A cure for homeFOMO

I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by now, right?

(If you haven’t? Well, good on you. That probably means you don’t spend too much time on social media.)

While FOMO is all about fear of missing out on social opportunities and is fueled largely by Facebook and Instagram, it seems to me that there’s a substrain of this insidious dis-ease that’s spread through a different social medium:  Pinterest.

I like to call it HomeFOMO–the fear of missing out on something awesome to do for or in your home. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read about someone feeling inadequate because their home-life doesn’t live up to the images they’ve viewed through Pinterest.

I’m so glad I had my kids in the pre-Pinterest 90s, when I was doing just fine if a birthday party meant inviting some friends, serving some cake, decorating with balloons, and playing a few games. Now, in the land of Pins, a party needs a theme, with coordinated decorations, food, games, party favors, etc.

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That Pin up there? That’s way too much to expect of a woman who’s doing the time-consuming (and brain-cell zapping) labor of raising a young child. Although I will cop to having a theme once or twice when my kids were little, I never did anything like the parties I’ve seen–and it was still a lot of work!

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I do think we had a little zoo theme one year just so I could use this pic on the party invitations. And yes, I was the mom who just bought 2 of the same Halloween costume from Old Navy. Would do so again in a heartbeat.

Don’t think you’re spared if you’ve got no kids. If you want to, you can drive yourself nutty with just about anything on Pinterest.

Want to grow your own vegetables? Perhaps you should make yourself some adorable garden markers:

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I’ve always considered it a huge accomplishment if my pantry has food in it and I can find and use it before its expiration date. But if I spend too much time in Pinterestland, I can easily feel that I also need to make it pretty:

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I could go on. And on and on and on.

So right about now, you might be thinking,

Gee, Rita, why do you even have a Pinterest account?

Because, I do. I have a Pinterest account. And here’s why:

It’s a great tool for collecting resources that help me live better.

I was an early Pinterest adopter because I loved that I could bookmark pages into topical boards, and that I could see an image with each one. I’m visual, and long lists of bookmarked sites–even organized into folders–just didn’t work as well for me.

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I kinda hate how Pinterest has become a marketing tool more than anything else, though.

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I know, that’s all it was ever meant to be. The people behind Pinterest have to make their money somehow. Everyone has to make their money somehow. I get it. If I were in the business of selling something, I’d be all over this.

But I’m not, which means I don’t have to embrace it or not speak out about how I think it hurts all of us when we drink too much Pinterest Kool-Aid.

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So, I’m not advocating total abstinence as the cure to HomeFOMO. I’m advocating that we make Pinterest work for us, as I was able to do last weekend. My parents were driving though town, so I decided to have a little birthday celebration for my mom. Here’s how it went down:

1. I did not look on Pinterest for party ideas.

2. I bought a lemon cake from Whole Foods and put some birthday candles in it.

3. I “wrapped” her present by tying some ribbon on the store bag I carried it home in.

4. I made a strata from a recipe that I found on (and pinned from) Sara Tetrault’s Go Gingham. (So good! My dad loved it.)

5. I decorated with a bouquet of $5 grocery store flowers in a small pitcher.

Done:

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We all had a great time. Instead of wearing myself out, I spent the morning reading and helping my daughter with a school assignment. I had time to talk with my son and help Cane with a parenting question. I was relaxed when my parents arrived and able to focus on and enjoy them.

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If I’m looking for ideas for a particular thing, I’ll sometimes search Pinterest to find them, but I rarely stroll through my Pinterest feed just for fun. It can make me feel kinda funky, just like strolling through a mall can. It can make feel less-than and want things I don’t need.

Which is why I’ve made a pledge to pin only things I’m planning to use for myself and our life. Unlike many bloggers, I am not pinning things for my audience to consume. I am not pinning because I’ve got some kind of commercial agreement with a brand. Even if I had the time for that, I don’t want to fuel the social media machine that seems to drive so many to spend and consume and want and, at the end of the day, feel kinda crappy about what we have.

We just don’t need all that in our world.

If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, feel free to. I often pin articles to my  Good Reads board that don’t end up in a blog post (because there are way more posts in my head than ever end up in this blog), and you might like those. I do have one board that is just for posts from the blog, as I know that some like to follow us that way. But please know that other than that, I really only pin for myself–which, in some small way, is my way of pinning for everyone else, too.

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How about you?

Do you love Pinterest or hate it? Any tips for making it a force for good in your life/the world? Would love to know what you think about Pinterest and other social media channels.