The Facebook Mentality

Yesterday was family day, which meant all stores were closed and my kid didn’t have school. It also meant that we were supposed to do something amazingly fun as a family.

We didn’t, though. We like to keep the bar low on those kinds of expectations. Also, we were watching my niece. And also, we kind of sort of can’t afford to do those kinds of things.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to, but we can’t right now. So, instead…we had fun together. I know right?! Who has fun together anymore, especially on their own without going somewhere fancy? But we did.

We watched my niece, had a marathon of new movies, had a visit with Matt’s mom and my sister (when she came to pick up my niece), and when it was just the four of us…we had a massive ball war, where in we threw soft balls at each other. There was no strategic grounds behind any of it, and the kids loved it.

We also did some homework (reading and printing), but mainly we just…hung out. Together. With barely any distractions.

I was feeling good about our sweet day of nothing until later on that night, when I logged on and saw the abundance of photos on Facebook from friend’s out with their families at super fun places.

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Then I felt guilty. I felt as if I was failing to give my kids fun and enriching experiences by our sweet day of nothing, and started to feel guilty over not taking them to Ripleys Aquarium or the Science Centre or somewhere drastically more awesome.

I know that’s not true at all. I know I’m not failing to give my kids enriching experiences, simply because we didn’t go somewhere. It’s the whole Facebook mentality. Like I said in yesterday’s post, Facebook gives this illusion that life is so fantastic and the bad parts don’t happen. You constantly compare your days to those of your friends. Usually not in a malicious way (at least, I don’t do it maliciously), but you compare none the less.

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I hate that mentality so much. I often want to just delete my Facebook and be done with it. But that’s where everyone is and I need to be where everyone is if I’m going to run a successful business and promote my writing…and I know, that’s a lame and weak excuse. But there you have it.

Blogging can be the same way, I suppose. I know I am guilty of doing the whole ‘look at me! Look at how great we are because we are out and not sitting in front of a tv! Look at how HAPPY my kids are! We so happy!’ thing too. Oh, um, sorry about that. I’ll probably do it again too. So…awkward.

But at least I’m honest (or try to be) about our days too. A shitty day is a shitty day, and yes…you can find good parts to every day (childrens smiles, etc etc), but you’re entitled to feeling shitty still.

Except on Facebook, it would appear.

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About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in bits and pieces, blogging, complaining, Facebook, happenings, honesty, jibber jabber, musings, updates, us, verbal diarrhea, words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The Facebook Mentality

  1. Ugh. Facebook. Home of the one-upmanship and the humble brag. I feel your pain, totally.
    I’m also no in a position to give my kids a lot of material things or expensive “fun experiences”. Instead, I give them my time, my attention, and my love. And maybe it’s because I don’t have a lot of money for “things”, but I firmly believe that these are the things that will ultimately matter most in their lives. Not saying that I love my kids more than other people because I don’t shower them with expensive gifts and toys or that those that do love theirs any less, but I think it’s a good lesson for everyone (children or not) that love and meaningful relationships have absolutely nothing to do with how much money is spent on them.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you for your comment, it’s exactly what I needed to hear. I do often feel guilty for not spending tons of money on “experiences” or adventures, but you are absolutely right.

  2. Trauma Dad says:

    I’m a die-hard homebody in the winter. And I hate driving any time of the year. I’m totally a hero for driving my kid to school every morning and looking at her through the window when she’s playing in the snow. All the “going places” fun the kids have is managed by their mother. I read to them and sing to them and teach them and cook for them and let them hit me with pillows. But I can’t do the place going thing. I hate it so much.
    And TV is totally my friend. I keep saying “well I make video. I work in TV so it’s my trade. I’ve got to teach them my trade, right?” I mean, I do force them to critically analyze the shows they’re watching, but it’s certainly not constant.
    I’m a little on the fence about whether I’m a good dad in this regard, but I think I’m just going to accept that part of me isn’t all that, and go with the strong stuff. Again with the omitting!

    • Jess says:

      You and I are alike with the driving thing, and my husband is like you on the going places thing. He hates going places with small children. It is pretty anxiety inducing.

      Good plan, we do the best we can and that’s all that matters. (So facebook needs to shut up lol)

  3. I quite enjoyed waking up to this, this morning. We have and are in that time of life as well. We were there for 3 years. We still are in some ways.

    While other kids were getting showered with Leapfrogs and iPads, our kids were playing with a house that I got at a Thrift Store for less than $3.

    In the past 4 years, we have only bought them a handful of new toys, usually around tax return time because I can hardly stand spending money on myself. I always want to spend it on them.

    Don’t feel bad though. Seriously, we’re all there. There is a saying that I have always loved since I heard it in our financial class a couple years ago.

    “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

    I have always hated seeing everything about people spend $1,000’s on their kids, where it seems like they are trying to buy their love. I would rather spend that money making cookies with my kids and creating memories as a family.

    What works for some, doesn’t work for others though. But yes, Facebook is the “Craigslist” of my life is “perfect”. Although, I try not to do that. But, as you said, it’s not “acceptable” to post about how hard life is sometimes. You look like you’re throwing a pity party and such. It’s ridiculous!

    Thank you for writing this though–I kept thinking about a post while I was putting together our shelves and stuff yesterday. This just gave me the nudge I needed.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Meg! I love hearing that I’m not thr only one who feels this way about Facebook and life in general. I look forward to reading that post.

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  5. Some of our favorite times together are playing video games (diablo 3, left 4 dead) as a family, and watching funny videos on Youtube together. My 10 year old really like the ones with the invisible driver or the skeleton driver, and the Pittsburgh Dad videos. Sometimes simple is good.

  6. Facebook is the most guilt-inducing machine. Whenever I do “nothing” with my kids all day (cause it’s raining, I’m broke, or I’m tired) I go on there and feel totally outdone by everyone’s daily accomplishments. It’s just not fair!

  7. Samantha says:

    I agree! And if it wasn’t for a blog plus a soon-to-be small business, I wouldn’t have one. Just found your blog via a comment on the Matt Walsh Blog…super great post!

  8. cathy says:

    Ya know what? Those places are all well and fine but truly they are packed full of other peoples little darlings melting down left and right! No thanks lol We went sledding and came back here and put pizzas in the oven. But we were all together and we had fun and it didnt cost anything. I’d rather have that kind of family day or any family get together than going to one of those packed commercialized places.

  9. Mari says:

    You have no idea how much I relate to this! I’ve gone as far as deactivating my fb account because I do find it disheartening when I see all the fun things people are doing, the perfect meals they are eating and especially all the exercise they are getting (Ok, so maybe I’m just a bit jealous of that last one). But you are so right; that is where everyone’s at and I want to be where everyone’s at!! >.< So, I'm still working on not becoming discouraged when I feel a twinge of jealousy because my life doesn't exactly measure up with everyone else's but I tell you, it's not easy! I still go on there and rant about my less than perfect days and how I've burned dinner for the second time this week!! I gues it's all about balance, which I tend to lack for the most part anyway!! Lol!
    I've enjoyed "lurking" around your blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts!
    -Mari

  10. I would like to spend more days just hanging around at home! Nothing to feel guilty about there.

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  12. I find keeping up with others’ posts on Facebook overwhelming. As for mine, I use it as a platform to distribute information, for mental health advocacy, and to support the posts of others. It can be WAY too much information, though.

    J.C., just finished Collide last night and gave it 5 stars on Amazon. Should probably go to Good Reads and review it there, as well.

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