This is Anna at 3 1/2, just before I made the unfortunate mistake of cutting her hair.
This is Mia, a little over 8 1/2,
and this is them together.
I think I have come to the conclusion that I must end a major relationship in my life. I think.
And that is my relationship with Facebook.
I have done this before, 4 times to be exact. Why I keep going back, I do not know.
The feelings that Facebook gives me are these: inadequacy, invasion of privacy, guilt, regret, anger, frustration, fear of being disliked for who I am. I feel like I am always at a party, like I have nowhere to hide and get some peace and quiet.
Then there is the occasional good feeling I get from being connected to my relatives that live far away or friends I do not see on a regular basis, and the good feeling of sharing something important to me and getting positive feedback. And I suppose that is what has kept me coming back.
Facebook takes up an extraordinary amount of my time and mental energy, and in the time I have been a Facebook user, I have regretfully given more time to Facebook than individualized, deliberate time with my children. And I emphasize this: regretfully.
Can I keep in touch with the people in my life without Facebook? I do not know. I do hope so, on a certain level, at least.
Can I be happy without Facebook in my life? Absolutely. Happier than I’ve been since Facebook peered its alluring face into my already full life.
I know that some people may be sad. Others may not give a flying fart. Others may be happy about it.
I want to live a peaceful and private life, one in which I live for me. One in which I have the emotional energy to care for my children and family with my whole heart, one in which I am not put into inner turmoil over possibly saying the wrong thing and offending someone or reading other people’s upsetting posts. I want to live without all of that. I want a life without drama.
Do I leave quietly or with warning? Will I stick to my guns even when people beg me to stay?
We will see.
Because my second day was wrapped up in some inner turmoil, I forgot to write what I did other than ponder my life. I do not want to forget, so here goes:
-shopped at Unique Thrift (it was their 25% off VIP day) and bought 15 books for just over $8. Few things make me as happy as finding great books for next-to-nothing.
-took a long nap
-went to two Half-Price bookstores but left empty-handed (it’s ok–really)
-had dinner at Linden Hills Co-op (a slice of pizza for $1 and a delicious chocolate bar for another dollar–what a deal). I ate my fabulous, simple meal while reading through the latest Vitamin.
-went to Target and tried on a bunch of workout clothes, several of which I liked. But, my check was declined and I was not able to buy them.
-spent an hour on the phone with the bank and the credit agency to figure out why my check was declined. The answer is still not known. Divine intervention, perhaps.
-worked on my albums until late at night, while listening to Pandora.
Ok, that sounds a bit grim.
I am looking forward to seeing those faces again. I don’t quite miss them yet, but I do look forward to having them here in what has been my space for nearly three days.
Last night I stayed up until midnight to work on my albums. I slept soundly and woke up at 9, feeling rested and rejuvenated. Then I got dressed and headed to the chiropractor, from where I drove to Seward Co-op for a hot breakfast and coffee from the deli, which I ate while reading the early edition of the Sunday Pioneer Press.
It was pure delight.
On the way home, I stopped at the Goodwill and bought a few more books for Mia’s collection.
Now I am at home and cleaning a bit, not because I have to, but because I want to. I want the girls’ room to be clean and neat for their return home. Ok, maybe I do miss them. Just a little.
Between spurts of cleaning the house and reprimanding our rambunctious kitten, I am finishing up my album that I started last night and uploading lots of pictures and videos online.
I am also thinking much about the book on CD I’ve been listening to in the car, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage by John Gottman. It is incredible. This absolutely will change me and my marriage for the better, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with Alan.
On this final day of my freedom vacation, I am in awe and filled with gratitude for the gifts I have in my life and for the person that I am. I am re-committed to giving myself room for me, for having time like this where I do things that make me happy. Giving myself space is good for everyone around me, too. It is a gift to myself and to the world; it will bring out the best I have to offer.
This vacation was my first of the like, but will not be my last. This marks the beginning of a new chapter, one in which I make room for joy and pleasure, one in which I make room for me.
Today was a little less marvelous than yesterday, because some inner turmoil surfaced and I’ve been thinking about it all day and partly because I worked for a few hours in the middle of the day.
Being alone for two days has given me much time to contemplate and to look within, listen to a book on CD about marriage, and rediscover who I am–separate from being a mother.
I am quiet, a loner, spontaneous, gentle, patient, and intuitive. I love doing whatever I feel like doing in the moment. I love to blend into the woodwork, to watch the world around me without participating. I find joy in simple things and need very little outward excitement to be happy. I don’t like to buy expensive things and am thrilled to find used things at a great price. Seeing the sunset makes me happy. Watching people pass by makes me happy. Watching people pet cats makes me happy. Quirky art makes me happy.
