I started a Pinterest account about the same time that nearly everyone else I knew was starting an account. People were saving recipes and craft ideas and I figured if all of my friends were doing it then I should do it too. It seemed like a great idea and I was trying to be better about cooking at home. Pinterest would be the perfect place for me to keep all of those ideas in one online location.

There was one problem. I never used it. I never went back to look for recipes and ideas I had saved in my early excitement to have an account. And then I got overwhelmed by what everyone else was saving and sharing and I ran right back to Facebook to do all of my social networking there.

I left behind the crafts and baking and decorating because I just couldn’t commit to dreaming about things I didn’t have the skills, time, or desire to achieve. I forgot about the account and left it untouched for years.

Then a couple months ago I decided to dive back in. I was trying to figure out how to best diversify my social media and attempt to learn how to responsibly use the different platforms for their intended purposes. I reopened my Pinterest account (thankfully I still remembered the password), and I started looking at the “boards” of the friends that I was already following. What I discovered was more than just crafts, baking, and decorating. I discovered boards on education, technology, parenting, and travel, all boards that I would have been interested in following and in keeping myself. I felt silly. All those boards I could have been saving over the years. All those education articles that I had shared on Facebook so that I would remember to look at them in hopes that I would remember enough information to apply the new knowledge in my classroom. All of the building ideas for home improvement projects. All of those ideas for camping that I simply forgot about. All of the vacation planning. All of the articles that I had wanted to save for writing ideas and research. I realized that I had missed out on years of safely storing away all of the above information because I was intimidated by “Pinterest moms,” convinced that if I used the platform I would also be expected to plan the perfect parties and create the perfect birthday treats.

I saw an opportunity to change the way I looked at the platform. Instead of diving into the Pinterest wormhole and wasting more hours during my day looking at what other people had stored away in cyberspace, I decided it was time to start using the platform for its intended purpose: a place to store the articles and ideas that I wanted to be able to easily access at a given moment with the ability to search for specific ideas when the need arose.

This has been life changing.

No really, it has. Now when I see education articles I read them and store them away for future pieces that I may want to write and submit. I have a couple ideas for books floating around in my head (two of which are partially written on my computer) and I’ve started saving any and every article that relates to those topics. I created a board for our summer vacation and during a grading break last week I started saving information on a potential stop in hopes that I would be able to explore more options once school is out and I theoretically have more time. I talked to my yearbook staff and discussed the possibility of setting up a Pinterest board so that we could save ideas for next year’s book and share them with each other before we go to camp in July.

My personal and parenting reality is that I will never be a “Pinterest mom.” You will not find me looking for cute party ideas, fun cake designs (I’m perfectly happy with my messy but delicious homemade ice cream cake and chocolate cupcakes), and the perfect make-up for a given outfit or event. I haven’t kept baby books (don’t ask me when the kids first crawled, walked, or got their first teeth), I throw their mementoes into plastic tubs, and they only get photo books every year because I’m an obsessive photographer who wants to be able to look at photos on something besides a screen. I have dreams of a perfectly decorated home but the reality is I’m spending my time typing blog posts instead of painting walls. And at the end of the day, I would rather have a couple friends over for a quiet night of wine, conversation, and possibly a fire as opposed a perfectly organized shower or wine and cheese party.

But nine years after its invention, I’m finally learning how to use Pinterest and I’m discovering that, just like Twitter (which I also just recently discovered), it can be wonderful and it has its place. I guess it’s better late than never.

Thoughtful and nuanced responses welcome!