As you may have read (see last week’s blog), I’ve chosen to refrain from using Facebook for 28 days to try to kick the habit of posting and commenting (and judging and criticizing). The other goal, perhaps the most important one, is to see if I’m a better mother without social networking. Meaning, will I spend more time with my daughters? Will I be less stressed if I’m not as caught up in other people’s problems? Will I eliminate “discussions” with my husband if I stop reporting everything that goes on? Will anyone really care that I’m not announcing my daily mishaps and foul-ups?
For the next month of Monday blogs, I’ll be publishing excerpts from my NoFacebook November diary. Please provide your feedback. I’ll be excited to read it in December. : )
October 29, 2012
Deciding to give up Facebook (temporarily) was exciting and liberating – much like cutting up a well-worn credit card. Freedom! But now, I’m a little sad. It feels like I’m moving and I’ll never see anyone again. Yet, I don’t see anyone anyway. I just chat with maybe 10 or 15 people on a website (when they comment or respond), and I see their faces by way of a profile picture — which might be a snapshot of their cat.
We woke up to six inches of snow and a two-hour school delay. This excited our daughters so much that they stayed awake – in our bed – laughing and carrying on despite my encouragement to go back to sleep. An hour later, a robo call announced that school was indeed closed. And then the power went off.
Mike, the girls and I have spent the day playing Bingo, Crazy 8s, Uno, and “school” (I hate school!). I took two short naps and read magazines that normally rest on tabletops as decoration. I tried to finish the New York Times bestseller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I found the “realistic” tale of a freshman’s struggles with life in high school to be wildly upsetting. I dread 6th grade through 12th, and I’m not entirely thrilled about sending our girls to college.
Around 2:00 p.m., electricity was restored and I ran to my laptop to pull up Facebook. This is going to be harder than I thought. I’m hopeless.
This evening, I’ve stayed glued to the Internet to see if there’s news about Wednesday’s classes. The girls’ elementary school is without power, but I can’t help but wonder about the Halloween party and parade, the pickup of our wrapping paper orders, pajama day and other spirit week festivities. And then I am reminded that half of coastal New Jersey is now a wasteland, and I feel ashamed. I have no problems.
The girls haven’t been on my iPad as much as I expected. They’ve played “school”, “office” and now “house”. Maryn has a doll that gets sick when you press her tummy (seems like a natural response). The doll’s cheeks light up to alert that she has a fever and then she coughs and cries until you pat her back. Her name is Claudia, but I call her Baby Swine Flu.
Frankenstorm has decided to hover over our house. Maryn woke up with stomach cramps of her own, and when asked if she was too sick to go trick-or-treating tonight, she replied, “Yes.” She must feel awful. The kid hunts candy as if it’s her job.
She has to get better quickly and she can’t give it to Ava (or to me) because I have three appointments tomorrow. I had to cancel everything today even though school is back in session. Somehow, I have to get through a new client visit, faculty orientation (I’m teaching communication classes), and a rescheduled Halloween party and parade. I need to turn two puny kids into perky WVU Cheerleaders. I’ll be dressed as the Bride of Frankenstorm.
The telephone rang a few minutes ago, and I answered it only to be greeted by static. “Hello…”
Assuming it was a political call of some sort, I was just about to hang up when I heard a robotic voice representing Kanawha County Schools announce that my daughter, Maryn, was absent from school today. Click.
Let me see if I understand this: The head office now calls parents to tell them their child isn’t in class? Do I need to be worried that my 1st grader may be skipping school and hanging out with her friends at Town Center?
Well, let’s test this: There’s a blond-headed little girl on my couch, nibbling dry toast and sipping blue Gatorade. Yes, that’s my child. And they’re correct…she’s not in class. However, I did send an email to the teacher.
My head may explode within the next 15 minutes. But, that would mean cleaning up another mess on the floor. I don’t have time for that, and I’m out of paper towels.
Tonight as we gorged ourselves on cardboard pizza, Ava asked why Mike and I don’t dress up for Halloween. The main reason is because he takes them door to door while I hand out candy here. We had talked about going as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (I wanted to be Paul), but we couldn’t find the Fab Four’s silk suits in children’s sizes. We then tried for the Scooby Doo gang, but Mike would’ve had to be Fred, and he refused to wear an ascot.
Trick-or-treat is over. Not one Mallo Cup. Two hours of hiking up hills in bone chilling weather, and NOT ONE MALLO CUP. I want to yell at my neighbors on Facebook, but I can’t sign on. But, I can throw eggs.
I experienced my first reality check yesterday afternoon. I haven’t been sneaking on Facebook – not my personal page, not my business page, and not my book’s promotional page – and I ignored three important emails. One of those messages announced a time change for a meeting. I missed the entire thing.
Another email was from a client informing me that he couldn’t access traditional email because of power outages, but he could log on to Facebook through his phone since it uses the big server in the sky. Then, he asked if we could get together to go over a new project. I didn’t respond because I wasn’t using Facebook. He sent me a text message to tell me to check my inbox. Oops.
I am determined to keep my promise to myself (because I’m doing this for a number of reasons, not just a series of articles), so I’ve asked Mike to check my account.
Facebook is a lot like food in that I overindulge when I’m feeling anxious. I find myself going to the computer a couple of times an hour to see what’s happening, but then I have to stop 10 fingers from typing in the familiar address. When dieters are trying to lose a few pounds, fitness experts warn that hanging out in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster. When cravings hit, we should grab our tennis shoes instead of a Twix bar and go for a 30-minute walk. That’s what I’m going to do – but in a store.
I went to Toys R Us with a $10 coupon in hand (it’s not exactly a 10-pound weight, but it has its benefits, too). Maryn circled enough dolls and games in the catalog to fill a warehouse, but I was in search of an item on the top of her list: The Doc McStuffins and Lambie Check-up Set. There was a problem, though. Only one Doc McStuffins box was on the shelf and another mother was standing firmly before the Disney package, eyeing its contents and inflated price tag. I reached over, gently pulled the box from her gaze and secured it under my arm like a football. The mother stared at me but said nothing. I stared back and said nothing. Then, I ran to the end zone, spiked the box on the counter and handed the cashier $29.99 plus tax.
I wonder if Doc McStuffins knows how to cure Stink Eye?
Observation after week 1:
* I’ve spent more time with my girls, but I’ve been irritable. I’ve also been a lousy business owner. Dumping Facebook for personal reasons may be possible, but turning my back on my company’s profile page was a mistake.
Want to read more? Check out the rest of the week in Katy Brown’s Notebook: http://katybrown.wordpress.com/