Stop chasing picture perfect

September 21, 2012 in Five Minute Friday,kids and technology,lessons for moms

I call it the Pinterest-effect. Though that isn’t fair because Pinterest isn’t the originator or even the main perpetrator, just the newest one. The Pinterest effect is where we get bogged down with new, creative, original, and BEAUTIFUL ideas and suddenly we need picture-perfect.

We can no longer have a party. It has to be themed and coordinated with matching cupcakes and innovative, useful and cute take-home gifts. And all of it needs to be pin-worthy.

The boys can no longer just stumble through words to ask a girl to homecoming. The “proposal” for the dance date must be memorable, like filling her room with dozens of balloons she has to pop to find the poem with the question inside. Now the girl has an Instagram photo to brag about.

A girl stares at her face in the mirror. Her teeth are too yellow. Her nose too wide. But it can all be fixed. The neighbor’s done it. She can use her graduation money.

Dear moms, I am trying to teach my girls that they are beautiful because God is their creator. There is beauty in His detail, always. Stop making it so hard to convince them. Let’s have a party without a theme, with a bowl of popcorn, some root beer and a pact to grow old without bleaching our teeth, fixing our nose, or dying away our gray hairs. Let’s open our mouths wide and laugh at picture perfect, because we know it never lasts.

We can’t convince our girls that inner beauty matters if we are still chasing picture-perfect.

Joining the encouraging community at Lisa-Jo’s today for 5-minutes of writing on the word WIDE. Join us.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Positively Alene September 21, 2012 at 4:49 am

I love this post. Love that we are linked up side-by-side this week. You encourage me so with your journey with your girls. It’s definitely wide-open love!! Chasing picture perfect is exhausting. That was me most of my life. Thankful you are light-years ahead of where I was. Love ya friend.

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Nicole September 21, 2012 at 5:30 am

This made me inhale sharply. I promote this “being real” with the kids I counsel and babysit for, my youth group girls, and my sisters and friends. And I embrace it, too- sometimes. No, I don’t do pinterest anymore, but I still live in a media-laced culture. This pressure for perfection is EVERYWHERE. And what I am realizing is that, someday when I have my own daughters, they will notice the 10% of the time that I obsess. Even if I am cool about it most of the time, they will still be affected. How do I avoid that?

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:32 am

Oh Nicole your reply is so true. In doing missions work and talking to missionaries on furlough I’ve found that the picture-perfect pressure is especially strong in our country. I still remember the summer of freedom from mirrors. There really wasn’t a mirror around one summer while we stayed in Honduras unless I wanted to stare at myself in the car window. So I just brushed my hair and hoped I looked fine. It was so freeing. They might notice the 10% but they will notice the 90% too, especially if we are honest about struggles and share our sins. And always, pray. Thanks for commenting.

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Barbie September 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

Perfect! I have two daughters and I have chased picture perfect too long. My desire is that they would know they are beautiful, because they were fashioned by the God of Heaven, who loves them unconditionally!

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:28 am

Thanks Barbie. I didn’t know you had two daughters. I share your desires.

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Stefanie Brown (@stefanieybrown) September 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Visiting from 5 Minute Friday ~ Newest subscriber, too…

I love your perspective. I’ve been guilty of getting caught up in what’s happening ~ DIY, Picture Perfect Parties, etc… I don’t want to forget, nor do I want my son to forget, He’s created in GOD’s image with or without all the pretty favors.

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:27 am

Oh Stefanie, thanks for following. We are all created in God’s image and if we can live like that is what is most important I think our kids might internalize the lesson.

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Denise September 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Amen, well said.

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Student Mom (Jenn) September 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!! I want the bunny to remember the friends she had around, not the theme!!
In from 5 Minutes.

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:25 am

Jen, thank you for stopping by. The themes can be fun, but not when we put more emphasis on perfecting the theme than on loving our guests. Thank you for stopping by.

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Jennifer September 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Laura, I just love your heart, your pursuit of truth and life with Him, for your girls — a life undistracted by the noise of this world. What beautiful courage you must instill in your daughters. Bless you!

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:24 am

Jennifer, thank you for the encouragement, for the kind words. They warm my heart (and I needed warming after all weekend on the soccer fields with my wool blanket, mittens, and hat).

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Marie September 22, 2012 at 2:07 am

It is challenging trying to model things we ourselves are not good at.

