I resisted joining Pinterest for a long time. I would hear my friends say that they found great recipes and party ideas there, but I envisioned another social networking commitment.
I love Facebook, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, it starts to feel like everyone you encounter on your computer is on a winning streak. Each friend is witty, rich and just finished an advanced degree. Sometimes I log off Facebook feeling like I must be the scourge of the earth because I haven’t lost ten pounds, my husband didn’t take me out on a surprise date and my kids aren’t enrolled in soccer, scouts or French lessons.
So, Pinterest was, in my mind, another opportunity to feel my shortcomings. I’m not particularly crafty and my creativity is limited.
Every now and then, I would visit the site to look up ideas for a chalkboard-painted kitchen table (never happened) or organization ideas (I had good intentions).
But after seeing all of my friends on Facebook pinning cute ideas for theme parties and decorating tips, I began to get more curious about the site. I requested an invitation. Just knowing I was on a waiting list got my anticipation in high gear. What was this site, apparently so cool that they knew well enough to not let a dork like me in just yet?
Before long, I got my invitation and was pinning with the best of ‘em. I pinned recipes, sewing instructions and gobs of ideas for entertaining my kids on a hot summer day.
I’ve heard people say that they can’t stay off Pinterest. At first, I was drawn to check out the cool stuff my friends were pinning for long stretches of time. But when my husband heaved a couple of heavy sighs upon entering the room and catching me mid-pin, I knew I better show some results for all this time spent on the site.
Pinterest quickly impacted my world for good, though. I found some solutions right away to problems happening in my household.
One problem was that my husband and I couldn’t get together on a family calendar. Night after night, I’d announce at the dinner table, “Right after dinner we need to get ready for ________” My husband would join in the chorus of “What? We do? I didn’t know that…” coming from the kids.
So when I saw a great idea for a family calendar, I got right to work. It was a grouping of two four-opening picture frames that made seven spots for days of the week, plus an extra where I decorated it to say “Wescoat Week.” In the other seven frames, marked for the days of the week, I just use a dry-erase marker to note in large print what’s happening every day.
It takes up a third of our kitchen wall, and my husband was appreciative right away to have this giant reminder of our plans.
I also love the recipes on Pinterest. My parents recently came over for my mom’s birthday and I knew right where to go for recipes. I made an awesome mushroom bruschetta that only required a few ingredients but managed to impress my mom that I had a new appetizer for her to try. I had pinned it months before, but I knew just where to find it when I needed a new spin for entertaining.
Pinterest could certainly become a waste of time if you never used the ideas for good, and I could blow my budget shopping for cute craft materials that would pile up with no results. But I really think that it’s a great tool when it’s used to solve problems for your family.
It’s like getting tips from your extra-crafty, organized friend who’s a great cook, but instead all of your friends are extra-crafty, organized and great cooks. And, unlike some other social networking experiences, I’m not feeling a bit intimidated by what my friends post on this site. They’re just sharing the wealth of Pinterest.