Sunday, January 26, 2014

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook... I didn't block you. I didn't get my panties all in a wad because you posted something political/controversial and push that little "delete" button.

I took some time off of Facebook.
It's not about you.
It was TOTALLY about me.

I needed to do some soul-searching.

I was in a giant funk. Like really big. Like if you took the grouchiness over driving 26 miles to the nearest Kroger with a Starbucks to do your grocery shopping just so you could have your iced coffee made by someone other than your own self only to discover the aforementioned Starbucks was closed for a maintenance check up and COMBINED that with having ANOTHER dead chicken because, clearly, your number one thing on your nightly reminder list (above "did you brush your teeth?" and "did you go to the bathroom" and "you better not be wearing your pajamas over your dirty clothes") is "did you remember to close the chicken coop?" * Yeah. I was in a funk.
 *world's longest barely-coherent sentence. I'm not fixing it. See what a rebel I've become on my Facebook break??

So what drove me over the edge?
Well, I feel like I'm a pretty "real" person.
I suddenly felt like a "real" person drowning in a sea of over-achieving, party-planning, fun-having, happy-go-lucky, sunshine-and-roses, pooping-out-sprinkle-dipped-rainbow-colored-unicorns, life-is-grand, Mother-of-the year types.

Several of you out there have got this rose-colored-glasses thing DOWN!
I mean, (in an effort to not offend my Facebook friends, names have been left off to protect the perpetually sunshiney) here is a sampling of what I was reading:
(Artistic liberty taken, sarcastic flair added...)
"OHMYGOSH! I could just explode I'm just so in LOOOOOVE with my kid's morning breath! I mean, I'm just so BLESSED! He literally smells like a spring meadow covered in dew! #fabulouslife"

"My kids are such athletic geniuses!! All they do is WIN WIN WIN! #theygetitfromme #mygeneticpoolisbubblingwithlivingwater "

"I just love homeschooling! Every day is such a fabulous encounter with knowledge and learning and fabulousness! I just LOVE glitter all over the house! Playdoh is FABULOUS! Look at these paper mache'  busts we made of the founding fathers today in History of every single minute detail of the American Revolution class! Aren't they FABULOUS!? Oh my gosh! This one looks EXACTLY like John Adams! #homeschoolROCKS #INEVERwanttosendmykidstoboardingschool #yousuck #Iwin "

"I'm just so excited for our gigantic, super expensive, you-and-your-giant-family-will-never-afford-this trip to DisneyVille with our 2 perfect, spoiled children! We only get to go once a quarter, so this is SUCH a treat!! I've hand-sewn these matching pima cotton jumpers in matching micro-Mickey-head swiss dot fabric that I purchased from a fair-trade, free-range, organic leprosy colony in Mozambique! Aren't they PRECIOUS! #notonlyarewegoingtoDisneybutIdoitbetterthanyouevercould"

I think you catch my drift.

People, I was in a funk of comparison. 
"She's a better mom than me. She's NEVER annoyed at her kids. They will arise and call her blessed WAY before she's on her death bed for SURE."

"She puts her kids in SO many activities! They're going to be so well-rounded. I can barely make sure my kids are wearing clean-ish clothes every day, much less make it to all those practices, games and coaching sessions! I must be a horrible time-manager."

"She is like the president and CEO of homeschooling. If there was a Nobel prize for this, they'd definitely win. I would not get an invite to be a seat-filler at the Homeschooling Nobel Prize awards show. I'm just glad when we get through the day without someone crying because I told them they reversed their b and d again! What's with the homemade crafty stuff?! Don't these women sleep? Where do they come up with these ideas?? My kids should begin focusing on greeting people with a smile and saying 'would you like to super size that?' because that's about where we are headed if this is the standard."

"My poor kids. They have so much less than their peers. We've never taken a family vacation that wasn't to visit relatives and we will likely NEVER get to Disney. The tickets alone are ridiculous, not to mention the FOOD these people put away! Are they storing it in their hollow leg in anticipation of the Zombie Apocalypse?? Who eats 5 chicken legs at dinner?  I don't know if they'd have agreed to large-family-life if they'd known what all they'd miss out on."

