I hate to admit it, but my confidence as a woman isn’t always the steadiest. My identity hinges on different things depending on the week. Sometimes it’s my house. Sometimes it’s my cooking. Sometimes it’s my kids. One week last month, it was party planning.

My son just celebrated his third birthday, a milestone that led me to Pinterest in search of party ideas. I typed in “Curious George birthday party” and was inundated with images of banana-themed desserts, monkey-decorated favors, and color-coordinated accessories. It was so cute but so overwhelming, even for someone who had been through this before.

Two years ago I threw a whale-themed party for my son. Thanks to Pinterest, I incorporated whales everywhere: formal invitations, labels, cupcakes, fabric banners, even an inflatable whale pool and whale sprinkler. The coup de grace was the party favors: I filled my son’s old baby food jars with M&Ms in various shades of blue, covered the caps in blue gingham fabric, and attached custom labels with twine.

The party was absolutely precious—and I promised myself I would never do it again. These parties are exhausting, expensive, and stressful, so I decided to pull back. But it hasn’t been easy. Whenever I go to one of these elaborate Pinterest-inspired party, or scroll through the images of picture-perfect showers, homes, yards, and crafts, I feel pressure to keep up.

According to a survey of US moms, I am not alone. More than 4 in 10 of us admit to struggling with “Pinterest stress” and worrying that we are “not crafty or creative enough.” As a result, many of us take on projects we don’t really enjoy but feel like we’re ...

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