Heartfelt · Mindfulness · Parenting

“Unfriending” Facebook

It’s always been part of my genetic makeup to be busy. Running around doing this; buzzing around doing that. Leaping from one thing to the next and having an abundance of ideas that must all be executed at once! And always with a mind-boggling sense of urgency.

When I was blessed with 3 little people I took multi-tasking to a whole new level! Admittedly, painting and re-decorating the entire house with a newborn, toddler and 5 year old to look after wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve ever had, but I’ve always had faith in my ablity to juggle everything at once. That was, until I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a very long story but, in a nutshell, we experienced three traumatic, life-changing events in the space of 2 years and the final one tipped me over the edge. But never fear! My way to handle it was simple… stay busy! I continued to join committees, Parent Club, Governing Council. If people asked for my help, I gave it. If we were invited to multiple events in one day I rushed everyone around determined to attend them all. My propensity to say “yes” when my brain was saying “no” grew and grew! I began volunteering my services before people even asked for them.

To the people around me I looked like some sort of super human who would do anything for anyone but the truth was… I was falling apart. The only way to feel normal was to keep doing things, anything! The more I did, the faster I went; the more distance I tried to put between myself and my reality. It was the ultimate distraction! And just to be on the safe side, in amongst all of my distractions I would throw frequent checks of Facebook into my day. I used Facebook as a distraction from my distractions. BRILLIANT idea! Or perhaps not? Over time, my distracted chaos wore me down and I earned myself a couple of impromptu rests in hospital. Still, that didn’t stop me! I dusted myself off and was running around again only days after being discharged. Desperation for distraction outweighed my health until… three days after Christmas.

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Our extended family had all ventured home and suddenly there were no visitors to entertain, no presents to buy, no school duties and no committee meetings during the holidays. The world stopped; my distractions were limited. There was just me, my husband and my three favourite little people… but Facebook was still there.
Early one morning I was doing a quick Facebook check before I launched into my post-visitor clean up when my eldest daughter walked into the room for our morning hug. I looked up from the screen and my heart sank. Overnight my daughter’s face had changed… a very subtle change that only a parent would notice but still she was different. From the time I had kissed her goodnight to the time we said “good morning” she had grown a tiny smidgen and something about the way she held herself had shifted. I closed Facebook down and went to make breakfast with her but for the rest of the day I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. Although I absolutely loved the face that was greeting me that morning, I had lost the face I snuggled up and read a story with less than 12 hours before. It bugged me. I thought about that year: the school holidays I missed because I was so engrossed in a fundraising project for the school; the countless times I’d bustled the kids from one place to the next because we had jobs to do; the awful phrase “just a minute”; the times they had spoken to me while I was absorbed in the computer screen checking Facebook; and finally, the shrinking of our family as our kids’ Godfather lost his battle with cancer and left behind three beautiful kids of his own. I didn’t have “just a minute” to spare. In “just a minute” things could change, people could disappear, children could grow up and I would never get that minute back.

I festered on my thoughts all day and by the evening I made a decision to change my course. I wanted to be fully present during the school holidays. They were the last holidays before my youngest daughter started kindy and then I would have two little people away from home each day. The holidays were our time together and Facebook had no place in them! So I eliminated my first distraction; I “Unfriended” Facebook. If you’ve ever tried to deactivate your account, you’ll know how hard Facebook makes it! Every time I clicked on the reason for deactivating it {yes, you have to give reason!} it came up with an alternative solution rather than to close my account. I tried every option and in the end the only solution was to select “other” and write “because I want my life back”. Surprisingly, forgetting about Facebook was easier than I thought. I’ve never been drawn to technology so I don’t miss looking at a screen and all my fears that I would lose touch with people proved false. By disconnecting from Facebook I could fully connect with my kids. Now I see everything they do, I join in whole-heartedly with their games, I hear everything they say. I have all the important status updates that I need right here. As for extended family and friends they still call or visit. Text and emails still find me {eventually} and I discovered that people are more honest about what is happening in their lives away from the public forum. It seems I’m not the only person who painted a happy picture on Facebook only to be hiding the truth behind the screen.

So now, I’ve lived January to the fullest! I’ve reclaimed all the stolen moments that I would previously have dedicated to Facebook and I have basked in every Facebook free day! So much so, that it’s now the last weekend of school holidays and even the thought of returning to Facebook fills me with dread. I don’t want to go back to the fakery people portray. I don’t want to get stuck in a conversation that lasts a day or two. I don’t want my children to talk to the side of my face while I peruse mind-numbing updates about supermarket cues or photos of people’s dinner! I want to continue to share more time with my family: picking flowers with my little ones; getting lost in the forest; playing backyard cricket and watching sporadic curtain concerts. With any luck, now that I’ve said “no” to Facebook, I might be brave enough to say “no” to other distractions and let go of my over-committed lifestyle. School starts back tomorrow… oh dear, wish me luck!

*UPDATED 3/02/2016: The decision was an easy one! I have now permanently deleted my Facebook account! Hello world, I’m officially back!!!

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Have you ever wanted to disconnect from Facebook? I’d love to hear your story!

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2 thoughts on ““Unfriending” Facebook

  1. I just love this post. For so many reasons. I’m not ready to give up Facebook yet but, since returning to work, I have found I’ve had little time or energy left for it…or anything. The energy I have had has been instead used in time with my daughter. I can’t believe I used to be checking Facebook as I cuddled up with her. Perhaps it was my only touch with the adult world, away from The Wiggles and Macka Packa. But now I have some adult time of my own (admittedly spent with other people’s children!). I think you’ve just inspired me to write my next blog post.
    As one awesome friend said to me, love ya guts 😉

    Like

    1. So true Cheryl. It’s such an easy way to reach out to other adults when you’re at home with little ones. It makes you feel part of the world but don’t forget… to your beautiful little person, you are the world! xxx
      PS – Bring on your next post!!!

      Like

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