So, in a fit of "I'm tired of feeling like a failure AND tired of thinking everyone has their crap together other than me" rage, I deleted the FB app from my phone, then logged in from my computer and deleted my account. I didn't make any big to-do about it, just Poof. Gone. I went radio-silent. I have a separate account for my business (anyone who tried to add me there, I just don't use that page for anything which is why I haven't looked at my friend requests.)

And here's what I learned.
Facebook isn't about being REAL.
It's about FACE value. It's about writing the fairytale BOOK about your life. The parts of the book you WANT people to see. It's not about being REAL in any way, shape or form. AND I'm able to get through the day without knowing what you put in your green smoothie or how much you looooove your new cockapootreiver, LoveBug.

And so, I was talking with a friend a week or so ago and explaining my epiphany when she said
"YOU are that person to me. YOU are the one I can't measure up to. YOU are the one I feel like I want to BE when I grow up."
Uhmmmm... what?
Suddenly it became very weird for me. The very thing I was avoiding, I had become.
Was I giving people a false-view of my life? Was I portraying that everything here at Drama Llama Ranch is sunshine and sprinkles? What on earth...??

So... after giving it some thought, I realized that Facebook is basically hallway talk. It's passing by someone in the hall after church. You're focused on getting your kids out of their classes and getting everyone loaded into the van and hopefully not forgetting anyone and figuring out what you can feed everyone for lunch because FOR THE LOVE it's been 3 whole hours since they've eaten anything and they might DIE... and you say "Hey! Long time no see! How is everyone?" and she replies "GREAT!! The kids and I are loving homeschooling, my husband is able to be home 6 days a week now and we just bought a kiwi berry farm out on 500 acres just outside of town with a barn so we can get a dairy cow! How are YOU??"

For a moment you stand there and consider dipping it all in donut glaze and rolling it in happiness, but instead...

"Well, my husband is out of town for the next 10 days, my kids have eaten cereal for 3 of the past 4 meals, I've been plagued by migraines for which I'm blaming the Polar Vortex, I feel like I stink at homeschooling since the majority of my children can't read yet and one of the ones I've had since birth asked me this week if he doubled 1/4 if it was a cup or half a cup, I'm 37 with 12 kids and for some reason I STILL want a baby and I know it will never happen but I can't let it go and it causes me great struggle in my spiritual life, I wish I made more money to do things like vacations and building a barn and a fence so we could have a dairy cow and maybe raise some for beef, too...but... YEAH we are all just FABULOUS!

What if we stepped out of the hallway every so often and shut the door into a quiet place with our friend and said "but how are you REALLY doing?"

What IF we all realized that we ALL have good days and bad days, but most days land somewhere in between?

What if we started to live life OFFline more than ONline?

What if we suddenly were able to see THROUGH the fog of happy-shroud and see the real life moments behind the madness? What if we read those super over-the-top braggy posts and instead saw the bedraggled mom who really just needs a moment to breathe, pray, have a bite of something yummy and carry on with her day? Maybe she's just a name-it-and-claim-it Facebooker. Faking it until she makes it. It's all good, Rainbow Brite! We feel ya!

If I've ever given you the impression that I have all my junk together, please let this post destroy that notion.

If I've ever made you feel inferior in any way by talking about something in my life, please know that there are 800 other things I feel like I fail at EVERY SINGLE DAY behind that one success.

And to the mommas out there dragging themselves to the coffee pot each day and begging it to percolate faster so that you can MAYBE finish that one cup of joe before the kids are all clamoring for breakfast and fighting for the "best" seat at the table... I'm right there with ya.

For the mommas who feel like they're failing at raising their children, failing at schooling them at home or failing while sending them off to school...you are NOT alone.

For the mommas of a bajillionty kids like me who struggle with balancing the feelings we ALL have about what we can and can't provide...repeat my mantra after me "no one ever died from not going to disney." Our kids are growing up with the added benefit of living in a large family. Employers will know they can work well with others, they can be a team-player, and they will take few sick days because they've already been exposed to everything under the sun.

And with that... I feel healthy enough to come visit you in Facebook land again.

