Aside from the fact that I think smart phone manufacturers are in league with Vision Express in making screens smaller so that anyone over the age of 30 will need a stronger prescription after a year of use, I’m increasingly concerned by my own use of Facebook let alone anyone elses. I’m not talking about the usual stories of neglect -how much time we spend uploading our daily life whilst it merrily carries on around us. After all, Enid Blyton abandoned her kids in their cots for hours at a time with only a teddy and jam sarnies for company to write about other kids she probably liked more. That’s neglect, not 2 mins on your phone.
In the age of instant gratification, we also seem to require instant congratulation. My Nan (super-woman that she is) had twins in 1958 without the aid of the NCT, or an epidural. This alone should qualify her for free monthly deliveries of gas an air from the NHS just as a bonus for enduring ridiculous torture. She sent my Grandfather off to work with a cooked breakfast, lunch, did the housework, looked after 3 kids and went to work herself…And couldn’t shout her highly praiseworthy achievements from the rooftops and into cyberspace. I don’t even think she expected a ‘well done’ in that this was life and she got on with it.
And yet, daily, I read posts from people who list their completed daily chores, like kids tick off the list on the fridge so they can get their pocket money at the end of the week. Personally I’m terrified of saying ‘Today I tackled the ironing, washed the kitchen floor and cleaned the loo” because if I don’t post the same thing in a week, people know I’ll be walking around in crinkled clothes, and barely made it out of the house alive due to the adhesive power of my kitchen floor and a near miss with dysentery because of an unhygienic loo.
Not to mention the fact that this is now my job. I stay home and work here so my husband and I no longer engage in competitive tiredness, attempting to both go out to work and then fit in all the other life-saving bleach applications at 10pm when I’d rather be sat on the sofa. Or wasting weekends with our kids because the kitchen is being condemned by environmental health. Would we expect a teacher to say ‘today I taught some stuff’? Of course not. That’s your bloomin’ job, tell me about the funny stuff.
Then there are those who congratulate their children (who are usually too young to work a computer let alone have a Facebook account) for teething, pooing, parent’s evenings reports, and doing the stuff that kids do…Why? Is it to say ‘look we have teeth, hurrah I’m an ace mum who hasn’t raised a gum-mouth’? Nobody see’s these posts aside from other mums…And how are you meant to feel if your kid is sadly lacking in the dental department?
Maybe I’m being a tad harsh. Facebook is a tool like any other, and if this is the way we choose to communicate our little victories over germs, bacteria and crap explosions then so be it. I just find it sad that we are no longer competitive parents in person -it would at least filter out the worst examples of exaggerated self-congratulation that regularly appear.
So to end; a promise. I will think not just about what I post, but why I post before I hit the blue button. I will not bore you with my day, or expect to be ‘liked’ unless I have managed to rescue a Labrador from a burning car, or found a cure for tonsillitis under my sink. I’ll tell you about the crap, the mistakes, the nappy I scooped up in the washing and cleaned at 40…those bobbly crystal things are a bitch to pick off clothing. This is what I like reading, because then I know that it’s not just me, and after all, isn’t that what we post for?
Ironically, you can follow me on Facebook @Theothermrsbeaton…