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 12:50 am

Marie, I agree completley.

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Erika September 22, 2012 at 4:20 am

I have struggled with this issue half my life, and I too am struggling to keep my daughter from feeling the same pressure. Great post.

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 1:23 am

Sometimes I think I have conquered this issue and then I realize a new aspect to it….like how I have my girls pluck out my gray hairs! I tell myself that being aware is part of the battle. Keep praying for those girls. That has to be our starting place.

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Adventure Girl September 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I agree whole-heartedly! When’s the party?;)

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 12:58 am

Tomorrow night. My place. =) I would just love to have a group of friends who decided to just grow old, the way God allows and stops trying to photoshop it away. Imagine if our girls saw as as content with our looks and our age!

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Blond Duck September 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Amen! There’s no originality or spontaneity because everyone is trying to act like they’re on a reality show or a celebrity! It drives me crazy that everything has to be perfect–perfection is in the flaws!

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

There are flaws that need fixing and flaws that need noticing. There is a balance. Our culture’s obsession with the way things look is dangerous and yet we wonder how our daughters get misled. Thanks for stopping by.

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Christa the BabbyMama September 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I wish I wasn’t a victim of this… I really do. But I have been sucked into the world of decorating… party planning… outfit snapshots… etc. hook, line, and sinker. I browse the pictures; I plan the crafts. So far it hasn’t stressed me out – I actually love the making stuff part. Maybe fewer parties this coming year. One should be good. But still, I am growing old lazily so there’s that πŸ˜‰

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pruningprincesses September 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Christa, if you can do the planning and crafting without getting stressed when things aren’t picture perfect, you probably aren’t as caught up in it as you think. There is a way to enjoy beauty and coordinating and crafting without going overboard. And envy those who can turn out beautiful projects without spending much money. Still, our obsession with the looks of ourselves and our things is a luxury that can mislead us. Thanks for stopping by.

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april deonna September 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Love it! Reminds me of a bunch of beautiful mistakes I’ve made. Thank God for every single one of them!

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thedoseofreality September 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Stopping by from SITS. This is a GREAT post. I loved it! πŸ™‚

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pruningprincesses September 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Thanks Ashley. So glad you enjoyed it. I love the five minute writing exercise link up.

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Renee September 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

It’s good to be reminded by fellow believers that we don’t have to bend to the pressures of the times. Wow. We are in a “picture and video” obsessed world. I love your reminder. I’d also like to feature your wisdom for my USA book tour. You’re invited to check it out here: http://renee-joyjourney.com/2012/09/get-featured-on-total-home-makeover-usa.html.

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pruningprincesses September 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

Thank you for visiting Renee and for your kind comment and invitation. I will be checking it out soon. Sounds exciting!

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Lyza @ Chic Shades of Green December 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

I used a wrong link above, so I hope it doesn’t get posted πŸ˜‰

I have always tried to keep my daughter away from media and, as much as I can, gendered toys. It’s important to me that she grows up loving herself for who she is and what she loves, not for what other people expect of her. Have a wonderful SITS day!

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 11:40 am

Liz, I got you covered and posted only the comment with the correct link. I have no idea how you keep someone away from gendered toys. Between friends, relatives, and just the toys at church or daycare, natural bends and gendered issues show up really young. I pray you find ways to keep help her be herself. It is a journey we all struggle with.

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Lyza @ Chic Shades of Green December 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks!

It isn’t easy, is it?

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Kim@Co-Pilot Mom December 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

The pressure to be perfect is so high. This is a very important reminder for us that our children see and hear and absorb all of this pressure and transfer to their own lives and expectations. Very thought-provoking post!

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

Our current culture is fascinating Kim. Every mom I know wants her daughter to be herself, to love herself, to be confident. Yet most of the moms I know don’t want to host anything at their house if the latest DIY project isn’t done. Or they stress when their daughter doesn’t want to wear coordinating clothes. It is fascinating to see how liberated women are today in terms of right but how entrenched they still are. Thank you for taking time to comment.

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Suzanne December 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I succumb to the pressure to be perfect every once in a while (everything homemade, from scratch, etc.) and then give my head a shake. I don’t want my daughter to feel this way about things that are not important. I want her to be an involved citizen, to be interested in the world around her, to be well-rounded, and all those things that are really important.
Happy SITS day!

