I have something to admit. It’s not anything awful or torrid. It simply is that I am addicted to Facebook. There, I said it.
This isn’t actually a major problem like other addictions, except that, at times throughout the day, when I should be paying my son attention, often I find myself logging on to my account.
I know it is not just Facebook that is my problem. It is the Internet in general. It is a portal into the outside world that seems desperately needed when you are home alone every day with a 3 year old. I don’t interact with adults on a daily basis, so grabbing some news, some gossip, interacting with friends and family on Facebook has sort of become my hanging out at the water cooler at work. It is where I exchange information and have a little social interaction.
Much has been said about Facebook, good and bad, but what I have realized recently, that even though it causes me sometimes to tell my son, “I’ll be there in a minute,” it has also allowed me to keep a running commentary about things he says and does.
Facebook can be good for lots of things, finding out about celebrity deaths, connecting with old high school friends, keeping tabs on old boyfriends, but I think it has served me best by allowing me to have a place to brag about my son and to write down things about him in a way I wouldn’t have done before. Before Facebook, I may have kept a journal, but there is something about the immediacy of a status update, that when I look back I am flooded by memories. I know the point of these updates is to update other people about ourselves, but it has really served as a great documenting tool for me and my family.
Facebook is a great mom tool.
I am lucky, I have a column to document my child and my parenting experiences, but not everyone does. Sometimes keeping up with all of our children’s milestones or adorable comments is hard to do. I know I have a big pile in the other room for that scrapbook I meant to put together. And even though I run writers groups for moms to encourage them to document what is going on with their children, if you asked me when my child sat up by himself or started to crawl, I’d have to consult videos of him because I never wrote it down.
Keeping a journal has always felt like something I should do, but writing a quick status update throughout the day is something I want to do.
And that is what is great about Facebook. If I just look back at a little period of time, like last spring for example, I am suddenly flooded with memories of those days with my son. This is what I find:
“Perhaps too much information, but Ben peed in the big boy potty today for the very first time!!!”
“Just flashed on Ben becoming a doctor someday while he was pretend taking my blood pressure and I felt very cliché Jewish mother because the thought of him becoming a doctor someday really thrilled me.”
“loves that her son in school yesterday offered up that on Old MacDonald’s Farm he had a … penis!”
But my utter favorites, the ones that fuel my addiction, the ones that I am hoping are being read by current and former friends, from camp to work, to random acquaintances are, “Putting my son to sleep he told me, ‘I love you Princess Leia.’” Or this one from when I put him to bed another night, “Putting my son to sleep he told me, ‘I love you. I need you. I want you.’ Then he grabbed my hand and said, ‘I am not letting you go.’”
I love when people click “like” or comment on one of these moments, glimpsing just a little into what goes on between us. When you are home alone all day together, magnificent things occur, but also, and often, regular and mundane stuff happens as well. So when those little wonderful nuggets occur, being able to pull out those moments that may be muddled and forgotten by memory, and save them in this online record is something to treasure. It allows me a great freedom to document more about my son than I think running to a journal would. And it doesn’t hurt that there is an audience for it.
So perhaps I tell my son to hold on just a second so I can quickly jot it down online a little too much, but when I look back on those putting him to bed Princess Leia moments, I am right there in his room in the dark, his zoo night light flickering from the dresser top, and I am holding his hand and experiencing the moment all over again and I don’t feel so bad.
Rachel Zients Schinderman lives in Santa Monica with her family. She can be reached at Rachel@mommiebrain.com or become a fan of Mommie Brain on Facebook.