likely will have a messy house during the holidays.

I won’t be redesigning my son’s room entirely just for Christmas. I won’t be making themed snacks like turkey pretzel treats or Santa Claus pancakes. I may even opt out of finding matching pajamas this year and just go with what we already have.

My preferences for this holiday season may not appeal to the masses, but they will bring joy to my family—and that’s all we need.

For the Pinterest-savvy moms who have what it takes, I’m not knocking you down at all. I actually commend you for how artistic and creative you can be—and for how you can turn just about anything into a moment of fun for your kids.

But my aesthetic of motherhood is going to be a lot less social media-worthy, and a lot more real this go round. I’ve given a good go at being a Pinterest mom. As a photographer and visual creator, I have moments where I create aesthetically pleasing content, and that makes me happy. But the moments that some may see as unworthy for a post don’t make me less happy. They just remind me that motherhood is full of thousands of imperfections—and that’s OK.

My abilities as a mother are not dependent on how creative I can get with a cereal box, tape and some clothespins. I’m a great mom as is. And I may not have the Pinterest-perfect activities to show for it, but undoubtedly, love fills the space of my home. And this holiday season, I just want to enjoy what truly matters—which is just that. Love.

Motherly Stories are first person, 500-1000 word stories, reflecting on the insights you’ve experienced in motherhood—and the wisdom you’ve gained along the way. They also help other women realize they’re not alone. Motherly Stories don’t judge. Instead, they inspire other mamas with stories of meaning, hope and a realization that “you’ve got this.” If you have a story, please submit it here: https://www.mother.ly/share-your-story/

A version of this article was originally published on 11/3/22.