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Emily @ TheBusyMomsDiet December 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Amen! I’m a high school teacher and I have seen kids crack under the pressure of prom invitations/ big games/ school plays because of the social media impact. They feel the need to be instagram and pinterest worthy at all times and I want them to know they are wonderful the way they are!

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Emily, I so glad those students have a teacher like you. I hope you find creative ways to help them understand their value. You are so much more than a someone who just teaches information. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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Heather December 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Happy SITS Day! You have a beautiful blog!

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Rabia @ TheLiebers December 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I read something somewhere that really made me think. “Never compare the inside of your life with the outside of someone elses’.” Those people we look at and perceive to be perfect are just as flawed as the rest of us on the inside. They just hide it better.

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another jennifer December 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Well said! I will never live up to all those pinterest-worthy parties and decorations, so I don’t try. My boys like keeping things simple. Why make it complicated for ourselves?

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Sheila Skillingstead December 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Acceptance of ourselves can be hard and even more so as we watch our daughters. Picture perfect is why there aren’t many pictures of me. I hold the camera and I hate having my picture taken–gotta stop that.

Thanks for the post. Enjoy your SITS Day.

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misssrobin December 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Beautifully said. I remember being at a work training once when I heard a phrase that truly changed my life. “Stop chasing perfect; you passed excellent a long time ago. Sometimes good enough really is good enough.” Not everything in life deserved hours of our planning. When we try to do that, we burn out and can’t do the important things. Like sit and talk for hours because everything necessary is done.

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Ugochi December 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Awesome post for our daughters and us as well. This brings to my my a verse of scripture in Psalm_139:14 that says
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Plus our beauty comes from the beauty in the fruits of the Spirit.

Congratulations on being featured SITSta! Enjoy your day!
Love

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pruningprincesses December 5, 2012 at 1:39 am

I LOVE this verse. I’ve made my girls memorize it. I hope someday we will all be able to internalize its truths. Thank you for reminding me of it.

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Sara December 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Very well put! With 3 girls of my own I try to be aware of the examples that I am setting. It’s sometimes hard to sit back and put my own perfectionism on the back burner. But, in the long run it will benefit them to see that we are all wonderful just the way we are.

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Hi Sara! I am so pleased to meet you. How old are your girls! Raising girls is so fun (if rather emotional). It is my prayer that my girls will know they are wonderful just the way they are but I know I need to help them because other forces are sending subtle messages that contradict the truth of wonderful just as you are. Here’s to embracing our imperfections! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment–it blesses me.

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Morgan December 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Love this! I have spent my life bogged down in a futile attempt to measure up to the impossible … while at the same time, longing instead to embrace me as God made me. And I cringe every time I hear those same accusations echo in the voices of my daughters. Here’s to raising girls who see them as God seems them!

Enjoy your SITs day …

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Hi Morgan. I am so pleased to meet you! It amazes how we know that the way God made us is best and we try to teach our daughters that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and yet even as we preach it, our insecurities and different aspects of culture highjack our daughters. Time to trust God and pray. I will join you in praying that God will raise our girls to see themselves as God does. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you will return.

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Andrea December 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I had never thought of Pinterest in this way before, but you are absolutely right! I can’t even share pictures of my sad Christmas decorations because they don’t quite meet the Pinterest-Perfect criteria. Many questions answered while reading this post. Thanks…lol! I love this post…and your blog. Happy SITS day SITStah!

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pruningprincesses December 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Hi Andrea! It is so nice to meet you. I finally decided that the appeal of Pinterest is the ability to freeze pretty things (before any one can make a mess). Making and creating pretty things is something we can control. And women LOVE control. Unfortunately, some women have let the appeal of this media control them and they do not know it. So while they preach to love yourself the way you are, they practice the art of perfect appearances online. I am so glad you enjoyed the post and that you took time to comment. Thank you.

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Classic NYer December 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

There are the pictures, and then there is life. One of them is real. Problem is, most of us don’t know which one.

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Mo @ The Baby Is Fine December 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

this is so true. the internet makes it all the more easy to compare, too. it’s so important to take a step back and ask yourself “am I going crazy because this is actually important, or because I just think it SHOULD be perfect?”

happy SITS day πŸ™‚

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pruningprincesses December 5, 2012 at 1:37 am

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Our culture is at a strange crossroads. Women are free to be whatever they went and yet we let visual photograph sites make us feel bad or drive our perfectionism. Maybe we love pinterest because it full of things we can control. I love your distinction between perfectionism and priorities.

