Falling into the Pinterest Pit (and other Mommy Wars)
My daughter starts her 2nd year of preschool on Friday. That's right, I said 2nd year. Back in the day there was only one year of preschool. Where I'm from, only the kids whose mothers were just SICK of having us home alone sent us to the private Methodist preschool out of desperation for a few hours of peace and productivity. Otherwise, you just went to Kindergarten.
Now, much to my dismay, there are rankings of Preschools, and Lotteries, and Application Fees, and Wait-lists! There is the 3s class, the 4s class, Pre-K, Private Kindergarten, Delayed Entry, Montesorri, Waldorf, A Beka... Oy Vey! I have a Migraine.
Last Summer, I realized much too late, that I had missed the deadline for all of the preeminent preschools in my city. I was even too late for the wait list for three of them! This was last May. I didn't even realize 3 year olds were supposed to go to school! It wasn't the first time I felt like a complete failure as a mother and it won't be the last. Don't get me wrong. I am an involved mother. We do learning activities all the time at home. We are "cultured" in that we take our kids to Shakespeare in the Park, concerts, festivals, museums, zoos, and anything else cheap or free that offers learning opportunities. I enrolled my 2 year old in a parks and rec program when I was 7 months pregnant. We are an on-the-go, arts supporting, educationally focused family. I like to craft and create when I have the time (which is rarely).
Since my daughter was 1 I have not worked full time for anyone but myself. However, as any entrepreneur out there knows, when you work for yourself it is not Monday - Friday, 9-5. It is 24/7 never ending, do whatever it takes, to support my family and succeed. Sometimes, I miss out on stuff with my kids. Sometimes, my house and our diet suffers from our hectic lifestyle. Overall we're happy, my kids are well adjusted and healthy, and we're making ends meet.
If I thought I felt like a failure before enrolling my child (in a very good but not prestigious) preschool, then the crafts, Christmas presents, and Valentines most certainly made me feel inferior. I took great comfort in the fact that there were three other store both cards in T's hastily made valentines box. Let's not even discuss the progressively ridiculous soccer snacks for a team of three year olds. I'm competitive by nature and it is difficult to not get caught up in it. Every school assignment need not be the penultimate Pinterest project. Every birthday need not be wholly homemade. After going overboard with our daughter's 2nd birthday we learned our lesson and keep it simple (although she still talks about Mickey coming to her birthday party - so maybe it was worth it.)
The Pinterest Peer Pressure starts in the womb and gets stronger each subsequent year. Don't fret! You baby will sleep just as well (or better) in a bassinet next to your bed as in a designer, handmade, homemade nursery. Kids are just as excited about sugary store bought snacks as they are your precious peti fours. If you have the time, talent, energy, and inclination all of the pinterest projects in the world are fine, but they won't make your child love you anymore than they naturally will. By all means craft with your kids, encourage creativity, spend time with them; but don't fall into the Pinterest Pit or buy into the other Mommy Wars that are so pervasive.