I know that I am not the only one who feels this way about social media. It keeps presenting itself in conversations, even with my OBGYN. I mentioned my blog and its purpose and she told me about a woman who was just in her office in tears because she felt like everyone else was flawlessly juggling everything and she was the only one who was breaking under the pressure. It made me feel incredibly sad and helpless. And it made me think more about this love/dislike* relationship with social media.
First, let’s discuss the love of social media because I think these reasons are pretty standard across the board. I love connecting with people from all aspects of my life. I have been able to reconnect with so many people (especially since I started the blog) who I otherwise would have lost touch with. I am also amazed at the amount of information and variety of perspectives available on any and every topic, although this can be a double-edged sword. The power of social media continues to amaze me in these ways.
Now onto my dislike relationship with social media…Today this popped into my feed: And then I looked up and saw this (and this is actually not that bad for our house): Who the fuck throws a back to school party? Is this a thing? I can’t even get laundry done or keep my house clean or return library books on time and you want me to throw a breakfast party? We are just entering kindergarten this year, but I certainly don’t remember my mom or any of my friends’ moms doing this for them. And then it didn’t stop. Special back to school lunches and surprises and notes. I don’t understand. None of this. I had none of this. And I survived. I more than survived. I had what I thought was a very fulfilling childhood.
And then I stopped and I thought. Maybe I am overreacting, why is this making me so angry? And then I thought about the woman crying at the doctor’s office. No, I have the right to be angry. This is unacceptable. Stop it. Just stop it. Stop doing this to ourselves and each other. Simply your life. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. Hold onto the really important things and let the rest go.
And put your phone down. I have had both of kids nonchalantly mention how much I am on phone in the past week. Wes is two! And he told me not to forget my phone because he knows it is an extension of my arm. A very painful, but much needed realization. So I am going to stop. I am going to designate certain times, mostly when they are sleeping to be on a device, just like I do for my daughter, and stick to those. Learning from my children and parenting myself seems to be a theme lately.
Social media presents several new behaviors (like throwing back to f-ing school parties), but it also amplifies behavior that has been around far longer than Facebook. Wearing your most flattering outfit to see old friends. Posing your kids for pictures. Cleaning your house before a party. We have always tried to present our best and hide our flaws, but not on this scale. We are bombarded by these perfect pictures posted by hundreds of our friends at all times. It is constant. This is not normal. This messes with people’s heads and with their perspectives. We have to check out. We have to turn it off. And we have to build a circle of friends whose lives are based in reality and who don’t host back to f-ing school parties.
*I am teaching my children not to say hate, so I am trying to refrain from using it. Yes, I am aware that I drop the f-bomb in my blog. Although they can’t use it now, they can use it to convey a passionate statement in the right company when they are older.