By Amy Shearn, REDBOOK
I was trying to explain the siren call of Pinterest to my husband the other night as I blinked my glazed-over eyes at my laptop. "What is it, even?" he asked. I didn't have a good answer. "It's these…you just pin the things you like…it's for ideas, and pretty pictures, and look - a double-fudge-s'mores-brownie-cake-pop recipe! And look - a gaunt bikini model as diet inspiration! And...uh...I don't know, it's just really - oh look how cute this kid's bedroom is!"
He opined that this sounded a little, well, pointless. I used to think the wildly popular, quickly-growing pinboard site was pointless too, but lately I've come to realize that in reality, Pinterest has actually made me a better mother. Allow me to present my case with the following five items.
An idea from Pinterest.Item 1: Teddy Bear Toast
My 3-year-old daughter doesn't eat. Well, that's an exaggeration. The other day she had a blueberry for breakfast. Today, an entire bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That's right, one whole bite! But thanks to Pinterest's many images of cute-ified food, I've discovered a way to get her interested in eating after all. Apparently, her food just has to have a face.
Item 2: The Hallway Is a Playhouse
At least once a week I forget how little my kids are, and I think, I can't deal with an outing or a class or a playdate. We'll just stay at home today and take things easy. Inevitably, I'm out of ways to entertain them by 10 a.m. Enter Pinterest, where moms much cleverer than I have posted tons of creative ways to keep toddlers busy. Look out for moms who homeschool-they're especially full of brilliant ideas.
Item 3: There is a Meal That is Not Nuggets
I never would have predicted I'd feed my kids so very many meals in nugget form. Chicken nuggets, spinach nuggets, mac-and-cheese nuggets…if it can be nugget-ified, they will eat it. If Cheerios were available in nugget form, we'd do that too. Because the truth of the matter is, when they are hungry, they are HUNGRY. Also, they really like to help in the kitchen, and a 13-month-old trying to help in the kitchen is terrifying. Again, these Pinterest people save the day with their well-planned slow-cooker meals and their make-30-days-of-meals-in-one-afternoon genius.
Related: 30 Best Things You Can Do For Your Kids
Item 4: Cream of Tartar
I am perpetually looking around my home and going, "Huh. Dirty again. Isn't someone going to CLEAN around here?" Unfortunately, no one takes the bait. I enjoy a clean home, but I do not enjoy cleaning. What's a mom-who'd-rather-be-pinning-cleaning-ideas-than-actually-cleaning to do? Pinterest is full of smart cleaning tips that make life a little easier. Washing my bathtub with a cream of tartar and vinegar recipe I found on Pinterest literally made me say, "WOW!" Then I laughed and said, "I just literally said 'wow' as I was cleaned." I was alone, but I also wasn't, figuratively speaking-the other Martha Stewart wannabes on Pinterest were totally there "wowing" with me.
Item 5: Party On, Pinners
I wanted to plan a fun birthday party for the kiddos (Harper was turning three, and Alton was turning one, conveniently enough at the same time) but never had time to sit down and actually think. So I made, what else, a party planning pin board. Whenever I came across a cute image of bunting,or an aspirational cupcake recipe, I'd pin it. By the time their birthdays rolled around, I had a whole bunch of ideas in one convenient place. Cake that looks like mud? Check! Pink cupcakes? Check! Deviled eggs, fresh peonies, and homemade petit-fours? Hm, didn't get to those-but they sure look pretty on my pinboard.
As I write this, Harper is leaning over my shoulder admiring my pinboard and pointing to the cupcakes. "We should make those for my birthday!"
To which I reply, "Um, we did."
And then she frowns and says, "Well, they didn't look like that."
Amy Shearn is the mother of two small children, and is the proprietress of Household Words, a blog about babies, books, and Brooklyn. She also writes for Oprah.com and MommyPoppins.com. Amy is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean From Here (Shaye Areheart/Crown 2008) and a forthcoming novel about, what else, a Brooklyn mother, which needs a title and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.
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