Unfriending The Jones’s

26 comments
Weekend of fun! Photo: K. Stevenson
Weekend of fun!
Photo: K. Stevenson

“Pause the TV.” Ok. “You really made it a nice weekend for Zoey. She really had fun.”  This was the conversation on Sunday night between my husband and me. I was exhausted from the full, fun days we had just had and I truly appreciated the compliment. (It was definitely pause the TV-worthy, and we were watching Game of Thrones!)  I just couldn’t shake the feelings of inadequacy I was having. I felt like what we did wasn’t creative enough or enriching enough. I was being really harsh on myself.

I’ve been feeling this way ever since my daughter’s birthday. I admittedly went over the top with the theme and the favors and the planning. I secretly loved that the other parents were impressed with what we did at the party. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures up on Facebook. I was insane and exhausted when all was said and done. Damn skippy, I was proud of myself.  There may have been a little voice in the back of my head whispering “So what? Who are you trying to impress?”

Then on Sunday, the thought occurred to me that I’m one of those people who have turned Facebook into a competition. At least in my head. I have heard all about the reports that say Facebook makes us feel bad about ourselves, but I was the first to poo-poo them and say “Not me!” Now I’m not so sure. It’s possible I’m putting too much pressure on myself to be a super mom by creating this memorable childhood for my daughter.

I look at all the things other people are doing and wonder, how on earth do they get all that done? I’ve started to think that some people are doing all this stuff over a period of weeks, taking pictures of it and then saving it all to post in one day so it looks like they’re a super family. “Look at us! Look what we did today!” Between the fundraisers, the soccer and T-ball games, the family celebrations and topping it off with Girl’s Night Out, when do these people have time to sleep? And it’s not just weekends. The madness happens on weeknights too.

Maybe I feel like I work so much and I feel like I need to maximize that “quality time.” Let’s face it, I get home with just enough time to throw dinner on the table TV tray and start the bedtime routine. There’s hardly time to get my girl in the shower every night, let alone go for a nature walk or ride bikes. There’s not a lot of variety to our weeknights. Maybe I feel bad because I don’t have any real hobbies of my own to share with her so I don’t always know what to do with her. Running errands on Saturdays and going to the library get old really quickly for a six-year old. Maybe I feel guilty because she’s an only child so I feel like it’s my responsibility to never let her feel lonely or bored. It’s because of my choices that she doesn’t have any siblings to keep her occupied, so I feel like I have to make it up to her.

Whatever the reason, the comparison has to stop. I read this article about not being responsible for making my child’s childhood magical.  It made so much sense to me.  The magic is already there.  It’s impossible to keep up with the Jones’s, especially if the Jones’s are on Facebook.  I need to stop driving myself crazy and put this track on repeat: I’m a good mom.  I just need a little unplugging and a little more life.  Here’s what real life is, right now: My child is very happy. She laughs, she plays, she sings songs she makes up and strums along with on her “buitar.” She’s interested in the world around her; she becoming a master of the knock-knock joke–she’s just awesome.   And me? I’m doing the best that I can.  She’s going to be just fine because of it.

real life

26 comments on “Unfriending The Jones’s”

  1. great post, Kriste. I swear the Dinner, Bath, Bed routine rules our weeknights! there’s only like 2 full hours to get all of that in there, forget about extra fun stuff. I like to think that is what our weekends are for- total kid cram time, right? But, yes, FB has gotten a little overwhelming, and now with summer coming, it’s gonna get a little insane. last summer i made a point to not log in on the weekends. it was actually really really liberating!

    1. Thanks Stacy! I’m really glad you can relate. It’s funny, I feel like I should totally stop looking on FB but I just can’t quit it. LOL. I just have to stop comparing myself and competing and relax. Look out world, here comes a summer of us just doing regular stuff! Here’s to cookouts, fireflies and fireworks. Sand castles, kiddie pools and popsicles on the porch. I’m sticking with the basics and hoping for the best. Yay!

