Well, I did it again. It was 10:30 pm on February 13th and there I was, sitting at the kitchen counter trying to redeem what can only be described as a Pinterest fail of a Valentine’s Day card. My kids footprints and handprints were indistinguishable in the mess of pink and red paint. And the tape I used to mask out the word “love” was tearing the paper as I attempted to remove it.
Meanwhile, in the oven baked, my very first attempt at French Macarons. Widely regarded as one of the most difficult cookies to master, I’d decided they’d be a perfect gift for my husband and started the process at 8 pm the night before Valentine’s Day. The evidence of raspberry buttercream was rampant all over my kitchen. And I’d already spent the better part of the afternoon crafting little heart-shaped boxes out of red sugar cookies to give the grandparents. Each box carefully stuffed with an assortment of Valentine goodies. I couldn’t help but feel like I’d done this to myself. I was the one who decided all these handmade gifts were a requirement. I was the one who made the choice as to each specific gift. I’ve done enough of these sorts of things to know the time commitment required, so why did I let it get to this?
Life Lessons From Julia Child
I was recently watching Julie and Julia, which I haven’t seen in years. Needless to say, the movie spoke to me in a new way this viewing. Something about a 30-something woman, trying to make sense of her life and reconnect with herself through blogging really hit home with me. Gee, I wonder why? But, as I sat at my kitchen counter that night, it was actually something from the special features that kept returning to me. Julia Child cooked these huge, elaborate, over the top meals to show the people in her life that she loved them. She wanted to use her passion for food to express her affection for her husband, family and friends. That is a stark contrast to the Pinterest perfection cycle we often find ourselves in.
Pinterest perfection says, “Everyone else is doing “x” so I better do it too or I’ll look like a bad mom, wife, hostess, etc.” Julia Child’s fame came during the height of convenience cooking. TV dinners and kitchen hacks were all the rage. Over the din of easy housekeeping, she rose and said real cooking, the kind that takes time and skill is a way to show others you love them. She wasn’t trying to impress others. She certainly didn’t want other women to feel bad about the way they fed their families. She wanted to empower women to take the time to do the things they love for the ones they love. For her, that was cooking French food.
All Women Have Different Passions
I have a friend who throws the most elaborate birthday parties for her kids. Months before the day arrives, I’ll start seeing pins show up in my Pinterest feed for Legos or Tangled or Rainbows, whatever the theme is this time around. She doesn’t do this to put others to shame. Or because she feels she’d be a “bad mom” if she didn’t. She does it because she loves her kids and she has a passion for over the top parties. For another mom, it wouldn’t be the same. It would be Pinterest Perfection. It would be the need to show that she can keep pace with the other mom’s at preschool. But that’s not the case here. My friend just loves doing it. It brings her joy and it brings her family joy too.
A Mess of Love
When this hit me, I realized I hadn’t fallen victim to Pinterest aspirations yet again but rather I’d made a giant display of love all over my kitchen. The flour, the mess of dishes, the counters stained with pink and red food coloring, were all testament to how much I love my husband, kids, parents and in-laws. I should find joy in sharing my love through my passion for baking. A light bulb switched on. I no longer felt duped and silly for attempting all these projects, I recognized the heart behind it really was love – not a desire to be the best or keep up with Mrs. Jones.
What’s your passion?
Do you have a passion? Something you love to do that takes time and effort? Don’t feel bad for dedicating some time to that effort. Use that time to reconnect with yourself and show other’s how much you love them. Don’t do it to impress them or to show other women you can keep up, do it because you love it. I’d love to hear what brings you joy! Please share in the comments below.