Archives for August 2014

Pay it forward.

This week has been long. Work has been busy. My husband works evenings so when I get home, I usually also have the kids by myself. By the time I get them (when it’s “my” turn) they’re both tired and grumpy because it’s 5 pm and they’ve been up all day and my husband has usually taken them out to various places and activities during the day.  I usually try to do something fun that they are both almost always pretty whiny about. Then I do dinner, bath, story, bed. By then it’s almost 10pm and I’ve still got emails to respond to and laundry that needs to be folded and dirty dishes in the sink and a million other household chores. I try to flop into bed by midnight at the latest.

Then I get up the next day and repeat the whole thing all over again.

Thursday night (last night- or this morning, actually) was particularly awful. The girls started waking up at 4 am. Bella pretty much got UP for the day at 4 am, which may or may be my own fault, because the evening before she fell asleep at just past 8 which I knew would be bad news for me the next day. She usually goes to sleep somewhere between 9:30 and 10. But last night, she just went into my bed, curled up and fell asleep, she was obviously exhausted.  What was I supposed to do, wake her up and make her stay up til 9:30? I thought about it, but I didn’t. Instead, I went ahead and knocked out the chores early and settled in to actually watch a movie. It was Divergent.

Lottie was not asleep, but she was happy to sit in my lap quietly and chew on teethers while I watched the movie.

So, Bella started waking up at 4. She wanted to watch tv. Then she wanted some milk. Then she went to the bathroom and lathered up her hands with soap and couldn’t get the faucet to turn on because her hands were all soapy so she needed me to do it. Then Lottie was crying. Then Bella wanted breakfast. Up until then I had been trying to continue to sleep while leaving Bella to play quietly in her room. Obviously that wasn’t working out, so I gave up and got up for the day.

Then Bella started cocking an attitude with me, which is a serious problem we are having with her at the moment and I’m hoping it’s just a stage. She throws things and attempts to boss us around: “I don’t want to, YOU do it. YOU pick it up. YOU do it. Bring me my juice! YOU get it. YOU do it. I don’t want to. I’m too tired. I’m busy.” We aren’t actually obliging her, but she still continues to shout and try to assert herself. Anyway, I ended up sending to her room until she could behave and speak to me in a more appropriate tone and manner and then she was squalling and crying and calling me mean mommy and telling me she just wanted me to leave her alone and go to work. So that was delightful. What happened to my baby that begged me NOT to go to work because she wanted me to stay home and snuggle with her?

Anyway, by the time I got out of the house I was tired and frustrated and worried about what is going on with Bella.

It was such a bad morning that I decided screw it, I was going to stop for good coffee. I don’t usually stop for coffee anywhere, I just make it at home in the Keurig. But at the end of a long hard week, after a night of very little sleep, on a morning when I had been fighting with my daughter, I felt that good coffee, lots of it, was in order.

So I pulled in Starbucks and it was of course, packed. Then when I kind of got close to the ordering screen, the SUV in front of me had pulled forward, but seriously only pulled forward about a foot, so their entire car was still in front of the ordering screen and I was still waaaaay far away from it. But that didn’t stop the employee on the other end from persistently trying to take my order: “Can I take you order. Hello? Can I take you order? Have we helped you already? Hello? HELLO?” So I was trying to shout at them while I wasn’t close to the screen and they couldn’t hear me and the whole thing was awkward and frustrating and I was cursing myself for thinking that it was “SUCH A GOOD IDEA TO STOP FOR COFFEE!”

By the time I got to the window, I was fuming and just ready to call it quits for the day even though it was only 7am.

But then the Starbucks employee handed me my beverage and said, “The car in front of you paid for yours.”

And suddenly, just like that, my day got a little better.

I’ve read about these random acts of kindness and “pay it forwards” but I’ve never been on the receiving end. It was a definite pick me up at the very moment that I needed it, so thank you for that, kind stranger.

And I will pay it forward on my own soon and hope that my random act of kindness touches someone as much as it touched me today. :)

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My relationship with social networks.

Lately, some things have changed for me and for my family.

My husband and I got in a heated argument a few weeks ago. Do you know what it was about? Our phones. Somehow we had gotten to that place where one of us was always staring at it. Habit? Boredom? Addiction? I don’t know. All three, probably. We would be taking a walk with the kids, or at the park, and one of us would be staring at their phone. We would be having dinner, not talking, staring at our phones. One of us would be talking to the other and that person would be saying, “uh huh” and “yeah” and nodding like they were paying attention, but they weren’t. I was sometimes “that mom” taking a picture simply to :”Capture the moment! Share it on Instagram! On Facebook! Wheeeee!!”

Each of us realized the other was doing it, “Stop looking at your phone and look at me, listen to me, be with me, be with the kids,” one of us would say to the other. Then within 20 minutes, the one that just got called out was saying it to the other.

