Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 Reasons Why I Deleted My Facebook Account

Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to bash Facebook. I am just stating the reasons why I chose to end my love/hate relationship with all things Facebook. Don't be offended if you have a Facebook account and think that I am speaking directly to you. I am the only person I know who isn't on Facebook so clearly you are in the norm here. I am not speaking to you. I'm speaking to myself. If you love Facebook dearly and could not imagine your life without it, then maybe you shouldn't read this. Or maybe you should. 

About a year and a half ago, I decided to delete my Facebook account. I had been toying with the insane idea for a while, and with a new baby and plenty of things on my plate to keep me busy without wasting endless hours browsing through other people's lives, I thought, well now is as good a time as any. So I did it. Straight up. And something magical happened......I did not die and life continued on as if Facebook never existed. That's right. You can lead a perfectly normal, social life WITHOUT Facebook. But I'm not here to convince you why you should do it too. I'm here to tell you why I did.

Reason #1: The Comparison Trap. There is some sort of false sense of fabulousness that exists on Facebook. Everyone is the best husband ever. Everyone is a 5 star chef. Everyone has the best/cutest/smartest kids.  And closer to home for me.....everyone is Super Mom.

Except, not. 

I love my husband, but there are some days that I just wanna tell him to grab a pillow and sleep in the car. I love to cook. But some nights it's like when are you kids gonna be old enough to pick up the phone and order your own dang pizza. I love my kids. But some days I think if they were any cuter or smarter I would be tempted to sell them for the pizza money. 

Oh and p.s. I'm not Super Mom. 

We don't see the nitty gritty on Facebook. No one talks about how difficult and time consuming it is to be a parent, or a spouse, or a HUMAN BEING. No one talks about the sleepless nights and the financial discussions and the stress over whether we should be feeding our kids this or that. Everyone wants everyone else to believe that they have it all together (except for The Martyrs.....see reason #6).

I don't need to see that another mom took her kids to the zoo, to the museum, to get frozen yogurt, to art camp, and made a gourmet meal wearing jewelry and make up and high heels. ALL IN THE SAME DAY. I have enough reasons to feel bad about myself. I don't need to be comparing myself to other moms.  And maybe some people don't have this problem with Facebook. But I struggle with it. I see what other moms are doing and instead of being happy for them I feel guilty that I'm not doing those things. And you know what? I don't think that's right. I know I'm doing the best I can and my family and my Savior love me the way that I am. I don't need Facebook telling me otherwise.

Reason #2: The Vanity. Oh the vanity. People think very highly of themselves. And then the people think even more highly of themselves when other people who think highly of themselves like or comment on pictures of the people who think highly of themselves. And then those people, in order to keep the people who think highly of themselves liking and commenting on their pictures, like and comment on the pictures of the other people who think highly of themselves as some sort of electronic gesture of affirmation. It's a massive circle of death situation.

Don't even get me started on Selfies.

Reason #3: The False Sense of Friendship. Sense when do people REALLY have 973 friends? Because I can count my true friends on my two hands. And I only have 10 fingers. Yes, you may have gotten 120 likes on that cute picture you posted, but when you were throwing up and your kid had a fever and your baby was born and you moved into a new house, how many people brought you a meal? How many people asked if they could babysit so you could take a nap? How many people came over for a cup of coffee because they wanted to chat?

We see the "likes" and the friends and the comments, and we think, man I'm popular. I have a lot of friends. There is a false sense of friendship....that somehow if you like a picture or send someone a message that you are a good friend. But you're not. Friendships are about relationships....and we can't measure our friendship meter on how many likes we got or how many comments we posted today.

I tend to be a bit of a recluse anyway, and as I said, I have very few true friends. Not because I don't like people or because I can't make friends, but because having REAL, authentic friendships takes time and effort. If I had 864 people who knew they could call me to watch their kids at the last minute while they went to the doctor, I would be screwed. But there are only a handful of people who do that, and I know I can do the same to them. That's a friendship.

