I’m just going to admit it. I am not a Facebook addict. I don’t go online several times a day to see what everyone else is doing that is more interesting than my own life. I use Facebook to message people and to keep up with a couple of groups that help make homeschooling easier. That’s it. I know I’m in the in the minority because people often reference things they’ve posted as if I should already know this information. Even with that unsettling feeling that I am missing things, I do not go on Facebook to check the almighty status updates.
It’s not that I am against Facebook. I just can’t focus on being myself when I’m bombarded by everyone else’s “Selves”. Of course, I know these aren’t realistic images of what their lives are really like, but I can’t help judging my life against their perfect family shots, their amazing home projects, their seemingly endless energy for and love of life. I feel and experience all of those things at some times, but not all the time, and Facebook wants me to believe (and often convinces me) that most people’s lives are continuous streams of joy and fulfillment.
I am sure that a large part of my problem dealing with Facebook is that I struggle with Anxiety and am recovering from Depression. Those with Anxiety disorders often have perfectionist tendencies and hold themselves and others to impossible standards. So, it’s not just Facebook telling me these things. It’s me telling myself that everyone else has it easier, that everyone else’s kids get along more often, that homeschooling for everyone else looks like those idyllic images I am hoping to see in my home. Facebook just “confirms” all of these things I already “know” about how my life compares to others.
Things like…Others have it figured out. Others’ kids are happier. Others have less frustration. Others lives are easier, and I just need to work harder, meditate more, worry less, and do it all better– like everyone else is already doing.
At least this is what my mind wants to do automatically, but I am trying to stop all of that. Those perfectionist tendencies, combined with “All or Nothing Thinking” are getting me into trouble. I am not appreciating the life I have, that most outsiders would agree is awesome- something I have to squint to see clearly.
So, I’m going to continue to avoid Facebook, but I’m also going to start looking at my life through a more realistic lens. A see-through life is what I will be presenting from now on in this space. If you want to know what life is really like for someone homeschooling two young kids, dealing with anxiety and depression, and still finding a way to fit in yoga and knitting, you will not be disappointed with my future posts.
I have to admit, though… I’m not doing this for you. 🙂 I’m doing this for me. I need to create a concrete record of what life really is; I will write the enviable and the pitiable with equal importance. I will work through, on these pages, how I am trying to change my thinking. I am doing this for me, so that I can read back through the good days on the tough days and see what normal life really looks like.
So, here’s today!
I started the morning with arguments with my 8 year old about whether or not he could play Zelda before lessons. I am so sick of video game discussions taking over my free time and causing battles between us. I wondered how school would go, once we had this “discussion”, which involved only minor voice-raising from both of us.
Thankfully, he eventually stopped boycotting breakfast and got ready for the day of lessons I had planned. We had a smooth morning with everyone cooperating, which seems rare but maybe isn’t! Our morning walk ended with my 4 year old insisting that we walk twice as long and crying all the way home and then for another 15 minutes because I said we couldn’t. On top of that, the 8 year old fell off his bike and I had to push it most of the way home, which I tried to do cheerfully. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have taken everyone for a long walk right at noon in the hot 80 degree weather instead of feeding them lunch on time. Surprisingly, the 8 year old was still able to concentrate on History and Math when we came back (sort of– we have to talk more about what he was supposed to read independently about World Religions. When I asked him to summarize, he said this guy named Islam had all of his friends converted to his religion… We will be repeating that lesson tomorrow.) He did great with Math, even stretching his brain around negative numbers and trying to do equations that were more difficult than necessary.
After lunch, the kids always do what we call “creative time,” which is just time on their own in their rooms, doing whatever they want (literally– I don’t care if they are jumping on the beds, as long as they leave me alone for an hour). Usually, the 4 year old plays with toys I rotate from the attic and the 8 year old reads his mountain of books from the library. Today, I did something I don’t usually do during my creative time– I cleaned. I am strongly opposed to spending my independent time this way, but today I felt it was ok for two reasons:
1. A babysitter is currently at my house with my kids for two hours, giving me time to myself.
2. Tomorrow, the French class for babies and toddlers that I teach, that pays for the babysitter, is taking place in the afternoon, and I really didn’t think the moms would appreciate the mountains of dog hair that seem to take over our common spaces every few days.
So, here I am, time to myself to think about my life, and I have to say it looks pretty good on paper. Sure, there were tough times in the day, but when I look back at what I just wrote I can see that it is just normal people living with normal emotions in their normal life. Stay tuned for tomorrow– you never know what a new day will bring!