Sunday, January 19, 2014

Farewell, Facebook

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently made the decision to remove myself from Facebook.
 
I won't deny that there are numerous benefits to this popular social media outlet. It's a wonderful tool to stay in touch with far away family and friends, it's the most convenient way to find information on local businesses (though that can be dangerous when a newsfeed contains the daily flavors at three local cupcake companies!), and it's a great source for breaking news. Despite these benefits, I had been feeling for a while that Facebook, for me, was becoming increasingly negative. After my usual morning scrolling one day last week, I reached the end of the updates and thought, I just don't feel the need to do this anymore. Nothing in particular triggered it, I guess I had just had enough. So I made what I thought would be my final Facebook post (I'll explain why it wasn't my last in my next blog post). My status update read as follows:
 
"First I deleted Candy Crush, followed by Instagram. Next up on the chopping block, scheduled for tomorrow morning: Facebook."
 
During my final day on Facebook, I was flooded with comments and private messages from people telling me I would be missed, that they'd miss seeing pictures and posts about Addy, and giving me their phone numbers so we could stay in touch. Of course, I've also been asked by numerous people WHY I would choose to quit Facebook. I think I've given a different answer to every person that has asked me, because there really are quite a few reasons, such as:
 

  • My newsfeed is cluttered with advertisements that I do not want
  • I don't care about the comments and likes the my friends leave on pages of people who are not my friends
  • I am not interested in knowing everyone's political views
  • I am not interested in reading bible verses or otherwise being inundated with religious propaganda
  • I want to puke every time I see a "1 Like = 1 Prayer"



and so on. But really, those are just a few annoyances, which I could probably look past, and change my block settings accordingly. My ultimate reason for leaving, however, goes much deeper and is much more personal.


If you follow this blog regularly, perhaps you've picked up on the fact that I don't find motherhood to be particularly easy and fun. Or maybe you haven't, I don't know. Maybe I've painted sunshine and roses and "I'm so perfect". I'm not really sure. At any rate, let me set the record straight. Motherhood is HARD. Being a parent is constantly challenging, rarely forgiving, always demanding, and I don't ever get to take a break. Sure, there are days that are completely sunshine and roses, days when I think I've really got my shit together. But seriously guys? Those days are few and far between. Most of the time I feel like I'm doggy-paddling in the pool, straining my neck to keep my head above water. More often than not, I'm questioning every single thing I do, wondering if I'm handling a situation right, if I'm teaching Addy enough, if the effort I'm putting in now will result in a good human being later down the road. This doesn't make me unique, it makes me like every other mother in the world. Do you know what that means? That means that every other mother I encounter could be an ally, someone who could tell me I'm doing a great job. Someone who could remind me on my darkest days that it's all worth it. And you would think that Facebook would be a great tool to bring together all these allies to find support and encouragement.


But do you know what I found on Facebook? In short, it has become the war of the mothers. Every day, my feed included multiple posts on parenting topics - articles, memes, status updates, new studies. Article titles like Killing off Supermom and Dangers of "Crying it Out" , or what may as well have been titled Shit You're Doing Wrong. And every day, I felt like my parenting style and my parenting choices were under attack by the very people that should be my allies.


I know what you're thinking. "But Stacy, those are just well-meaning mothers happy with their choices and opinions and wanting to spread their parenting ideals around to help other mothers." And yes, you are probably correct. I'm sure that no one was ever personally attacking me. But here's the deal: I struggle every single day to find the right balance of kindness, compassion, discipline, punishment, healthy eating habits, rewards, etcetera, etcetera. Being bombarded with 87 different viewpoints just made me second-guess my abilities as a mother. Constantly.


And the labels. Attachment parenting, helicopter parenting, natural parenting, organic parenting, Supermom. Why do we feel the need to slap labels on everything?!!? Doing so enables us to very quickly categorize a mother, compare her to ourselves, and immediately pass judgement on her entire set of capabilities. I'm guilty of that, and I don't want to be any longer.


As I type this post, as I think back on various articles and such, I can actually feel my blood pressure rise. I know I felt that on a daily basis while scrolling through Facebook. So, my friends, that is why I quit.


Going forward, this is my new test for judging a mother, as well as judging myself: Do you love your child? Does your child know they are loved by you? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then Congratulations, you're doing an excellent job!


For the record, I have been Facebook-Free for 9 days, and I have not missed it for a second. At this point, I have no intention of resurfacing anytime soon, if ever.

2 comments:

  1. Dislike! Just kidding. Though, yes, your presence is tremendously missed, and you've made it harder for me to keep you in the loop, you do what YOU've gotta do. On the plus side, it looks like you'll have more time to commit to publishing blog posts! I've seen an increase of activity in just two days, and YAAAAAAAAAAAAY! As a side note, I recommend downloading AdBlock Plus. That kills all the unwanted ads all over the Internet. Facebook included. If you do ever decide to go back, I can help you set it up so it doesn't drive you mad. ;)

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  2. I applaud your well thought out decision Stacy and I believe that becoming "Facebook free" may well support your efforts to "live in the moment" without unnecessary distractions and expectations. Way to go girl! Now call a friend ,schedule lunch, and make a "face to face" connection...heh heh!

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