I know there are people who live far away and the only way you can see what they are up to is through their Facebook profile. And I'm not talking about those situations. In fact, it's one of the few things I miss about Facebook. There are definitely a few people that I would love to see what's going on with them, but I don't anymore. And you know what? Maybe it will cause me to pick up the phone and call them long-distance and have an actual conversation.

Reason #4: Those People Who Post 136 Pictures of Their 2 Year Old's Birthday Party. I feel like this one is it's own explanation.

Reason #5: The Time. For some reason when you get on Facebook, Time becomes this infinite black hole sucking you in until it's 6 pm and the husband is home and the kids are crying and there is no food on the table, or in the house. And did I shower today?? Why am I not super mom like this person on my newsfeed and I should be doing something more with my life and All The Bad Feelings!!!

Instead of sitting down and browsing through a newsfeed, I could be doing something constructive. This may just be the pure lazy bone in me but if there is any excuse to sit down on the couch instead of work, I'll find it. Facebook was becoming one of those excuses for me. If I really need to sit and rest, I'll do something more constructive while I'm sitting, like read a book, or shocker...actually rest and take a nap.

When I see/hear about everything people are posting and doing on Facebook, my first instinct is, how do they have time for that? They must be neglecting their children. Or their children are less demanding than mine are. Probably the latter.

Reason #6: The Martyrs. You know who I'm talking about. Those people who only post negative things. "I'm at the doctor again for the 3rd time this week", "My 6th boyfriend this year broke up with me and I'll never find love", "My neighbor has a better yard than me", "I'm having the worst day ever, please pray for me".

And you know the only reason they post those things are so someone will say, "WHY????? What's wrooooooooong??? No your'e so fabulous!" And solely for that reason alone I refuse to comment on posts like that. But I'll be darned if someone doesn't come along right behind me and feed their need for attention and praise and give them exactly what they wanted.

Those people right there are enough to get you off Facebook. Those people were the straw that broke my Facebook camel's back.

Reason #7: Because I Want To Be Self-Aware. Just like the false sense of friendship, there is also a false sense of identity, contentment, and accomplishment based on your Facebook status. Ok it sounds strange when I say it out loud, but if you think about it, you'll start to realize there is truth in it.

By updating your status, it's like you create this little mental check mark in your head of things you accomplished today. Cute pic of the kid, check. Funny anecdote for my non-parent friends, check. Brag on my husband on Facebook instead of to his face, check. We act is if being happy on Facebook is the same thing as being happy in real life.

Am I the only one who was guilty of this?

I love this quote from this article. "Stop asking the virtual world to solve dissatisfaction with the physical one."

I don't want to live a false life. I want to be fully aware of my strengths and my weaknesses because I'm actually living them and not VIEWING them in word form on a profile page. That day I posted a super cute picture of my kid in her outfit and her matching bow? I yelled and stressed because we were late getting ready and leaving to go somewhere. That day I didn't post a picture because we were all in our pjs and never brushed our teeth? I baked cookies with my girls and cuddled and read books to them and soaked up every moment.

See what I mean?

Life in pictures and posts is not life. It's a very small glimpse from the outside of what a life MIGHT be. We have no way of actually knowing if the things and pictures we see on Facebook are true representations of what actually happened in that moment. 

Unless that person is our real friend and they told us over coffee the next day.

Reason #8: I Like Some Privacy. Not everything should be blasted all over the internet. It's not safe. It's not necessary. It feeds into the Comparison Trap and the Vanity. Where you ate last night, what new activity you signed your kid up for, or all your errands for the day... these things should be kept private and known by the people who experienced those things with you.

Sometimes I can be private to a fault. I don't like to put my life on display. We pretty much keep to ourselves. I'm real, and I'm honest, and I'm not trying to hide anything, but I also don't feel like everyone needs to know everything I'm doing.

