I will not be having a “Pinterest Purim” this year. Or probably any year, but let’s leave open the door to the possibility that some far off day, I will not be one hot mess of a mama.
I could list all my excuses as to why none of my children will be wearing homemade costumes, and why if I get my act together and make Purim baskets, they will probably stink and I will forget to give them to people I really should remember. Probably any one of my excuses would stand up in some weird judgy tribunal, starting with the tried-and-true, “I have five kids and three of them are 3 and under.” I am also toting a portable excuse in my uterus, conveniently enough.
But excuses are the cousins of guilt–you can see the family resemblance pretty clearly in how they both make you slouch and feel uncomfortably ashamed of yourself. They make you feel “not good enough.” Generally speaking, with all these kids, I honestly don’t have time to worry about whether or not other people think I’m good enough. So I stopped. Or at least, I thought I did.
But then my Facebook feed started to explode with pictures of homemade non-exploding (those other crappy bakers will know what I mean) hamantaschen, trays and trays full. Someone mentioned the “theme” of her family’s impending mishloach manot in her status message, which stunned me because I thought the theme was supposed to be “Purim.” A quick tour online teaches me that mishloach manot isn’t just a mitzvah–it’s an opportunity to let your creativity shine. You could make a movie-themed basket with popcorn, candies, and 3D glasses in a popcorn container! You could make a snow-themed basket, with various white pastries surrounded by cotton snow drifts! You could make cupcakes that look like sushi and chocolate chopsticks! There are endless possibilities to show how creative and amazing you are!
“Jesus Christ,” I mutter, arguably somewhat inappropriately, as I scrolled through Pinterest. I felt my shoulders slumping. At this point, the bags under my bloodshot eyes are scraping the floor.
I can’t do this, ladies. It’s not an ideological objection–all this stuff looks awesome. And if I even remotely had my shit together, it might even be fun to make Purim an elaborate, cool family production.
But that’s a pretty big “if” for someone for whom “brushing their hair in the morning” is kind of a 50-50 thing.
I just can’t get behind the idea of social media allowing us to out-balabusta each other. Maybe it particularly gets under my skin because my dirty secret is that even if I did have all the time in the world, I am terrible at doing these kinds of things. I’ve never been good at arts and crafts: I was called out by my 2nd grade teacher in front of the whole class for doing an exceptionally poor job at coloring in a dot-to-dot squirrel (not that it was a traumatic incident or anything). No one will ever look at my kids’ birthday parties and take pictures of ideas for their own kids’ parties, except if they are making a malicious “What Not To Do” website, which would just be rude (though, I’m sure, funny). Store-bought costumes are, for me, nothing short of a godsend.
And you know what? I’m here to say to all the rest of you hot messes–it’s OK. Because perfect is for Pinterest, not for reality. At least, not my reality.
So go get drunk enough to not be able to tell the difference between a crappy Purim basket and an amazing one (drink an extra whatever-you’re-having for me, please). Send me your malformed, exploded hamantaschen; I’m sure they are still delicious. Take the pressure off yourself, and back away from the social media madness. Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you.