I am also lazy. It is both a vice and a virtue. I am so lazy that eating is an inconvenience in my life, although I do enjoy eating–just not the planning and preparation part of it. I often wish I didn’t have to eat three times a day, but maybe fill up once a week like my minivan. Laziness makes me patient and calm most of the time, but it also makes me overwhelmed because I am inefficient and thus, work piles up. Laziness makes me scattered but also flexible.
I love cats (not kittens as much) because they embody the traits I like about myself. They are quiet and mysterious, solitary, gentle, do not require much attention or special care, and of course, they are lazy and only want to go about their own agendas.
The part of myself that is a mother is not always a part that I like. The mother in me is often patient, but often not. The mother in me is often irritable, overwhelmed, and scattered, dying for freedom and quiet. I have concluded that being a mother is, hands down, the most challenging endeavor I have ever experienced. It has been my marathon. It has tested me in ways nothing else has and probably never will. It has brought out the worst in me, but also the best.
The mother in me is steadfast and loyal, strong and resilient. The mother in me keeps going despite illness, exhaustion, or emotional upset. The mother in me has made me more altruistic; I am no longer the most important person in my life. Having children has driven me to become the best me that I can be. It has pushed me to heal myself, to grow up, and to find peace in my life so that my children may someday do the same. Being a mother is the among the best things that have happened to me.
I do not miss my children yet; I am still soaking up this wonderful freedom of being alone and managing my own time.
Soon enough I will be back to being mother.
I am 10 hours into a nice little vacation for myself, albeit in my own home. Since becoming a mother 8 1/2 years ago, I have not been alone for more than about 4 hours. And definitely not at home. This is a long awaited and much anticipated dream come true.
Alan took both girls up to the cabin until Saturday afternoon. That means I still have another day and a half by myself–that’s two mornings to sleep in, two nights to go to bed early and sleep like a baby.
I vowed to do no housework or other “should-dos” on my little freedom vacation. The house is a mess, yes. It is a bit bothersome, but it can wait. It really will not go anywhere.
This is what I did today:
-Went to the auto place to have wheel alignment done. While waiting, I went to Wal-Mart, read a magazine, and watched the Young and the Restless. Did you know Nikki and Victor are still on that show and haven’t aged a day in 15 years?
-Watched a few episodes of The Daily Show and LOL-ed by myself while snuggling with cats and eating leftovers for lunch
-Took a nap
-Perused the adult section at the library. Has that been there this whole time? Who knew!
-Went to the chiropractor.
-Had a hot deli dinner from the Wedge, plus tiramisu and a green kombucha.
-Walked through the sculpture garden.
-Went to Walker Free Thursday. The Avant Garde exhibit is magnificent.
-Drove to Lake of the Isles and walked about 1/4 of the way around the lake before realizing it was way too far to walk all the way around.
-Drove around the Lake of the Isles to look at houses and found a little independent bookstore nestled in one of the neighborhoods. Stopped in to take a look.
-Stopped at North Beach at Lake Calhoun to watch the sunset and sit on the beach. Sat by a flock of seagulls standing in the shallow water.
-Shopped at TJ Maxx and bought a pair of running shoes and socks. Tried on a pitiful bra.
-Came home and called my family at the cabin. Oh, those sweet voices.
-Took a bath, complete with candle and Mozart on Pandora.
-Watched more Daily Show, checked Facebook, watched SNL, and now am blogging with a cat on my lap.
-Going to sleep at 10pm with cat to keep me warm.
Today was nothing short of glorious.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Wednesday was direction-less, lazy, depressing, crabby, messy, bad-attitude day.
Then I had a pep-talk from my wonderful husband.
Thursday I had a new attitude and a new plan, and the day was almost perfect.
(It helped that my Mother’s Helper was in the kitchen for over 4 hours making multitudes of freezer meals!)
Things that happened on Thursday were:
I drank hot tea right away in the morning, took a shower, and took my morning supplements instead of lying in bed for 45 minutes fantasizing about sleeping more.
Fed something to the kids and myself, too. Almost right away–to prevent the low-blood sugar crash that normally happens.
Got the kitchen caught up and ready for Mother’s Helper cooking spree.
Did my first session of home-school curriculum with Mia and Anna. It was lovely.
Went for a long walk with the kids, each on her own bike.
Stayed calm and patient and did not yell at Anna all day.
Stayed away from the computer until after the kids were in bed.
Made muffins and no-bake cookies after kids went to bed–for the freezer in preparation for cabin camping this weekend.
Every day I have a choice. Life is what I make it.
Today was my reminder.