We have lost the art of privacy with this social media world. Also, are people stupid? I don't think your boss would appreciate that you went partying last night at a bar in Atlanta with this person and that person, took a drunk photo of yourself, and then called in "sick" the next morning. And I don't think your Grandma would appreciate the picture of that girl you're "in a relationship with" wearing a bikini while she washes your car. Just put your life on display when you post things like that. And if you are a Christ follower, you need to be even more aware of how people perceive your postings. I'm not saying you can sin as long as no one is watching....I'm saying what you may think is normal and ok, someone else may not, and you could cause someone to fall and stumble. Which is not ok.

Also, have you ever read Facebook's privacy policy? It's not stellar. They are allowed to use your information however they want. While this was one of the lesser reasons, it still bothered me and I realized I didn't want endless pictures of my kids floating around the interwebs being seen by who knows who. And did you know that if you have location services on, people can use satellite to pin point your exact location? So you take a picture of your cute baby in their crib, someone can use satellite to zoom into your street, your house, and then your child's bedroom. I'm not much for the paranoia, but that even creeped me out. So, at the very least, turn off location services.

Reason #9: I Have Been Hurt in the Past. This was not much of a contributing factor when it came to my deletion, but I feel like it needs to be said. There was a time when I was in a very dark place and struggling with very real things. When I went through my miscarriages, it seemed like everyone in the universe was posting ultrasound pictures and pregnancy announcements except for me. While it wasn't those people's fault that they were pregnant and I had just lost my baby, it was still hurtful. It fed the bitterness and anger. And I don't ever want to be a source of someone's bitterness and anger. 

Reason #10: You Can Still Play Candy Crush Without a Facebook Account. And Draw Something, And Words With Friends. It's true. I wouldn't lie to you about something like this. (although these games probably aren't even cool anymore but I don't know because I'm not on Facebook)

Not everyone who carries a Facebook account is guilty of these things. I know plenty of people who are on Facebook and handle their postings gracefully and tactfully. And there are others who just have the account so they can stalk. Whatever. To each his own. My husband has a Facebook account.....and we're still married. He agrees with everything I've written here and knows that I am not accusing him of any of the above. I'm merely stating what bothered me and pushed me over the edge.

I am not without fault here. I'm the most guilty party there is.

A few caveats:
 - I'm on Instagram. It's kind of like an alcoholic drinking non-alcoholic beer. It gives you a little taste but is much safer and much more low key. I'm very selective on who I allow to follow me on Instagram so there isn't this bombardment of likes or comments and there also isn't a need to please or impress anyone. Most of the people who follow me I talk to or see in person on a weekly basis.

- I felt this way for a long time before I finally deleted my account. First I just took the app off my phone so that I would literally have to log into my account on my computer in order to view it. Once I did that, I realized how little I got on Facebook and that I just didn't need it in my life anymore. 

- There are some negative aspects... I have lost touch with some people because of my decision. That was a choice I made and one I am ok with. I know that I could pick those relationships right back up if the opportunity arose. Also, I have noticed since I have been off that there are certain companies and websites you cannot access without a Facebook account. Nothing life altering, but sometimes annoying.

- I may not be off Facebook forever. Right now, I'm undecided. Actually, I've decided I'm staying off for an undecided amount of time. At this time in my life, I don't need it and I don't want it. 

- Just because I'm not on Facebook does not mean I am not guilty of the "let me check my phone for the 100th time today in case I am missing something vital" syndrome, because I TOTALLY am. But by taking Facebook off, it gives me one less opportunity to check my phone.

- I haven't been on Facebook in over a year so maybe it has changed and everything I just said is inaccurate. I apologize if this is so.

Now what do you do with this information?

1. Nothing. Read it, ponder it, and go on about your day. That's fine with me. I like to talk and I like to write. Thank you for taking the time to read my wordiness!

2. Something. Maybe some of this hit home to you and you want to do something about it. I have a friend who takes a social media fast for a week every year. I think this is brilliant. Maybe you should take a fast from Facebook. Or Twitter, or Pinterest, or whatever is causing you to be distracted from real life. A week, a month....

Maybe you won't take a fast, and maybe you won't delete your account. I hope though, that you will be more aware of what you post and say on Facebook. That you will strive to be fully present in your actual life, not your life on social media. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

The next time you find yourself out of taco seasoning, don't bother buying those packets! This homemade version is super easy, cheap, and best of all no chemicals, MSG, or yucky stuff. 

