Mother’s Little Helper


I’m starting to feel about Facebook the way I used to feel about wine. That it’s a pseudo-relaxing/rewarding habit I wish I could quit but am afraid to because I’m not sure what I’d replace it with. It even comes with hangovers–like when you’ve been mindlessly scrolling for 10 minutes and realize you’ve seen the same posts 5 times already today, and you finally look up to discover that your vision has become blurry and you feel kind of queasy. Oh, and regrets! Like when you decide to go on a mad “unfollow” spree because certain people won’t stop posting triggering links, and then its a month later and you wonder why the only things in your feed are updates from PBS and your local weather person. 

The good news is, I gathered up the courage to quit the wine 18 months ago (more on that here), and I realize I never should have been afraid. Life has expanded in wonderful ways, and I don’t miss my nightly fermented deluge one bit. The bad news is, Facebook, unlike wine, is not a habit relegated to the evening hours once my precious wee ones are asleep. It’s ALWAYS there. Singing to me from my smart phone as I take a minute between making breakfasts and packing lunches to slurp some coffee; peering at me as I pretend to pee so that I don’t have to fetch yet another snack for my son; helping me drown out the noise of a packed indoor playground on a cold, rainy winter day (don’t worry, I’m actually a hyper-vigilant mom).

But WHY do I feel like I need it so much? To feel connected, informed, stimulated, distracted? Yes, to all of those things. I’m a SAHM, and apart from about 2 hours three afternoons a week when my son is in preschool, I never have a second to actually sit down and focus on anything. Well, anything other than my kids, who really are delightful. But I’m not much of a “let’s make a craft together!” mom, more of an “okay, we can go somewhere for you to play and burn off some energy, but while we’re there I’m going to secretly be very bored” kind of mom. And that’s where Facebook lures me in. It’s so portable! And, unlike a book, so easy to look up from frequently without losing my place because it’s all just so freaking unimportant. Okay, that’s a bit harsh. There are occasionally some very important, heartfelt posts from friends about major events in their lives, and I’m very happy to be able to read those things. 

I know the answer is obvious. Put the phone down, just like I did the wine glass. Be mindful. Sit and actually watch a few episodes of “Monster Math Squad” with my son, listening while he tells me about all the hilarious parts and which monster is the silliest. Soak in the chaos of that indoor playground, or better yet, invite a friend to come marinate in it with me. Lug my heavy hardback library novel around town and try not to dog-ear the pages when I lose the receipt I’ve been using as a bookmark. 

These are all the things I promise to try to do tomorrow. And yet….

I clearly remember the moms of a generation ago blasting the news, soap operas, etc., from the mini television sets on their kitchen counters. And if “Mad Men” and books about social history are to be believed, the generation prior to that one frittered away its days under a haze of cigarette smoke, martinis and Valium. I’m sure even the Victorian moms had something up their billowy sleeves besides needlepoint. Opium? Hmm, maybe all of these PBS links in my newsfeed can help me answer that question….

Distraction. It’s always been mother’s little helper. 🙂

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Erin grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and prior to her arrival in Columbus ten years ago, had seen snow only once in her life (when she was five years old). Due to this early lack-of-snow trauma, she has become a compulsive coat and jacket hoarder. Or maybe she's just a real Midwesterner now. Erin has a career past in PR, Marketing and Communications and is currently a stay-at-home mom to a Kindergartner girl and preschooler boy. She has dreams of freelancing now that both kids are out of diapers. She also has dreams of buying a sheep farm in Nova Scotia, but the former is much more likely. Erin's husband is from Derbyshire in England. He has never read Pride and Prejudice, but possibly saw one of the movie versions in school. Erin and her family enjoy not taking long road trips (Driving to Florida? Really?!), entertaining friends at home, and ordering everything through Amazon Prime. As an individual, Erin enjoys walking, listening to WCBE but never pledging (actually she did pledge once and knows she should do it again and promises she will next year), and spending too much time on Facebook. She and her family live in Westerville. You can contact her at [email protected].