Keeping it Real

Tomorrow is Mother’s day in the US; yesterday it was Mother’s day in Chile.  We are right in the middle in more ways than one.  I just read an article from the Huffington Post that I think says something every mom can relate to; it’s called “Pinterest Stress,” and states that nearly half of the mothers addicted to this particular drug;), and other social media outlets, like Facebook and Instragram, are stressed by them:(.  Can you guess why?

Pinterest is to the modern housewife what Sex in the City is to modern singles.  Fuel to the fire and (almost) absolute fantasy.  If you didn’t already have a complex about not being tall enough or thin enough, with a toned booty and fabulous hair, clear skin, shaved legs, and rocking abs, along comes Pinterest, to hold a mirror up to your kitchen table and your child’s birthday party.  Some bee-atch out there made perfectly fluffed pink cupcakes and cake shaped like a pirate boat for her children’s birthdays; what about you?  Are you good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, crafty?  Or will your next creation end up as a contribution to Pinstrocity?  If you don’t already know about this wonderful contribution to keeping it real, I highly suggest you go have a laugh right this minute at the same pics that are making me laugh out loud, even as I write.

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(to download this lovely reminder, click on the image).

I happen to be one of the weak souls who is particularly susceptible to over planning.  I actually like the idea of executing perfect cupcakes and pirate shaped cakes-but over the years, I have finally learned that often, while I am working so hard to make the magic moment, I miss it.  For my daughter’s fifth birthday, I was so excited she finally had some friends to borrow (through a scam we took great advantage of over the years called “a joint birthday party;)”) that I missed most of it, obsessing over some last minute details in an elaborate Peter Pan themed party.  I cringe to actually try and add how many “moments” I have missed in my life, obsessing over details.  One of the great strokes of luck in my life was having a half assed, pint sized wedding.  My sister picked my dress out while I was doing battle with the final copy of my thesis.  One of my best friend’s volunteered the musical track I wouldn’t have had without her.  My aunt brought beautiful bouquets of flowers with zero input from me about color or quantity or kind.  The day of my wedding, we did not go to the salon and get polished and buffed.  My sister and I wandered around downtown BC looking for an open salon, wondering if it was a national holiday, because NOTHING was open, and I hadn’t planned ahead.  In the end, she painted my nails.  I remember it well. Another dear friend invented a hairstyle for me the day before the ceremony-with no input from a bridal magazine of any kind.  What is my point? I remember everything-because I didn’t have time to even begin obsessing over the details.

My new goal in life is to let things be imperfect.  My daughter has now had 2 birthdays at a horribly tacky amusement park in our small Chilean town, including one ride I particularly despise, that she calls the “barbie” ride.  It is the torso of a badly airbrushed fiberglass blonde (no legs of course), and it embodies everything that Martha Stewart does NOT approve of.  I don’t either, but I am learning to tolerate it.  And to take pleasure in the moment-the sound of her glee as she crashes her bumper car into mine, the look of her face as she is swooped up in the air, under the wing of her dad, not sure if she should laugh or cry.  The summer magic of fiber optic wands she begs for-their nylon ends glittering with the ephemeral magic of fireflies, because we know that by tomorrow, their batteries will be dead, the feathery nylon tips chewed and bent.

It is easy to begin viewing every moment in life through an Instagram lense. Harder to forget about it, and be present in the moment.  This is the danger of modern life-wanting to package every sweet moment into an airbrushed momento.  But that puts us behind the camera, and turns our family lives into an episode of the Truman show, which by extension, makes us as plastic and false as Laura Linney’s character, posing whenever she can with a product in hand and a Crest smile.  We should not be concerned with air brushing our lives, but enjoying the sweet spots, when they come. If that includes some browsing fun on Pinterest, so be it, but just remember, not enough Martha Stewart is Martha enough to do it alone, and we definitely aren’t, and you ARE good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people LIKE you! (especially your kids):)

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One thought on “Keeping it Real

  1. Well, I love Pintrosity. I never heard of this site before and I am risking hands and limbs writing right now because my wife is POed I am on the computer “too much!”. We had Mom´s day yesterday in my large Hispanic family here in middle Mexico, There were about 20 or so of us there, nieces, nephews, pregnant mommies, daddies, mommies with four little children, mommies with grown children, (several of those) and then my wife and me with “0.” She cried 17 years ago when she learned I could not have babies. . As for my capacity to stay blissfully in the moment at these family gatherings where we all stuffed in a dinky kitchen for an hour and 1/2, it is 90 degrees, we are eating home made e v e r y t h i n g while singing Mexico´s rendition of Happy Birthday to my wheel chair bound 83 year old mother in law and relighting the cake candle over and over for each kid to “spit out” as I egg them on to hock a lunger… well I am proud to state I make it a whole 10 seconds!!! Jiminea (2 years old) repeatedly yanks on my arm hairs, she thinks my laugh is “real” because she´s supposedly tickling me. Natalia (about 3 to.4 ) simply flat out “always” ignores me, It scares me because I am afraid she can see what a curmudgeon I really am inside. I am after all the only “rotund gringo” amongst this tribe of mixed breed Indians. Alejandro (9) with his Tia Maru proceeded to wax me, regularly with big laughs, a dozen straight games in “Domino,” as I understand their word in Spanish for Dominos. I do not like to admit that losing at such a simple game rankles me. I consider myself having achieved perfect “selflessness” at this point before having to flip on “Blue Bloods” in English. The TV is on the kitchen table we are all gathered around. They let me zone out like this. They always seem to be so much more considerate of others, well except the kids of course! The others know Tio “needs” his boob tube time! .

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