Friday, May 31, 2013

Facebook Etiquette

Social media abounds. It's everywhere, and with smartphones it really is like some sort of socially transmitted desease. There is no escaping it.

I joined up with Facebook well after the majority of people I know. I refused until I was pregnant with Eli, working from home, and dying for social contact. Since then, it has been a pleasant presence in my life. I check it occasionally throughout the day and post when I feel I have something relevant to share (ok, or whenever my kids do something funny). I'm amused when, at times, family or friends will comment on my seemingly over-active involvement on FB. "You post way too much, you need to get a life" said a brother once. This made me laugh; my life is at home right now with my kids. Sometimes Facebook and Instagram are the only contact I have with adults all day long. I try to be diplomatic in my postings, as no one likes the over-posters. On the whole though, I feel like if I'm going to be on social media I might as well participate. That's why it's there, no?

With all that said, there are some things that happen on Facebook that make me smirk, shudder, and grimace. Let me go through some status update SNAFUS and plead with you all to stop. it. Or at least, think before you hit enter. Here we go!

Vague Posts

"I'm having such a bad day. I wish the things that happened to me today hadn't."

These are at the top of my list. When I was in Jr. High I remember saying dramatically vague things with lots of sighs to try to get my friends to perk up and ask me what was going on. We're all adults now people...stop. If something happened to you and you feel the need to talk about it online, tell us WTF happened pah-leeez.

TMI Posts

"I'm on my period and I'm bleeding like crazy. Ugh I hate this!"

Not joking. See it all the time. I could actually break this one down into a bunch of different posts. The above is an example of "bodily function TMI". I could also add a section for:

Relationship TMI Posts

"My husband and I got in a fight tonight. I wish he wasn't so insensitive. Where are my kleenexes and chocolate?!"

If you get in a fight with a significant other, do not discuss it on social media. Don't do it. It may, to the neurologically challenged, seem like a good idea to air dirty laundry in public. It is not. Things always have a knack of getting back to the person being discussed. And they won't appreciate it.

More on the TMI list?

Child Bodily Function TMI

"Oh my gosh Terrence just pooped in the potty! It was really loose and runny, but at least it all made it in the pot!"

It's awesome that you're potty training little Betsy Wetsy. No one wants to hear about her bowel movements though. This one is tricky, and I'll admit that when we were potty training our oldest I might have mentioned it once or twice on FB. I never, however, described what was coming out of him or how often. I kept things general and vague.

Labor and Delivery TMI

"She's dialated to a 4, mucus plug is out!"

"Dialated to an 8! The nurse is rubbing her perineum right now to get things ready!"

"Starting to push, baby's head is crowing!"

"Baby is out! Doc is just stitching up her episiotomy and cleaning up the placenta!"

K. Having a baby is amazing. I get that we all want to share the details with our fam. But for the rest of us, hearing a play-by-play of the whole dealy is a bit much. When I was in labor with both our kids, Dan and I made a pact; one general post during labor, one general post in the hours following delivery. That is all. I made him promise not ever to use any words in any social media post that involved any of my sensitive body part. No dialated, no crowning, no effaced, no pushing, no nothing like that. Mostly, if you're having a baby....HAVE THE STINKIN BABY. This is a very rare thing that will not happen again for a while. Enjoy it with the people present and let the rest of us know later on.

Over Posting, Or The Daily Grind

"Having a BLT for lunch. Then it's on to a hike! Oh look a cat!"

I said before that the point of social media is to participate with it. That does not mean updating the public-at-large with a detailed account of your day. I really try to keep it to one post a day, if I have something worth posting once a day. Constant updates aren't really necessary  I'll be honest, I have totally unfriended people before just because they have to post every mundane activity from their day.

BiPolar Posts

"My mom died today. Also...I won the lottery!"

I read these from time to time; status updates that will say one really good thing and one really bad thing. I hate these posts. You can't 'like' the good thing because it will look like you're insensitive to the bad. So then you have to explain your actions; "I wasn't liking that you broke your femur, but I do love that you got a new snake aquarium!". Ugh. Keep posts related to one topic. It makes it easier for the rest of us.

