Facebook is an incredible tool. It connects family members far and wide. It links friends, old and new. And it allows businesses to communicate with customers around the world. But as much as it has enabled me to connect with people online, it often disconnects me from those sitting right in front of me -- my kids.
I confess: there are times when I seek to disconnect. When Facebook is the easiest, most convenient escape from the constant can-I’s, she-said’s, will-you’s and to-do’s that flow from my childrens' mouths. But having instant access to Facebook from my mobile device means the ability to escape is readily available at the push of a button. Truth be told, it’s not unlike a self-administering morphine pump, tempting to numb me from the pain of my responsibilities. What began as a quick way to check out Facebook has become a mechanism by which to simply checkout.
Image: Maria Elena via Flickr
On those occasions when I’ve exhibited some self-control, choosing to deny my inclination to see what everybody else is doing, the Facebook “push” notifications interrupt what I’m doing. This application is a constant pull for my time and attention, leaving less of it for those around me. Sure I could adjust my settings, but let’s not be naïve; the whole goal of the application is for Facebook to retain their captive audience -- captives like me.
Ironically, my chronic five-minute Facebook field trips don’t leave me refreshed, ready to resume my mommy duties as they did once upon a time. Instead, I often return to my circumstances annoyed: annoyed that my kids interrupted me while reading an article or commenting on a post; annoyed that my season of life doesn’t resemble the steam of fancy-free pictorials from friends; annoyed that I can’t respond to every injustice that plagues the world, according to the 24/7 newsfeed.
Like any mind-numbing behavior, eventually the buzz wanes, leaving behind a nasty habit -- one that I’m ready to kick.
Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means saying that Facebook is destructive or bad. The benefits are obvious and not everyone reacts the same way to what, for me, amounts to an overdose. I’ve just come to realize that in spending so much time catching up on other people’s lives, I might overlook the best moments of my life.
Facebook has been a huge blessing in my life, reuniting me with long-lost family members and friends as well as keeping me informed about world events within minutes. And I love its ability to chronicle my family’s special moments in real-time, what I refer to as a “living scrapbook.”
My plan is to continue participating in this social media space, just not from my mobile device wherever I go. Rather, I’ll be joining the party from my computer where the barrier to enter is much more appropriate and healthy for me. I may miss many of the status updates that I previously would have responded to; but at least I won’t miss out on my family and they won’t miss out on me.
(For more stories by Dana Matas, visit www.confessionsofabusymama.com.)
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