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Kerrie @ Family Food and Travel December 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Love this post. I think I need to remind myself of this more often.

Kerrie
http://www.familyfoodandtravel.com

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Nicole December 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Love this post. Such a great point and something to remember as I prepare to have 12 little boys over for a birthday party this weekend!

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pruningprincesses December 6, 2012 at 1:59 am

Hi Nicole,
I hope your party is tons of fun. Do you think the desire to present things perfectly even effects boys much? I get the impression that they don’t struggle much in this area? I don’t have boys so I wonder what you think?

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Nicole December 6, 2012 at 2:06 am

No! I am sure you are absolutely right! They could care less – they just want to have fun…In fact, I bet girls would be the same way. At six, why would they care if the food all followed a theme (displayed perfectly, etc.) – they just care that they get to have cake and ice cream if you ask me. Sometimes I think it is the competitive urge between the mommas that cause the craze – not the kiddos themselves! I’m a new follower for you! πŸ™‚

http://www.pencilskirtsandnoodlenecklaces.com

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pruningprincesses December 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

Yes the secret world of competition between the mamas! So true. Can’t wait to get to know you better.

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Danielle December 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

Happy SITS day – I love your post and it is so true; I also find the same thing about Facebook. People only share the good and you start to wonder if you’re the only one with some bad!!! But I try to volunteer for those less fortunate which really helps me put it all into perspective.

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pruningprincesses December 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Hi Danielle. Good for you. I find that any time we get off the computer and out into the real world, it helps us keep things in perspective. We homeschool and sometimes I have to be very intentional in my efforts to get us out of the house. Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment.

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Leslie December 5, 2012 at 2:44 am

So, so true! I chased the Pinterest effect too long with my blog last year. It’s so much better when you’re just doing something for your own desires!

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pruningprincesses December 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Leslie. So nice to “meet” you. Wow it sounds like you recognized what was happening and made changes. Good for you! I peeked at your blog and you have two girls too! I love the picture of you with the two of them. So precious. I can see why you loved Pinterest, you clearly have an eye for design. Your blog is lovely. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I hope you will return and be part of the community here.

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Carlo December 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Right on! I “feel you” and I’m not a mom (except to my Chihuahua, Petey Wheatstraw – the devil’s son-in-law!). But really… you are so on point here that it’s not even funny. No matter how much it doesn’t seem like it, how hard you try, and how tired you get, I’m telling you RIGHT NOW that you’re doing a beautiful job; raising your daughters!

Bravo for doing the right thing, teaching self-worth and principles, not “pretty”.

Blessings to you and family and Merry Christmas too!

– Carlo
PS Happy Belated SITS Day!

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pruningprincesses December 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

Carlo, you speak the love language of bloggers–which is comments that encourage. Thank you so much for your kind comment. And your child, Petey, well he’s adorable. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Merry Christmas to you to.

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The Foodnatic December 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Happy SITS Day (belated)!! And AMEN SISTER! I actually dread having any daughters (so far I just have my son, but we’re not sure what this little one is that is inside of me yet…) because everything in the world seems to targeted to let them know from the moment they have a concept of the “outside world” (outside of the walls of our home) that there is something “wrong” with them. Or not even that deliberate…just “well, everything can be better or the word wouldn’t exist, right?” *cuss* I feel afraid to try to compete with that. But, I know I never tried. I still don’t. I don’t wear make-up, I actually avoid trendy clothing and just stick with classic, modest and move on. I don’t dye my hair, I listen to talk radio and I don’t watch movies that I wouldn’t want my children watching. People would say my life is boring lol… I feel like my life is normal, filled with peace and filled with love. I don’t need anything else. I went through a LOT to get to that though…things I never want my children to go through. Yeah, it has made me one tough Momma/woman…but that isn’t how it always goes for women these days.

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pruningprincesses December 11, 2012 at 11:42 am

Hello. I for one admire your choices. I wish more people thought about the things they watched and endless new styles of clothing they buy every year. I am glad you strong in your convictions. I do know though that your kids, they HAVE to go to tough stuff too. Otherwise their characters won’t be as strong as yours. I wish we could just pass them the gene with all our wisdom we have learned but it God doesn’t allow our life lessons to be an instantly passable trait. Thanks for stopping by.

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