An Overabundance of Any One Thing

"Liberals are all dung-eating muffin heads that should die! Look at the 30 reasons Glenn Beck says they should all move to Cuba!"

"Don't ever eat animals! Here are four more links!"

"I love model airplanes! Look at all the pictures of model airplanes ever!"

I love diversity. I like that all my friends are into stuff. It gives me things to read and think about during the day. But 50 posts on one topic is too much. Facebook shouldn't be a soapbox. Or it can be, just not repeatedly every day. It gets old.

I think that's all the ranting I have for now. Our involvement on Facebook and other social media outlets, like anything we do in life, necessitates a wee bit of restraint, thoughtfulness, and consideration.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turning 30: Or Why I'm Slowly Going Crazy

In 3 months I turn the big 3-0. A year ago, when asked how I felt about this event, I replied with a wave of the hand and a scoff. Turning 30 meant leaving my capricious 20s in the dust and really owning up to this adulthood thing.

Now, as the date draws near, my attitude has changed. Not insignificantly either. Since about January Dan has sighed patiently when he comes home occasionally to find me in tears. Lost youth, impending elderlyness, and the feeling of failure have all got me way down.

When I was a kid I wanted to be so many things; a scientist, a veterinarian, a teacher, a social worker, and a little later on-a politician. When I got to college I changed my major a total of 8 times before I graduated. I was in the Middle Eastern Studies program for a while studying Arabic so I could go work for the State Department as a cool something-or-rather. Then I was a PolySci major who wanted nothing else than to work for a good nuclear proliferation think tank in Washington (little known fact about me; I'm way into nukes). Finally I transfered over to the Humanities Department and dreamed of taking my degree to a Master's Program in screen writing and be the next Tina Fey or at least Chuck Klosterman.

But 30 is coming, and I have done none of those things. I have a degree. I also have kids. I love my kids and I love staying home with them. I think though, that part of my serious anxiety over this coming birthday is the fact that I feel like I have let my younger self down. I have an Etsy store where I sell burp clothes and baby dresses...what?! That was never the plan.

Having kids is a funny thing because it feels sometimes like maintaining any previous life goals is both futile and almost frowned upon. I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty when I'm in, what I call, and 'Oscar Daydream'.  This is where I stare out the window while holding a bottle of ketchup and, in my head, give the best damned Oscar acceptance speech ever for my amazing *screenplay* *leading role* * cinematography* *directing* or whatever it is. I think the guilt comes because there's no good way to reconcile my role as a mother and my dreams of doing big things in life. I either stay home with my children, something I am very passionate about and something, honestly, I'm very good at OR I farm them out somewhere during the day and go to work pursuing my other dreams.

The former is something I will probably always do. My kids are my life. As soon as Eli sprung forth into this world I was as dependent on my offspring as they are on me. I love them and I am the only one I want taking care of them. The later, the pursuing dreams thing, is something I'm just going to have to come to peace with. And this is the peace that I'm having such a hard time finding as 30 comes nearer.

I wish sometimes I could lead two lives simultaneously  One would be the one I'm in right now, nothing changed. Married, kids, house, mortgage, dog, chickens, walks to the park, and talking to other moms about bowel consistency and sleep routines. The other would be the one with the masters degree, the awesome job, the constant traveling, the fame, the fortune, and the clothes. Oh the clothes. I wouldn't even want to live in that life. Just have it hanging on the coat rack where I could throw it on every once in a while for a few hours.

But for now, where I am, I just need to be still and happy. In the words of Candide, "Let us cultivate our garden".

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This morning I was playing with my two boys and sort of got caught up in the joy of motherhood. I grab Eli, snuggled him, and said, "How did I get such a good boy?"

He looked at me and said, "Because you love me!".

I couldn't think of a better answer. It hit me then that the words of my 3 year old could not have been more true; they are good because they are loved.

When we love people, we make them better. I can feel this so strongly in my house. When I am crabby and low on patience my kids seem to be the same. If I can pull myself up and "fake it til' I make it" things tend to turn around pretty quick.

How do we get good people in our lives? We love them! Its so simple, but such a hard one to master.