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Five Ways for Online Moms to Combat ‘Pinterest Pressure’

By Stacey Ross

Anxiety and social media in the same sentence? More than ever, it seems! I have researched enough about social media disorders and “addictions,” Facebook photo envy, and a slew of other conditions and afflictions, that I know how they can create a damper on one's online well-being.  Surely, we can't leave out of the discussion one of the fastest growing social networks, namely, Pinterest! According to a recent Pew study, 15 percent of American Internet users are now on Pinterest, just barely trailing Twitter at 16 percent.

Pinterest enthusiasts create “pin boards" in which they share photos and videos and also follow those of friends, then “like” and comment on the images and videos that others “pin” or “re-pin” to their own pin boards. They can also share the content through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. It is a great way to not only expand your network, but also develop your interests and passions.

Peer pressure on Pinterest?

Apparently the pressures of Pinterest have now become a downright area of anxiety, as moms feel great pressure to measure up to an ideal. They showcase glimpses of their lives and pastimes, which ideally capture and/or celebrate something noteworthy. The creative outlet, however, can lead to feelings of inadequacy.

Certainly, I feel the pressure of maintaining my own space in the online world. Due to the show-and-tell nature of being online regularly, I suggest that we need to have a plan for and be OK with our own imperfections and limitations, and put things into perspective for our own well-being as moms!

Why so? Because moms are clearly voicing that they feel pressure to measure up! A TODAY Moms survey of 7,000 moms found 42 percent feel stressed by Pinterest, as they feel pressured to create projects behind the idealistic images that they share with their online friends.

Three-quarters of the survey's respondents said that the pressure they put on themselves is more powerful than the pressure they feel from other moms, and that they feel compelled to measure up in the area of DIY projects, including themes such as fashion, parties, crafts, recipes, etc.

Dealing with Pinterest Pressure

The TODAY Moms survey also asked moms to pick the top three sources of stress in their lives and 60 percent of moms answered, “the lack of time to do everything that needs to get done.” 41 percent said, “having to juggle so much between family and work” and 35 percent blamed the financial strain of raising kids.

Images can be a far cry from reality – something that we might tend to overlook! We need a little reminder that all of those shiny, happy pretty people with their gorgeous gadgets and creations on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. are not necessarily living the lives of Stepford wives and super moms that the images might portray, and they will often be the first to admit as much!

If you are feeling pressure to up your game on Pinterest and other social media sites, perhaps consider tweaking your online approach to ease the burden. The following are some suggestions to consider:

  1. Ask yourself what draws you most to Pinterest, what goals you have regarding the platform and evaluate how realistic they are. For example, if you have pinned a few dozen “inspirational” photos, ask yourself how many of those activities you are planning to follow through with in your online world!
  2. Write down the top five stressors in your life, then ask yourself how Pinterest is either helping or hindering you in those areas. Monitor your time and limit yourself from going astray from your online priorities, as images can be very distracting!
  3. Question if you are prioritizing posting the images more than enjoying the experiences behind them. If so, perhaps lighten your load!
  4. Consider that your time looking at others' creations might be overcompensating for something that you wished you had or could be doing (not applicable to all, just a possibility!). What might you do to address that?
  5. Laugh at the Pinterest projects that don't pan out as even close to perfection. Instead post them on Pinterest Fail to put things into perspective, then laugh at yourself a little!

When I think about it, I need to be more concerned with completing my wedding day scrapbook (I was married 11 years ago and it still isn’t finished!) than I am about posting my chocolate cake pops for all the world to see, but that is just me! Plus, they ended up looking like cow pies on a stick, and my gingerbread house project collapsed due to my having overheated the frosting (aka cement!).

I volunteer to pin your pretty creations on Pinterest, but as far as showcasing my own crafty side, the Golden Years of Pinterest just might mark a time when my DIY creative juices pretty much remained dormant, and I am fine with that. This week, anyway!

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

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