Social media gets A LOT of negative press these days. Oh the irony of seeing an article ON social media telling us we should spend LESS time on social media. I am still outraged by a story a friend shared some months back; whilst strolling along texting her husband, as her baby slept in the buggy, a male driver pulled over. I might add her husband is away for months on end so an opportunity to talk to him doesn't go missed. The male driver stuck his head out of the car window and shouted obscenities at her, all alluding to women spending too much time on their phones. It outraged me then and still makes my blood boil today. It is true that some people really do spend too much time on their phones. We have all seen teenagers hanging out together, none of them speaking to each other, all of them staring down at their handsets. What's the point? But I think there are some instances where actually, it's OK.
We have had one of those bug filled winters, and we are not even at the end of it yet. The girls have gone from colds to tummy bugs to coughs to chicken pox and more tummy bugs. I am not sure how much more I can take. Up until yesterday I hadn't left the house for six days. My husband has had a crazy busy week and has barely been here, I have no family locally that I can turn to for a half hour or so, and I wouldn't ask it of a friend for risk of passing horrid bugs onto them too. So we have been in, all day, every day. We have played princesses, camping, den building, we have painted, baked, scootered. I have done A LOT of washing, and cooking and cleaning. If I am honest I was starting to wonder what other human beings looked like. Cue social media.
When I need some company, I Facebook. If I need cheering up, I Pinterest. If I need a friendly face I Instagram (and if I remember to I tweet). I am fairly certain my family sees me as an avid Facebook user, and I probably am, but you know what? I am grateful for it.
No one ever told me how lonely parenting can be, and I'm not even a single parent! But when the kids are ill and you are stuck indoors you can go all day without seeing another face (except those of your innocent little cherubs). Don't get me wrong, I adore my children, but sometimes I want a conversation that doesn't revolve around Barbie's outfit, or Mr Dinosaur. I would like to know what is going on in the outside world, but that doesn't revolve around Mr Trump and the next disaster. Logging on to Facebook provides that extra piece of stimulation I would otherwise miss out on. It may just be smiling at one of my friend's milestones, a new job, new baby, even just new shoes, but it cheers me up, I can continue with 'who ate Daddy pig' with new found enthusiasm. Don't even get me started on how handy it is at three AM when nursing a new born for the fifth time that evening! GOD SEND.
As with everything, there are limits. I don't pick up my phone when little O or little S are trying to tell me something, half way through a game, or a book. Phones are completely band from the dining room table (blame Daddy) and at bath time. But I do allow myself a leisurely browse when toddler naps, a quick nosy when I pop downstairs to refill a drink, and a good dose when I have to go and 'stir the dinner'. I have six years of parenting under my belt now. My kids are well fed, entertained, and not entirely messed up. I can thank my daily delve into social media for some of that. How on earth did women cope before it? How did my own mother raise four kids with my dad always away without going completely potty? I am fairly certain there is a reason why they call Gin 'mother's ruin' and I bet lack of adult interaction, be it Facebook or not, has something to do with it.