  2. Loved reading this!! I recently “unplugged” from Facebook and Instagram about 2 weeks ago. I”ve noticed SUCH a change in really getting to ‘live in the moment.’ We brought our 19-month old to the beach for the first time last weekend. We were really bummed that we forgot the camera. At first. But as she played and looked at us with HUGE eyes of excitement as waves tickled her unsteady feet, getting used to the sand moving beneath her….I realized how NICE it was to not have to worry about dropping the camera or getting a good shot or having to upload them, share and answer questions, etc etc. I really got to enjoy our day. Like you, I get very few hours with her, they always feel rushed so I struggle to “make the most” all the time. Thanks for sharing your story!!

    1. Raquel-good for you! I’m trying to unplug too. I know it’s the right thing to do and what a difference it will make. So good to hear a first-hand account. I made a conscious effort to put my camera down for my daughter’s kindergarten celebration yesterday and just soak it in. I was so happy to see her happy. it was such a relief to be “in the moment” and enjoy her. And she was able to see my face too, instead of the front of a camera. (Of course because I have a horrible memory, I’m really afraid I won’t have those freeze frames in my mind forever. Thankfully other parents recorded the show!)
      I’m glad this post resonated with you.

  3. This was well timed. I have the opportunity to stay home this summer (a first) and I am making lists of ALL.THE.FUN. This is a good reminder to keep it simple. Further when I asked my girls what they wanted to do all they said was go to the park and the beach and do science-y stuff.

    1. Glad you liked it Melissa. Kids are really good at reminding us what matters. They really can have fun doing anything. You will have some great memories this summer! Sounds like fun to me. (PS so jealous you’re able to be home this summer! Yay you!)

  4. I love it, I love it, I love all of it! And I can totally relate. Great post. If it makes you feel any better, sometimes I click on my FB page and in my head pretend I’m another person just to imagine how other people view me. Like, who cares what “story” my page says about me? It’s such a creepy thing to do to myself. And I have that same single child guilt, if that’s what it is. But if I didn’t feel guilty about that, it would be something else, I’m sure. And it is other stuff. I worry about so much as a mom. And I’m constantly running around like crazy so that we are always doing stuff. Some of our best times are when we’re just hanging out over breakfast making up ridiculous songs though!

    1. You’re really twisted Tara. That’s what I love about you. And yes, if it wasn’t this, I’m sure I’d be worrying about something else too. I guess the solution isn’t really to stop all the running around because who can live without a million trips to Target, but more about stopping to smell the roses on those ridiculous, song-singing times. Mental pictures.

  5. Nice post Kriste -well said.. we just finished out our son’s 5th birthday party and can relate to the pressure to put on a ‘perfect show’. Such a small world – as somebody shared your recent photo series on FB and I recognized you from UCONN! We lived in the same dorm our freshman year 🙂

    1. Thanks Joanna! I totally remember you! I was just looking at some freshman year pics not too long ago and wondering what you were up to. Glad you can relate to the post. Stay tuned, I’m sure there’ll be more!

  6. This was great, and came at a perfect time for me, the start of summer. Sometimes I feel that as a stay at home mom, I should have all the time in the world for “perfect Pinterest worthy mommying.” But I do have a happy, healthy, adventurous daughter who knows I love her, and that’s enough. Thanks for another amazing essay Kriste, hugs to you as sweet Zoey.

    1. Thanks Julie! That’s what I need to be grateful for Facebook for: keeping track of how amazing your daughter is from miles away! Love it.

  7. This was awesome. When you feel inadequate, remember this – our parents did what they did when expectations were much simpler, and yet we (you!) still turned out awesome. Screw the Joneses!!!

    I am looking forward to reading that article.

    1. Thanks Anika! I want to be so much better so I put a lot of the pressure on myself. And that’s hard enough. I’m trying to look inward at what’s making my family happy and making it work rather than checking to see what works for other families. Hopefully it helps.

  8. Oh I love everything about this. It really resonated with me. When I get a chance I’m going to read that article you link to. Thanks!

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