Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Self....Be YOU.

I recently saw a post on Facebook that stated something I think we as women could all use a reminder of....

"I didn't ask you to be her,
I asked you to be you."

I don't know about anyone else out there, but this resonated with me tremendously.  I had taken a month or so off of Facebook and what I discovered was that I had stopped worrying about everything I was doing wrong as a mom, a wife, a woman, you name it.  I got to where I was feeling so bad about how I was a train wreck in the making that I had almost convinced myself that I was the only one in the universe who couldn't keep a clean house, who had zero social life because basically when you have a large family, your life revolves around a large family (and there is NOTHING wrong with that), and that I was a loser as a female in about every category imaginable.  (believe me, I've said this before, my husband is up for Sainthood living with me....)

I think social media can be good, but it can also be horrible.  I think there is a happy balance, but can people really attain that happy balance?  I mean, if we truly sit and think about it, how many of us on these sites, don't go back constantly and see who has liked our status, or rebutted a comment we've made on another's post, or look for anything to affirm how we live our lives?  If you're one of the few, I think you're lying, or don't have a Facebook page.  Ok, just kidding.  You aren't lying if you have a very healthy balance of spending as much time on social media as you do with live human beings.... :)

I think it's very important that we stop comparing ourselves....and that's way easier said than done.  I've done a lot of stupid things to lose friendships over the years, and people have stopped being my friend for similar reasons, but what I've noticed is there is a disconnect with true human to human contact.  We don't know HOW to communicate except behind a keyboard and it's far easier to hide behind one than to actually sit and communicate.

And I think the people suffering the most other than the children that are permitted on social media (and mine will not be until they are 18 for very good reasons...) Are us women.  We have already built into our souls a bit of a guilt complex.  We feel guilty over a lot of things.  How we do most everything.  (disclaimer-this is my opinion.....please understand.  I'm one person in this galaxy of opinionated have the right to disagree and I will welcome that...this is just what I see)

We can feel guilty over just about everything!
Here is an example.

Christmas here in my crazytown home.  We buy the children three gifts (who am I kidding, I BUY, superhero hubs just approves the spending...).  Just as the Wise Men brought Christ.  Which is why we celebrate Christmas btw.....  Santa, whom we don't place a whole lot of emphasis on, but still 'believe in' brings them one gift each after they go to bed on Christmas Eve.

Well, Christmas morning arrives and they're ooohing and awwing over their Santa gifts (we go to Mass in the morning and open our gifts after) and some of the little ones are looking longingly at the other's gifts.  I let that little pit of guilt seep in and before I know, I've convinced myself Christmas is ruined because little Junie bug didn't get the Generic American Girl doll like her sister, SusieQ....

Then I let that seep into my heart and mind and by the end of the opening of the gifts, my superhero hubs asks if I've had a good Christmas so far and I give him this look and he immediately realizes he has two choices.
1) Run.  As fast as he can the opposite way and pretend he never asked..... or
2) Suck it up.  Take a deep breath, and ask 'what's wrong.'  In which case I go into a diatribe of what I did wrong this year at Christmas.  Who got the shaft, and how I 'never seem to get the gifts right with my kiddos...'  He spends the next hour (or 5) reassuring me that yes, I did well by the children and no, they are not shafted, and no, they will NOT be scarred because we didn't get them a Playstation or Xbox or whatever is the latest and greatest electronic saga toy.  They won't be on Jerry Springer because of Christmas gifts......It will be because of other things....... (he's such a card....)

Facebook is kinda the same way.  And I suppose Instagram can probably be worse because it's literally just a snap shot, which is usually perfect and well "portrayed" and can make a person feel as though they are not living up to today's standards of the 'perfect look.'  I only have Instagram because I am the co-chair of our Catholic Women's conference group and we realize that we need to reach as many women as we can to bring them to our conferences, but I see it there, even if I'm not posting my own "Norman Rockwell" photos of home life.

What we need to do for ourselves this 2017 is make some New Year Resolutions that we will work less on looking at the 'snap shot' photos and making assumptions.  I think we can all agree that we sometimes look at the quick snapshots and think it's how life is 24/7 for everyone but us.  We have to remind ourselves that we have these snapshot moments as well, but that there are also lots more unsightly snap shots that we don't post simply because we know no one wants to see the ugly!  I mean, I don't get on Facebook hoping someone shows ME a clogged toilet full of an 8 year's dump that is running over the toilet and draining INTO THE BASEMENT........

(sorry, that moment was actually very real for me a few weeks ago and it has apparently scarred me for L-I-F-E.....)   Sorry.

We need to work on our REAL relationships that are right here in front of us.  Our families and friends.  Towards the end of last summer, it hit me like a TON of bricks that my time left with my oldest two children was truly drawing to an end.  Meaning, my time with them as children, home with just us, and not moved away, in college, married, etc.  My oldest is a junior and I'll admit, it hit me HARD.  I took a step back, stopped worrying about 'fitting in' and 'getting out' with friends, and really tried to focus on my kids.  I'm sure it bothered people telling them no to helping them, or getting together, but my priority is, was, and always will be my family.  My oldest will be graduating in a year and a half and who knows where her future will take her.  But what I DO know?  Is that I can leave a lasting impression with her by being present.  Physically in more than the sense as sitting next to her while we are both on our devices enjoying the world and not each other....but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
We need to make these resolutions not only for our families and friends sake, but for our own.  Once we realize that the grass IS greener right where we water it, we'll start to realize that while the pictures of these perfect snapshots are amazing and beautiful, they are only that.  Snap shots.  And then, like me, we'll all realize, that a lot more of these people have snapshots just like us....

Clogged toilets.
Kids fighting.  Constantly.
Leftovers for dinner for the umpteenth time.
Kids fighting. Constantly.
Dirty houses.
Toys everywhere.
Barbie and Lego traps waiting to cut right into the heel of your feet.
Kids fighting...Will it ever stop?
Tubs with dirt rings so deep it will take the ENTIRE CAN OF SCRUBBY BUBBLES TO CLEAN.
A husband out of town again......while 46 events take place in that 5 day period.....
Teenagers who terrify us to death driving.
Kids fighting....Good Lord, what now???
Death of a loved one.
Kids fighting. We might miss that sound one day.......

Clearly, kids fighting is a winner in this house.  But I hope I've given a bit of a smile in our seemingly ultra-sensitive world where a person can't even post a pic of a delicious meal without someone going all postal on them, or an actor can't give a super sweet compliment about another who passed away without being publicly scoffed by the keyboard troll police for seeming 'insensitive.'

We need to find that healthy balance of real life and social media land.  And if we can't, we need to turn it off for a while and turn on the family time.  One New Year's Resolution after another.  Focus on the people around you.  The real ones.  Flesh and bones sitting right next to us longing to have a conversation with us.

Or maybe, just longing to tell me the toilet is clogged.............again.......for the elevendy billionth time this week.........