Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I gave up Facebook, for my chidren


“I don’t like Sally, she’s mean…” my daughter said to her younger sister in the backseat of our car.

“She didn’t say hi to me in the lunch room the other day.  And when I said hi, she made a face at me”

I couldn’t help but giggle to myself as I hear these words from my 9 year olds mouth.  I know Sally, she is kind of mean.  I didn’t disagree with her comment. 

My husband was driving our family of seven, 4 daughters, and 1 son to a hobby store that day.  We were going to get rocket parts, we had decided to start a family hobby of building and launching rockets.  It was just a day after Christmas and we were all still feeling jolly.

Until that conversation in the backseat was overheard by my husband.

“Anna” he said, requesting my daughter’s attention.

“You are better than that, don’t be petty” 

Silence filled our SUV.

I sank into my seat. 

“Who cares if Sally made a face” he continued. 

“What does it matter that she didn’t say hi?  That doesn’t make a person mean…maybe she didn’t see you.  Maybe the face that she made had nothing to do with you.”

My husband was right, and his insight couldn’t have been wiser. 

I chimed in with my two cents supporting my husband, suggesting that Sally may have had other things going on that day that we didn’t know about.  Never admitting that I myself was being petty too.  That moments earlier I agreed with my daughter, and also thought sally was “mean”.

We continued on our journey that day, stopping for burgers and ice cream and later launching our very first rocket at a park by our house.

Later that night I couldn’t stop reflecting on my husband’s comments. I was deeply disappointed in myself, not because of how I felt in the car or even for briefly agreeing with my daughter.  I was disappointed in my daily pettiness and the affect that it may have on my children.

I immediately wanted to cut any area that may create gossip or judgment out of my life.

There was one place in particular that I knew I had to escape from.

Facebook.

I have had a love/hate relationship with that little blue icon on my phone for years.  I have connected, disconnected, reconnected, liked, friended and unfriended more times than I am proud of. 

The love part of the relationship is based on the ability to be informed about what’s going on in people’s lives that I truly care about.  I catch adorable moments posted by my brother featuring my nephew, hilarious posts from my brother in South Korea, live vicariously through my adventure seeking brother and share brag worthy info about my crew with my mom.

The hate comes from the things I cannot unsee, the false lives that are portrayed, the status updates that are offensive, uneducated and entitled, the selfies that I too am guilty of, the TMI posts, the who cares posts, the political posts that are posted by people who know very little about politics, the #my(insertanyword)isbetterthanyours posts,  the  time wasted and most importantly the social and personal affect it has had on me.

Each time that I logged onto facebook, several times a day, I got caught up in seeing what everyone else was doing, what they had, what they wore, what their homes, cars, friends, families and careers looked like.  I saw “perfect” lives, I saw sad lives, I saw things that I was jealous of and things that made my life feel superior.  Facebook made me petty.  Facebook created gossip for me and my friends.

The decision was easy, disconnect. 

I hope to stay disconnected this time.  Some of the friends that I have lost on facebook will still be around, some will not and that’s ok.  It’s OK if I don’t know what a girl I went to highschool with does or doesn’t do, in fact it’s probably better that I don’t.  It’s great that I may run into that girl in real life, and reconnect based on actual things we have in common, and learn about who she is because she told me, not because I read all about it and came to my own conclusions. 

There are many other areas in my life where I can improve, but I think this is a good start.  My husband and I won’t raise perfect children, but we can set examples to show them how to be better people.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

first comes life, then comes love

First comes (lots of) babies, then comes marriage.

Wait isn't it first comes love, then comes marriage...then something about a baby carriage?

Whatever the saying, as of about 2 months ago, I am officially a married woman!

And in my case,  life came before love. 

My husband and I have been in a relationship for a little over 6 years.  In our time together we have merged our families into one, created a baby, bought our first home, started a business and most recently got married. 

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted be "in love", I wanted to be swept off of my feet and have butterflies in my stomach. This sounds magical, and its what is portrayed to us in movies, books, on TV and all over social media.  The image of romance that everyone wants and feels they deserve is plastered everywhere.

The love my husband and I share has grown tremendously in the time that we have been together, but we did not fall in love "at first sight" like in some fairytale. 

When I first met my husband, I was a single mom.  I also became a mother figure to his 3 little girls, who had lost their mother a year earlier.  It was my first time ever playing "house".  I had never been a wife, I had never even moved out of my parents house.  I wanted to be married. 

After I got pregnant with our son, I wanted marriage even more.  I thought having a husband would make life better.  I thought being married would mean I had found "true love".

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Our relationship took time to grow into love, and every experience that we had together bonded us into a stronger couple. 

I am not endorsing having children with a person and then seeing if love happens between you.  I am however implying that pursuing love without expecting there to be instant fireworks may prove to be more a affective approach.

We live in an instagram world, with social media play by plays of our favorite celebrities, sports teams, political leaders or whatever topic that peaks our interest.  We expect what we want, exactly when we want it, with as little of our own time committed as possible.

Love takes time. I can honestly say that I love my children deeper today than when they were first born.  I loved them immensely when they were infants, but through watching them grow into individuals with their own quirks, strengths, and goals I have gained an affection that only time could reveal. 

I once knew a man from another country who said Americans use the word "love" too loosely.  He argued that we say we love food, material objects and other things that aren't logically loveable.  I was in my early 20's and thought that statement was so harsh.   I remember thinking, "But love is good"

Love is good, but I think what my friend meant was that we can be happy without love.

I believe that love doesn't create happiness, happiness creates love.

I of course, love my husband, more today than the first time that I said I loved him, I would not be as in love as I am without the time that we have had together, without living life together and allowing our happiness to create love.