Until you start with that everyday-is-a-fancy-schmancy-holiday-at-our-home crap again.
That's the day I block your sunshiney self in the name of my own mental health.

14 comments:

  1. Honestly, I am laughing at the hallway talk comment. If I am not mistaken, I think you and I have always done that rush job, but we stop and say "I am exhausted and tired of the crap. How has your month been?" (insert where I hope it has been good but then I hope it has been somewhat similar so I can feel normal). I have often left thinking that I wasn't very encouraging at times, but let me say that knowing your heart and spiritual depth, I understand and appreciated the truth. The key is to get to know the heart of friends so you can be real. Facebook just doesn't allow for that. If you are real, you are perceived to be whining or ungrateful. People will then call counselors to check on you. Let me say this....most of us know when we are in a funk and admit we need to get out of it. The lessons come when we work ourselves out of that funk doing the good we know to do. Sometimes we just need to spew honesty and embrace the process. Proud of you decision AND honesty. Love you friend.

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  2. YOu know why I haven't posted much lately? Because I didn't have anything nice to say. And you know what they say, if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. I'm pretty sure people don't want to hear me moping and groaning every 5 minutes, even though that's what I've been doing every day for the past 3 1/2 weeks.

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  3. A. Men. I was ready to quit facebook forever and ever after a handful of friends posted their kids report cards while my struggling ADHD learner couldn't remember the number 12. Then I took a deep breath and put on my big girl panties and remembered none of their lives are perfect. The problem with social media is we compare everyone else's best day to our most average.

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  4. I don't know you, but I'm pretty sure we're sisters. Or something.

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  5. love!- I for one, often was both envious and scared of your life :) The amazing opportunity of having so many kids and yet the super scary responsibilities and financial stress of having so many kids...and home schooling and getting to have your own business. It made my head hurt yet at the same time made me feel like 'hey that would be awesome...wait that would be freakishly scary...but homeschooling can be great...but wait my kids hate me even helping them with their homework" I freak out with mommy/family envy on FB and such as well...and i hate trying to compare my life to others, but it happens.

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  6. I've missed you here. I don't think I follow you on facebook. I've not struggled with the everyone is more perfect than me for a few years. I'm in a good place emotionally. What I'm struggling with is knowing I need more in person relationships but not having opportunities for them. So for now I work to nurture other real friend and family relationships online. It isn't ideal but especially living in a small town 75 miles from the big city, I guess it is the best I can do. I am looking forward to spring though. For some reason I feel like there will be more opportunities to get to know people. I think my favorite part of this post though is hearing that you still struggle wanting a baby even with 12 kids. I'm 30, had a hyst at 24 and have two wonderful boys. I have been blessed to foster 6 other children. We are an open foster home BUT are only able to accept babies because of our boys needs/struggles. It has been 3 months since our last placement left and I am struggling knowing that Father wants me to be open. I LOVE black and white. Passionately. He is stretching me and encouraging me to embrace limbo and thrive in it. I am trying. So for now, I'm trying to find things to learn, working to survive a cold winter, in a new town, in a smaller house and find opportunities to serve and make friends. Here is to embracing the lives we have and the peace He so freely gives.

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  7. Yes. Yes. Yes. Preach. I call it fake booking..... I have to admit to being envious of your life, at times. I love the house you moved to and would love to have property for our tribe to roam.... and homeschooling is just plain hard. I gave up with two of mine and put them in school. Still hs three and want cry mercy and send them all to school at least once a day..... thanks for being real. :-)

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  8. This.is.awesome! You are absolutely hilarious. And I can so relate to your post! Thank you for keeping it real. And thank you for giving me a good laugh out loud nodding my head the whole time post to read today. :)

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  9. Made me laugh. Made me "Amen". Made me feel better about life and the ways I fail each day. You nailed it. Comparison is such a tool of the enemy and I fall for it all. the. time.

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  10. This is a great post. I think that many women feel this way but are trapped in the thinking that they have to keep up with the Pinterest world. Thanks for the reminder that we should not compare.

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  11. terrific blog!! I am a fellow mom with 15 children both adopted and biological. I will be back to read more!!

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  12. Maybe u should think about writing a book.. your writing is very real.. I love it

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