“Motor-mouth”, “loud”, “chatterbox”, all terms of endearment I was privy to being called growing up. I also like to insert “funny” to that list as well and probably because of all those nicknames listed. And this was all before social media.
Enter the internet in the early 2000’s when I was a new mom and sought the internet for all the things, no Facebook yet for me, but there sure was blogging and blogging I did. It started as a way to update family on our daughter’s condition she was suffering from. I was tired of energy-zapping calls and questions and giving the same answers. If I could update everyone when I had the energy to do so would be best and enter Ivillage.
I was able to easily “journal” and everyone was able to keep up. I had no problem sharing via the internet. I’ve always had a journal. I have a treasure trove of books filled with my love interests from 11 on. Now I was able to do it all with my fast fingers and it felt good.
Bad doctor’s appointment, straight to the computer with tears falling all over my keyboard and with no filter I laid it all out there. I’d want to hide after I hit submit, but I’d do it over and over again. I started to develop relationships with strangers with similar struggles. I became a part of a community you can’t get on a local level. I also realized how much I loved to write. There was no other release for me like taking my heart and soul and bleed it all over the internet.
Though from there I ventured to my thoughts on life. I moved on searching for bigger audiences with the promises of a somewhat bitter, sarcastic, and funny mom. I started sharing experiences and funny stories. The feedback fueled me and my desire to be funny was stronger and stronger. I felt for the first time in my life a passion being fulfilled beyond being a wife and mom.
No surprise this also started causing issues. I’d share experiences from my perspective that involved other people. This wasn’t always favorable and I hurt important people close to me. I have made way too many public apologies to count and damaged relationships and none of that was ever worth it. Although I did find some sweet relief as someone who dodges conflict like Neo in Matrix, I only exasperated difficult situations bringing it to the internet and not face to face.
Lesson 1: Consider before you submit, will this damage an important relationship?
Enter social media and hello Facebook and ooh how quick I was to post my feelings! No long drafts to edit and read and re-read, just a fast ‘this is what’s on my mind’. I’m mad. Blah Blah Blah ..I threw my husband on blast, stupid vague posts that only the person who “wronged” me would get and continued to cause problems. Forget about commenting on posts that I disagreed with. Yikes. Awkward family moments forever, please. It took time and again embarrassment and apologizes but I started to develop a habit of waiting for my anger to subside and reconsider ways to write if I still felt it was a message I wanted to say. With slower fingers and a cool head. Not the hot one.
Lesson 2: Wait for your head to cool before posting, or even commenting unless you want the awkward Thanksgivings every year until forever.
I still post, a lot. I love social media, I love making people laugh, I love trying to touch hearts on real issues. I don’t think that will ever change for me. I continue to embarrass my kids in many ways, proudly. I will continue to be silly and tell ridiculous stories, but when it comes to our kids this leads to my third rule.
Lesson 3: Respect your kids’ privacy.
This has been a long learned lesson. I have shared so much of our lives but as the kids got older I realized it’s their stories to share, not mine. Especially the big stuff. Most especially our youngest two we adopted. I shared so much of their story in the beginning and I have felt much regret over this as they grow. They deserve to write their own stories and I feel I already set the setting in ways I shouldn’t have. So while I will continue to share their hilarious banter, the hard parts of parenting from a mom’s perspective, the details, the beautiful woven stories each of their lives that have been intricately and purposely woven, aren’t for me to share. It’s theirs and it’s why my lesson 3 is the hardest learned and will always be the concrete one I follow.
So many lessons I’ve learned. So much still left to learn and teach as the internet and social media isn’t going anywhere. And the generation before us wasn’t capable of teaching. We are all on the same learning curve, but I feel strongly as long as we are all capable of learning from our mistakes and growing to use it for the positive, we will grow better together.