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Sunday, January 25, 2015

What I Learned in Facebook Jail

Yes, it's a real thing, Facebook Jail. Facebook doesn't call it that, but that is what it is. Their little computers run their little algorithms, and when you violate some unknown part of the hundreds of pages of the user agreement you mindlessly agree to when you set up your account, you get blocked from using Facebook in all it's glory.

For me, it was groups. I was blocked from posting and commenting in all groups. For two weeks! I have no idea why.

There are two main reasons I use Facebook groups - business and support. I participate in groups related to Origami Owl that include a secret group run by my upline mentor and a VIP group for my customers. There are others as well for networking like my favorite bizzy mamas group, which help build business relationships. I also have my support groups for the boy like a Chromosome 6 support group, and for just being a mom in groups like the Main Line Parent Community. So, being banned from participating in these groups was a bit of a blow.

It's sad but true that 80% of my social life occurs on Facebook. As a SAHM of three that runs an at-home business, Facebook is my connection to friends and colleagues. Instead of sharing a cup of coffee in the break room, I drink it while chatting with my friends on Facebook. Being banned from my groups felt like being in sixth grade all over again -- standing in the corner watching the other girls laugh while I was cast aside. It sucked.

But, like everything in life, it was a learning experience. Here are a few of my key takeaways:

I actually do have real, live friends.

Sometimes it might seem like all my friends are online, but those online relationships have formed real friendships. During my time off of Facebook groups, I went to a networking breakfast and talked face-to-face with the bizzy mamas I usually only see online. I hosted a party at my house to support my friend Courtney with her H2O at Home business (which is awesome by the way!) and enjoyed a fun afternoon with friends from multiple circles in my life. I also had an amazing weekend away with my three best friends from college.

Sometimes a my opinion really doesn't matter.

So often I comment on a thread and contribute to a discussion just because it's there. I couldn't do that. And it made me think, would this comment really add to this discussion? In most cases, the answer was no, not really. In the case that it did, I found a private message to be an acceptable alternative - usually one that sparked a more personal discussion with the friend asking the question. Yes, sometimes everyone in the group benefits from the discussion, so taking that discussion private might not always be the best option, but now my bar for adding to a discussion will be would I send a PM about this? If the answer is no, I probably don't need to comment.

I spend way too much time on Facebook.

I have said that as my hours of sleep decrease my hours on Facebook increase. I'm more easily distracted when tired, and the link to the 50th blog post about being a tired mom is certainly going to be the one that solves all my problems! Even though I haven't posted about it in a while, I'm still concentrating on my theme of Simplify, Organize, Focus and Believe, and spending less time on Facebook definitely hits the first three. During the years shortly after we moved to Philadelphia, it was my lifeline, but now that I've made friends in the area (see above point) it's not as necessary as it used to be. Don't get me wrong. It's still a great way to keep in touch. But do I really need to spend hours on it each day? I don't think so. BUT, this is going to be a hard habit to break!

It's funny, I started writing this post and didn't get a chance to publish it before writing my final thoughts, so I saved it as a draft. The next day, I read What Facebook Means to Special Needs Families. Yep. All that and more. So I likely won't be breaking the Facebook habit anytime soon. But I will try to stay out of Facebook jail… (which would be much easier if they would tell me what I did!)

P.S. I actually have a Facebook page for this blog! It keeps my eight loyal readers riveted to their computers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Girls' Weekend

I'm getting ready for one of my favorite weekend of the year - my annual weekend with my girlfriends from college! We started getting together every MLK weekend in 2001 (or 2000 depending on who you ask and what you consider an "official" girls' weekend) and with one exception when two of us gave birth to a total of four children (note, I only pushed out one of those kids, so yes, my friend had triplets!) we haven't missed a year!

This weekend is nothing fancy. Most years we've met at someone's house, or a house belonging to someone in the family. A couple of years we returned to the scene of the crime in State College, PA and relived our glory days at PSU. This year we rented a house near a lake a small ski resort, which for us is kind of extravagant.

