It’s late Friday night, and I’m sitting here vegging in front of the computer after finishing up my email to-do list. It’s been one of those weeks where I’m happy that I made it to Friday without losing a kid or my mind. I’m glad the challenges of this week are over!
The funny thing is – I feel guilty. I feel like I’m wasting time because I have a huge to-do list of things that I must accomplish and a million self-imposed or real deadlines that I need to meet. That’s not counting the normal mom, homeschooling, house and life things that relentlessly take over the precious free time that I have. I feel guilty for relaxing.
How annoying is that! Even though I know that everyone needs some down time, and everyone needs some “me” time, I feel guilty actually doing it.
Now, it sounds like I’m walking around with my nose buried in my phone, ignoring my kids and life to escape into Facebook. I’m not. Nope. But if I take a few minutes to answer a question or read a post here or there, it’s not the end of the world. I am me. I have a life. I have needs and responsibilities, and I owe it to myself to be more than “Mom” 24/7. My kids need to learn that they don’t get instant service or undivided attention 100% of the time – that’s not realistic. Go play kiddo, mommy needs a minute. Not that it works, by the way – the instant I say “go play” I’m bombarded by sudden, urgent needs that cannot possibly wait 2 minutes longer!
If I don’t accomplish anything tonight, it’s not the end of the world. If I don’t finish up that curriculum in the next week, people won’t perish with impatience. I can take a little time to rest and relax. I just can’t seem to do it without feeling guilty and stressing over the work piling up.
In my more defiant moments, I blare “who cares if I spend all night on Facebook?” at my nagging brain. I fling the dishes into the sink and ignore them (not for long, or the anxiety starts to build.) I kick my feet up, push the chair to lean back past its stubborn stiff pose, and spend a little time managing social media and building online ties with people I’ve never met.
For me, social media has become the way to connect with my tribe. Between that and email, I manage the household’s social needs, appointments, and school stuff through an online interface. Forget the phone, I don’t use that for actually calling anyone (except my kids’ doctors and my husband.) Text me, email me, message me, but don’t you dare call me because that’s an instant kid trigger.
People love to demonize social media. They call it wasted time, an addiction, a curse. They go on screen detox time periods and limit screen time for their family. They wail over Facebook taking over their lives, or their kids’ lives. And don’t get me wrong – it can certainly be a problem. I know people who spend all their free time on Facebook and ignore the very real needs of their family. That’s addiction.
For most of us though, social media has replaced the television, telephone, and bar hopping with a few handy little apps. Let’s be realistic – the generation before us would spend hours in front of the television. It’s a good way to relax after a long hard day, and it’s social acceptable. Spending time on Facebook is seen as useless, wasted time, when really it’s just a replacement of what the older generation chose.
If I veg for a while on Facebook, how is that any different than watching the evening news? I’m pretty sure the entertainment value is about the same, and the news value is about nil for both of them. I’m relaxing. I’m turning my brain off the only way I know how. And I’m tired of feeling guilty about not working all the freaking time.
It’s not like anyone else is telling me I have to go work (minus the mouthy 6-year-old who is really pushing the limits these days.) No, the pressure is all mine. The expectations are all mine. The guilt – also all mine. The work isn’t going to go away. I could spend an hour each day cleaning and I promise, you wouldn’t even know I did anything when you walk in the door. Entropy rules, chaos reigns.
So brain,shut up and let me relax. Turn off the worry meter and let me figure out how to de-stress, because good grief I need to! And if you guys happen to see me around town checking Facebook, don’t judge me. Please? Because I’m literally working every single minute of every single day, and you’re seeing one of the rare stolen minutes and not the entire picture.