Pinterest Fail Mum

Sometimes when I want to feel bad about myself I go on Pinterest and look at what mums who have their shit together are doing.

I look at their miraculous messy play ideas at 3am and resolve to do them the next day with my toddler. My broken sleep is dominated by dreams of my son and I deliriously happy playing with home made rainbow snow and glittery gloop and glow in the dark playdough.

And then I wake up and reality hits.

“Shall we make some playdough?”

“No. No. I don want dat playbo”

“Come and make playdough with mama! It’ll be soooo much fun,” I say with forced cheeriness.

“No fun. No. Cars”

I lovingly make the playdough while my son plays with his cars. He ignores my perky, sing-song commentary. He’s probably thinking “who replaced my mum with this Stepford Wife?”

I put glitter in the playdough. I follow the recipe to the letter but the playdough is slimey. I add more flour. Now it is crumbly. I add more water. The glitter clumps together. It’s both slimey and crumbly now. The recipe says it’s fool-proof.

My son looks at the playdough then at me.

“I don like dat”

I don’t know who he’s referring to. I chuck the playdough into the bin. I used an entire packet of flour.

I will make gloop. It has three ingredients. Surely I can’t fuck this up.

I crush coloured chalk to make four bowls of gloop. All are different colours. My son is absolutely delighted. It has taken me all morning to make the gloop and get it to be the right consistency.

“I like dat!”

I am ecstatic. Such praise! I run to grab the camera. It takes me three seconds.

I return to find the bowls of coloured goop on the concrete by the front door.

“Finish mama. I finish da goop”

I will make snow. The recipe says “Easiest clean play recipe”.

I have decided that after spending two hours cleaning up after the eight second gloop messy play I want to have clean play.

Three cups of baking soda. One cup of water.

It looks like snow. The toddler is excited. He begins to play with it and I think “good, I can empty the dishwasher”. I take one cup from the dishwasher and the toddler appears.

“Where’s your snow?”

“I throwed dat snow away Mama”

He has tipped the bowl of snow from the deck onto the roof of the neighbour’s house.

That night I don’t dream of being a Pinterest mum. I look at the photos of the Pinterest mums and imagine them sneaking Valium and hiding vodka in their tea. Nobody can be that perfect.

In the morning a little voice says to me.

“Paint mine face mama? Eddie paint mine mama’s face?”

I look up “home made face paint”. I scan the recipe. I go to the shop and buy face paint instead. I know my abilities now. I know my shortcomings.

I put the different colours into a muffin tray. I google “face paint designs”. I look at the first website and read the instructions for “butterfly”. I roll my eyes. Yeah right. I turn off the computer.

I hand my son a paintbrush. “Make mama a butterfly,” I say.

He screeches with laughter as he paints my face. We get out a mirror and I paint his face as a “butterfly” letting him instruct me on how to do it just right.

Afterwards we both look utterly ridiculous. We look into the mirror and he says “we beuful budderfies mama!”


Because we’re on a roll, I grab the corn starch and pull the hose out. We grab a bucket and he grabs clumps of corn starch and chucks whole pieces of chalk into the bucket with the corn starch and then puts the hose in.

It makes an unholy mess and my little baker declares he is making GLOOP PIES! He then throws the gloop in the air because now he’s making GLOOP PANCAKES!

We look like a Pinterest nightmare. And it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. His screams of laughter reverberate around the neighbourhood. And we play for two hours.

Perfection is overrated.


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13 Comments on “Pinterest Fail Mum

  1. That looks so so fun!! I want to join in, and I’m an adult haha. I love the way you write what Eddie says, the way it’s captured I can just hear that little kid voice.

  2. I am SO with you on the whole “Pinterest Parenting” phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong: I do use Pinterest too. But I approach the whole thing with realism. I only gave into it a few months ago when I realised my system of keeping 3498 lists on the go at any one time was failing me. But I don’t pin anything that I will not realistically try. Complicated arts and crafts projects will not be pinned by me; anything involving kids and mess-making will not be pinned by me as we don’t need inspiration to create chaos as we do that plenty ourselves; swanky recipes can get stuffed. Whereas I am a realist, however, I rather think a lot of people use it as another opportunity for boastfulness and point-scoring.

    When we lived in Scotland, my kids always ate school dinners because they were healthy and nutritious. When we emigrated to America, I had to start making packed lunches. Ugh. Another chore to build into my day. I took to Facebook and asked my friends what they made for their kids’ lunches so that I had some inspiration. A sizeable minority of respondents directed me to their Pinterest packed lunch boards where there were lunches arranged like works of art, elaborate bento boxes and meals that I would not even make for myself let alone for a kid who is going to dump half of it in the bucket. Really, I thought, do people really devote hours every morning to making these packed lunches? Or are they making the same peanut butter and jam / cheese / tuna as everyone else while pretending that they make their kids vegetarian sushi that looks like cute pandas?

    My rule of thumb is to only do things that my kids and I will enjoy and appreciate. An investment in an activity is not value added if the only people valuing it are randoms on the internet.

    • That’s a great rule of thumb Laura. Life is too short to spend all your time fucking around with corn starch (or making rice pandas).

  3. Omg Paleo Lunches for Kids made me realise it had gone too far. I felt better after reading your blog and the paleo lunch pin ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m doing ok, my kids play in dirt for sensory play.

  4. Ah, the Pinterest momma phenomenon. I took one look at the rainbow coloured spaghetti, pasta art and home made snow globes and then sighed, took a big gulp oh coffee and said “fuckit, we got dressed today, and we went outside and rolled on the grass for a bit then read a story and made funny faces / fart noises at each other – winners!”

    I quickly resigned myself to the fact I was never going to be a dye your own spaghetti kind of mam. Nor would I Instagram pictures of lovely homemade cakes, or make sandwiches in the shape of the Empire State building and crochet my own tampons……yet I knew I would love the fucking shit out of our kid, love them with a passion that means hopefully, one day they look back at their childhood and remember that love as unconditional (with the occasional glitter fuckopalypse thrown in!)

    • Hahaha yes to all of that Christine!! Your comment made me laugh so hard. Love them with a passion, that’s all they need aye?

      • Absofuckingloutely. Unconditional love, fart noises, hugs, chocolate and a great deal of something I think they possibly call patience (easier reached / given at certain times of month + dependant on sleep deprivation levels) fucking competitive parenting, sucks my woman balls. I hate it. Tag it on to another of the long line of “things that really boil the piss in my kidneys” ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Kids used to have fun before the advent of Pinterest. They used to have fun before computers. The simpler the better is my motto.

  6. Looks like you had way more fun without Pinterest’s help!

    The best thing about Pinterest is googling Pinterest fails on Google images. Funniest pics I have ever seen!!