So you know what? We quit. No, seriously. We really did. No phones out when we’re doing family time. No phones out when we are eating. No quickly taking a bunch of photos and slamming them out there on social media instantly. Nope.

And you know what? I love it. More than that. I am IN LOVE WITH IT. So then I took it a little further. I’m now only looking at my Facebook or Instagram or Twitter (or whatever else) in the evenings before bed. Maybe once or twice I’ve glanced at it outside of this time frame but when I’ve done it, I’ve caught myself thinking, “Why am I doing this? I don’t want to look at this.” I imagine I’ve only broken the rule out of lingering habit. A habit that I’ve had for, what, a decade?

It’s not that I cut it out completely, or that I plan to really. I’m even still posting or sharing things. Usually it’s pictures, but most of the time I share them in evening and I took them earlier in the day. I’m trying not to post them “right then,” (GOTTA SHARE, GOTTA SHARE, GOTTTA SHARE.) A few weeks ago I went on a rafting trip with friends. I didn’t take any photos or have my phone out, mostly because I was on a river and you shouldn’t have your phone on a river. I still really wish I had taken some photos, not to just to put on Facebook, but just to have, for me. I’m not gonna lie though, I also kinda wanted pictures for the purpose of putting them on Facebook. Why did that matter to me? Why did it bother me the slightest bit? Did not posting pictures make it a less important event? It still happened, despite not sharing it with the world. I still had fun, my friends and husband had fun. What more did I need?

Probably for people to give me some “likes” honestly. That’s gross, right?

I just feel like I’m reaching a place (I haven’t totally reached it yet, but I’m getting there) where I’ve outgrown it. It doesn’t make it stupid. It doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone who still likes it or has made it a habit in their lives. It just means it’s not really for me anymore. It’s just not a priority. It used to be kind of fun but I really don’t find it much fun anymore.

By taking most of its presence out of my life, I actually feel HAPPIER. It was like a switch that I flipped. I didn’t know that switch NEEDED to be flipped but boy I’m glad I did it.

You know what I have come to realize about social networks? It really makes people get on my nerves.  People I REALLY, REALLY like. I can’t tell you how many close friends that I still love so much and would hang out with all the time, that I have removed from my feed because they make me nuts on Facebook. From portraying a life that isn’t entirely accurate (fluffing it up), to rants, to bragging, to topics they just post or talk way too much about, Facebook makes me dislike the people I really do like. I don’t know what it is about social networks. Do we just feel so much more at ease to say things that we wouldn’t have the guts to say in person? Do we just get bored and post things without really thinking about them and how they will affect other people? I don’t know.  I’m sure I get on people’s nerves too, specifically with the 10,000 pictures of my kids that I post and probably these blog posts.

Something I’ve really come to understand is that I like people better not seeing their Social Networking personalities.

So, all in all, I’ll be keeping the social networks I use around, and I’ll probably still post on them from time to time, it’s still a way to keep in touch with the people I don’t see very often. It’s still a communication medium where I can see what is happening with my friends and family and they can see me.

But I am going to choose actual interactions instead of relying on Facebook/ Social Media (I keep referencing Facebook the most because it’s the one I use the most, though I do use others). And I’m going to continue to cut out staring at my phone when I’m with people that are important to me. I’m going to continue to take pictures all the time, (because I do take them all the time, I have 2 small children) but I’m not going to be one of those people that’s all “LET ME CAPTURE THIS, LET ME PUT IT ON FACEBOOK, I WANT PEOPLE TO SEE WHAT I’M DOING.? Because you know, I really don’t care anymore. I don’t care if anyone knows what I’m doing. I know that sounds stupid, because here I am POSTING ON A BLOG. I guess I just felt like putting it out there. Maybe someone else has outgrown it as well. I haven’t really been “blogging” in awhile either, which doesn’t mean I’ve quit writing things. I’ve just not been posting them here. Maybe I’ve outgrown this blog, too. I need more time to think about that.

Life isn’t a competition. It’s not about showing everyone else what I am doing. It’s not about watching what everyone else is doing either and comparing what I’m doing with what they’re doing or comparing what they have to what I have. And I do it, I do it without even realizing that I’m doing it. It’s like this subconscious beast sometimes and I want that beast to die.

Life, at least for me, is about living it to the fullest. It’s about being free and being happy with how I’m living and what I’m doing. The things I like, the things that my family and I do may not be the same things other people are doing. And that’s okay, it really is. I don’t need to compare myself and my life other people every single day, several times a day.

LIVING. Can I really do that when I’m consumed with “sharing” and stalking what other people are “sharing” too? I really don’t think I can. I’m a positive person, and social media makes me feel negative. Sometimes I read through the things that are being said in my feed and I just feel icky and sad.

So these are just my thoughts. Social media isn’t going away, it’s here to stay, I’m not stupid or in denial. But my relationship with it just isn’t working out. And I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

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