Wednesday, August 31, 2016

three things to stop doing on facebook...immediately

oh facebook. i have a love-hate relationship with this master of social media. i love so many things about it. i love the connections i have made with friends throughout my life. i love hearing about the major milestones in people’s lives. i love seeing my friends’ children grow up before my eyes. i love knowing when people are struggling and how i can help. i love the wonderfully social aspect of it all.

somewhere over the last several years, however, it has also become something i hate. there are things people do on facebook that have, quite honestly, made me want to cancel my account altogether. it gets to be too much some days. i selfishly want the good things about facebook to remain and the rest to simply disappear. to that end, in an attempt to improve what truly can be a beautiful way to connect with others, here are: 

3 things you should stop doing on facebook…immediately:

1) stop posting political rants. 

we get it. you have an opinion. you have your chosen candidate. you love them. you can’t stand the other person. i have my own political candidate that i will be voting for. that information is, frankly, none of anyone’s else's business. if you have something political that you think is vital to share, i get that. if you have something you are incredibly passionate about, i get that too. please stop, however, the constant barrage of political posts that have the sole purpose of bashing one of the candidates and basically stating that anyone who votes for that person is an idiot. that is what i’ve seen more than anything else where political posts are concerned. one candidate or the other is an absolute disgrace and everyone who stands with them is blind, or idiotic, or racist, or criminals, or you name it. i’m willing to bet that very few people’s political opinions were changed because they read someone’s facebook post. a political race by definition means that we are going to disagree with the politics and ideals of a huge amount of the population. can’t we just agree to disagree without calling each other names? am i alone in this? i can’t be the only one who is tired of the onslaught. just stop, people, for the love.

2) stop posting anything that publicly shames someone else.

this one pushes me over the edge. i’ve seen grown women publicly shaming a child on facebook. i’ve seen neighbors publicly shaming the yards of other neighbors. i’ve seen countless examples of people jumping onto the story of a horrible tragedy and saying horrific and barbaric things about someone’s parenting. how many people told the poor, grieving parents whose child was taken by a crocodile at disney world that they are horrible parents, that they didn’t deserve their children, that they should be sterilized? i sat appalled at some of the comments i read and was absolutely nauseated at what people said to others, all behind the safety and anonymity of their computer screens. these are real people we are speaking to. slander is never a good idea…and it says way more about the person who writes it than it does about the person it is written to. do yourself and everyone else a favor. if you have something to say to someone, do it in person. if you cannot talk to that person face to face, keep your comments to yourself. trust me, this will benefit everyone.

3) stop getting offended. 

we have become the nation of the easily offended. we get offended for ourselves. we get offended for others. we walk around looking for ways someone has wronged us. we get upset at people all the time, for every reason under the sun and, whether we post about it or not, we read things posted on facebook and let it affect us. i’m talking to myself on this one too. how often do we read something we don’t agree with and we can feel our blood pressure rising? how often do we read the political posts and get upset? how often do we read through the angry posts of others and get indignant or angry? how often do we let what people write in a post affect our emotions. i know i’m guilty of this. when that happens, close the computer screen and walk away. it’s not worth it. you can respond to the hurtful comment of someone with another hurtful comment of your own. you can combat that political opinion of someone with an equally offensive post of your own. or you can close facebook and walk away. i’m guessing no one will change their minds or their behavior because of what we write on any given post. more than anything, we perpetuate more hate and anger when we answer combatively. how about instead of getting offended and entering into a heated online debate, we make someone a meal, or ask someone to meet us for coffee, or invest in another person in even the simplest of ways? energy is a limited commodity. let’s invest it into things that are worthwhile and not into being so easily offended.

that's it. it's not a long list but it covers so many things. wouldn't facebook be wonderful without it all? i think it would.

let’s get back to posting things about our lives. post me your struggles and i’ll be happy to walk with you through them. post your victories and your joys, i want to share those with you. post moments in your life that make you laugh or make you cry….i want to join in that with you as well. i love the things on facebook that bring us all closer together. that is what makes it so magical. keep the good things coming, friends. that stuff brings me joy and connects us all together and, frankly, we could all use more of that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

i wasn't ready

i've always been one of those moms who rejoiced over the first day of school. i've hosted back to school mom parties at my house. i've had big celebration breakfasts. i've secretly chuckled at those mothers who posted about their first day tears on facebook.

the first day of school happened for my household this week and, just like that, the house was empty all but one preschooler. this year, for the first year in my life, i wasn't ready. that bus pulled around the corner of our neighborhood and i didn't want to let my kids get on. there were no tears on my part but, for the first time ever, there was some disappointment.

maybe it was the fact that i took two no-kid trips this summer and missed those moments with my kiddos. maybe it was because of the 15 day road trip we took as a family, crammed into an over-crowded SUV, and surrounded with each other's good company. maybe it was that i wasn't physically prepared (can you say night-before school supplies?). maybe i'd just gotten used to them being around. regardless, the house seems eerily quiet. 

there are no people to chat about their daily plans. no one is sharing what they read in their latest book. no one is helping to bring down the dirty laundry. no one is really needing anything from me. i know, it sounds like the picture of bliss. i know it sounds ridiculous to wish it otherwise but i'm simply not used to the quiet. 

i went from being needed and busy 24 hours a day to having whole chunks of time completely alone. i went from running and managing and scheduling and cleaning and planning every second of every day to having chunks of time when i'm in my house alone. it feels very strange.

maybe this is what happens when your kids get older. the exhaustion of doing everything for your preschool and early elementary kids turns into the companionship of kids as they grow older. i have a friend whose son is a senior in high school and she is incredibly sad to see him head off to college next year. when asked about it, she said, "i really like who he is now and he's about to leave." i think that's how it is supposed to be.

now i evaluate this school year and wonder if i'm just growing to enjoy my kids' company. i'm wondering if i'm just liking who they are more and more as they get older...and i'm also having to start evaluating who i am and what it will be like without them. i'm very aware that time moves much too quickly and my years with each one in my home are numbered. i also know that, ultimately, i'm raising them to leave. that's my job as a parent, right? i'm supposed to raise great kids who will be able to stand on their own two feet without me. that's what seems difficult to process.

even though i know that this is how it is supposed to be, it doesn't seem right somehow. this summer was over too quickly. the school year's beginning that marks another year gone by with my kids came much too fast. they are growing up more rapidly than i can fathom and i'm simply not ready for it all. still, i do know who i am and i know that when they do eventually leave and stand on their own feet, that new phase will be great too. so, today, i'm learning to enjoy the quiet, to love on a preschooler, to greet them all when they get home and to remember how quickly it all goes. this is how it is supposed to be, each year a little bit of letting go. i may not be ready, but they are...and that's what matters.