Yucky stuff is the term I use for things in my food that I can't pronounce. 

Use this homemade version anytime you would use the packets. I use about 2 Tablespoons of the seasoning per pound of meat, but I tend to use more than that in soups and chilis.

Taco Seasoning

4 Tablespoons Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons Cumin
2 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder

- if you double this recipe then it fits perfectly in a little jelly jar
- use 2 tablespoons of mix per one pound of meat
- use in my Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili Recipe, or anytime you want something to have a mexican spice!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Last year I had an early Valentine's photo shoot with the girls, sent out Valentine's cards, blogged about doing crafts and treats, and made little Valentine's goodies for our friends.

This year I made cookies out of a box, grabbed the nearest pink clothes I could find and told the girls to smile pretty...about 5 minutes before naptime.

Maybe next year I will step up my game.

So thankful for my Original Valentine, my fabulous husband, and for my Little Valentines, my precious daughters.

Enjoy spending the day with those you love!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Days

I can't believe it. We actually got snow in Georgia. Of course some of the stories from people who were stranded are horrible, but we were fortunate enough to enjoy the snow from our own yard and come inside our warm home when we needed to warm up. I'm so thankful we were home that day, and that Mark made it home safely from work. I think he left just in time because about an hour after he left is when the madness started.

The girls and I were sitting at the kitchen table when the first snow flurries began to fall. Thinking this was the most we would get, we ran outside, obviously a little prematurely, and enjoyed the "snow".

Little did we know, a little over an hour later our yard would look like this! This is about the time Mark got home and he wasted no time getting changed and taking the girls out to enjoy the snow.

Heidi was in Heaven. She was actually bred/born in Iowa, so she feels right at home in the snow and loves running around in it.

The girls had a blast too. Lucy has been saying all winter that she wants to play in the snow and she finally got her chance.

Throwing snowballs at each other. This shot is right before Lucy's snowball landed inside Annie's jacket and went down her shirt. She loved that obviously.

Mark is trying to hit our neighbors with a snowball.

We didn't have a sled, but our back yard is perfect for sledding. We literally tried every possible thing we could think of to sled on. Plastic pool floats, inflatable pool floats, an actual pool, rubbermaid containers/tops, and even a baby tub.

The winner turned out to be this little pool float. It has a string on it so you can hold on, and it proved to be the fastest sled. They went down our hill over and over on it.

All of our pools and floats are now popped or broken, so I'll have to buy new ones for this summer when we will use the floats for their actual intended purpose. It was worth it though.

Meanwhile, Annie has a problem. Can't. Stop. Eating. Snow.

Literally off of every surface she could find, she was eating the snow. I mean, it all tastes the same, so I'm not sure what the appeal was. But most of her time was spent eating/licking snow, with the occasional ride on a sled.

Stella and I mostly stayed in the warm house, as I am not a winter/cold/snow person. I prefer temperatures above 50 degrees please. Plus Stella didn't really have any gear warm enough for a romp in the snow. But we did have to get her out and let her experience it some, so here's proof that Stella saw her first snow. She was thrilled.

Using sand buckets and shovels for the snow. Are you sensing a theme here? Summer/Pool equipment for the snow. We are warm weather people.

Annie made a snow angel and then couldn't get up.

We went on a walk to check out the neighborhood and see how the roads were. It was pretty slick and icy. Heidi loved exploring, and Annie loved finding new surfaces off of which to eat snow.

Then Stella and mama came inside because we were getting too cold. Stella wanted to play in the back yard with her sisters. (though she whined almost the entire time she was outside)

Watching them sled

The aftermath = fun clean up for mom

While they played outside, I stayed by the warm stove and made hot chocolate for the troops.

I think coming inside and warming up and drinking hot chocolate was their favorite part.

It was a fun few snow days, but I think I've had my fill for another few years. The girls asked me the other day when they can start wearing their flip flops. We are ready for spring!