It’s OK to be Less Than Pinterest Perfect: Nailing Perfection in Military Life

Do you ever feel like your life is a string of photos that could be used for the Pinterest “Nailed It” memes?

If you are unfamiliar with what I’m referencing check this out. These pictures so beautifully sum up our quest for perfection and the shortfall that usually accompanies it. Our need to perfectly re-create beautiful things, replicate new exercises, and reproduce complicated recipes isn’t a faulty pursuit in and of itself.

Pinterest is a fantastic source of knowledge and inspiration that has improved the lives of millions of people.

The problem comes when we fall into a state of shame or disappointment because our attempts at similar projects fail to live up to the well-lit, heavily-photoshopped pictures we see.

Instead of trying to stay away from these ideal images, we need to redefine what perfect is for us as individuals and come to terms with always being less than “Pinterest Perfect.

Being less than Pinterest Perfect is not something that is a new concept for me. As someone who never really excelled in Arts and Crafts, planning for and executing my children’s birthday parties was always a source of anxiety. I attended parties hosted by my talented friends and admired their ability to expertly decorate the space, coordinate colors, and create an overall theme carried out through favors, appetizers, and goody bags.

I long to be the type of mom who creates beautiful memories for her children, but when it comes down to it I’m just not.

This is so perfectly demonstrated in the past year’s birthday party for my youngest son. For some reason, his birthday seems to fall in a very busy time of year professionally for me. Flying in the day before his birthday, I was still determined to bake his cupcakes for his party myself. Scanning Pinterest for ideas that I could actually create was a serious undertaking, but I landed on yellow Minion cupcakes. Surely I could frost a cupcake with yellow frosting and put a big eye on it. Right? The answer is yes. Yes, I could do this and they turned out super cute.

The problem came when the post failed to warn me that while transporting said cupcakes to the party, the frosting would melt creating melted Minions more reminiscent of Rausch’s The Scream than the adorable movie.

I share this story because not only because it is hilarious (don’t worry, only two or three children need therapy after viewing these monstrosities) but because it demonstrates the need to embrace our mistakes. I could have allowed my failure to ruin my mood or feel ashamed during the party, but I choose to embrace my lack of craftiness and go with it. The cupcakes became a source of laughter and conversation as all of the moms took turns sharing our “Nailed It” moments. This camaraderie reminds us that it’s okay not to be perfect; we need to embrace who we are AND who are not.

Close camaraderie also allows us not to only embrace our mistakes, but to change the very definition of “perfection.” Military spouses are forced to continually redefine most aspects of their lives – where they live, their careers, and even parenting roles. Although this constant adaptation can be exhausting, it also creates a flexibility that can shape a very healthy mental construct of a dynamic definition of success.

Success for a healthy dinner when your spouse is deployed could be a bowl of Cheerios or a perfect trip to the grocery store could be just finding the store without using your GPS. When you set up a dynamic vision of perfection, there is no failure, only feedback. We free ourselves up to continually find success in everyday life instead of chasing a stationary, unattainable vision.

Instead of viewing the unique Military lifestyle as a series of “Nailed It” photographs, let’s choose to see this journey as an opportunity to continually create a new definition of perfect!

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