We laugh a lot, we cry always, we share memories of the past and talk about our futures. We admit things we don't admit anywhere else. We forgive. We contemplate how things turned out like they did, so much different than any of us expected as we walked across the stage with our diplomas in 1998, and we accept that even though we have changed, we're still the same.

I have lived in four cities since graduating from college, five if you count the brief stint I did back at my parents' house, and while I've found some wonderful friends in each of them, I'll never replace these girls. And I never want to.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Other Duties As Assigned

I wasn't going to write today. I was felling guilty because I just wrote in my last post about how I was going to go on a diet from negativity, and I feel like a big old ball of negative energy right now. But, I also said I was going to write as a way to explore and honor my feelings. Tonight that sentiment wins.

Tomorrow The Boy has an appointment with a specialist at Shriners regarding possible spinal surgery to correct his scoliosis. I made the appointment in December. I was supposed to track down medical records and previous MRIs and CT scans. I didn't. To top it off, I completely misplaced the packet of information they sent that I was supposed to complete. It's GONE. I looked everywhere I can think to look today, and can't find it anywhere. I feel like an idiot.

Often I'm praised as being a "Great Mom" and bequeathed platitudes about how God chose me, and how special I am, and what a blessing it is, and blah… blah… blah…

Guess what? I'm so NOT.

Right now I'm a sucky mom who lost the paperwork. I'm the mom who procrastinated on finding pertinent medical information. I'm the mom who is going to show up tomorrow in front of the world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, who also happens to be a neurosurgeon (so, you know, he's probably slightly intelligent) and say, "Whoops! I dropped the ball!"

Today is one of the days when I want to quit my job because it's not the job I applied for. I applied for the position of "Fun Awesome Mom" not the "Mom/Therapist/Care Coordinator/Insurance Expert/Medical Expert/Advocate/Etc" position. Where's the recruiter? Who do I talk to in HR about this?

Funny thing is though… I actually was a recruiter before I got this job of being a mom. And in every position that I advertised, the last line in the job description always said, "Other duties as assigned." Shit.

Maybe the other duties I got with The Boy weren't the ones I expected, and they are definitely duties that sometimes make me want to write the resignation letter to end all resignation letters. But I don't. I love him more than I hate my job, and love always wins.

So on that note, I better get some sleep. I've got a big day at work tomorrow.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


It's pretty typical this time of year to hear of people going on a diet. So many list "lose weight" as a New Year's Resolution. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't done it before.
I'm trying hard this year to NOT make it a resolution, but I know I need to make some changes. But they go beyond food. I've realized that lately that my diet not only consists of too much food, but of food that no longer nourishes me. I'm addicted to carbs and sugar. I'm addicted to the highs these foods bring, and in a weird way, the lows. I eat for many reasons - from comfort to boredom - but it's rare I eat for nourishment.
At the same time, I've realized there are a lot of things in my life I need to change. I have a problem with gluttony in many areas of my life. From excess spending to borderline hoarding, my waistline isn't the only thing that is larger than it should be. My credit card bills, to-do lists, and piles of stuff I need to address are all out of control.
I waste time as well. So often I find myself running around at the last minute before the kids get off the bus because I spent two hours on Facebook instead of tackling those projects, those piles, or that workout I've been saying I need to do.
It all links together.
I haven't been happy in a very long time. I'm missing something, and I still don't know what I'm missing, but I know that these things I'm trying to fill the spot with are NOT what I need. I don't need more food or more stuff. I don't need to feel more connected on Facebook. I need to focus my attention, and my IN-tention, to me. I need to be present. I need to change my thinking if I want to change myself and my life.
So I'm going on a diet. A diet from self-doubt. A diet from negativity. A diet from the things I tell myself I can't do. I'm going to nourish myself. Not just my body, but my mind, and my soul. I'm committing again, but instead of to an arbitrary idea of writing everyday (which didn't exactly go as planned) I'm committing to ME. I will write, but I will not force it. I'll write when it serves me as a creative outlet. As a way to explore what I'm feeling and honor it.
My diet starts starts today.