It’s now been about a month since I started my social media hiatus and I can definitely say I’m officially out of the loop. I only assume in my absence 17 more Marvel movies have been released, Trump is at least 50 shades of orange darker
and Betty White’s deal with the devil is going strong as she continues to outlive us all. Tom Cruise is still a bonafide banana sandwich though, right? Gotta love life’s constants.
When I first made the decision to temporarily cut ties with the social media realm I thought I would miss and long for it like my endless thirst for carbs in a modern world made of cauliflower. I deleted my FB and Instagram apps, but could totally see myself combing my long-archived internet history for just a taste of MySpace or hit of Tumblr during a late night withdrawl. However the FOMO wore off rather quickly and wouldn’t you know it, life went on.
Why did I put myself through this (lack of) social experiment? I’m so glad you asked. My reasons for taking the break were two fold:
One – I recently came to the very sobering realization that I was missing moments with my family and friends because I was overly concerned with getting just the right photo of the memory we were making and in the process wasn’t enjoying what was quite literally right in front of my face. I was just a handful of likes away from saying “No no Quinn, mommy doesn’t have a witty Insta caption for that pose. What else ya got?”
Don’t get me wrong, I totes understand the positives of social media and love staying in touch with people who, let’s be honest, would be strangers at this point without facebook/insta. I’m probably not going to just pick up the phone and call that girl from high school I had debate class with one year, but thanks to Facebook I know she just redecorated her living room and if we ever run into each other in real life again I definitely won’t be bringing up Game of Thrones because I know that boy is she sick of everyone posting about it.
Heard, Karen. Heard.
So it’s clear the positives are there, but when I did a hard gut check, I realized the importance I was placing on keeping up with what was going on in other people’s lives had reached a level I was no longer comfortable with. Let’s be real, I’m already way too obsessed with the details of all the Real Housewives (Countess LuAnne has gone OFF the deep end, ya’ll), which leaves little room in my head for other useless knowledge. Something had to change.
And Two – Online mom groups be crazy, yo.
Gonna be honest here, I’ve struggled with the decision to bring this up in blog form because looking back, I’m actually embarrassed to have gotten so heavily involved with something that now seems so meaningless with a little distance, but it happened and has fundamentally changed the way I interact on the internet, so buckle up because I’m going to take you on a bit of a ride here.
I don’t think many people are familiar with the seedy underground that is the world of online mom groups and I too was blissfully unaware until about two years ago. For those of you who don’t know, mom groups are like clubs for moms where you ask about baby advice, share kiddo details and basically just gush about your offspring to people who MIGHT actually give a damn as opposed to the rest of the people on FB/Insta, who lets be real, are sick of daily updates on your kid and didn’t sign up to an Anne Geddes newsletter so they probably muted you a long time ago and you’re just posting pictures into the wind…… probably.
Side note, waaaaay back when facebook first started and instituted new privacy changes like every week, I managed to mess up my settings something fierce and without realizing it had my privacy set to “Only Me,” for a year. Yes, that means that for an entire 365 days I was posting photos and thoughts to a wall that exactly zero people saw other than me. I got no comments, no likes and for that one year I was quite literally talking to a wall.
Here’s a screenshot from that bleak bleak winter and before you judge my posts too harshly, keep in mind this was 2008 – a simpler time when we were all just dipping our toes into the social media pool and still satisfied with just telling each what we had for lunch.
Anyway, here’s my quick disclaimer about mom groups: if and when you find your tribe of women who don’t take this crap too seriously, it is THE BEST (shoutout to you ladies!) However, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find them and few moms reach the end of their search without contracting a hefty number of proverbial cold sores from many a makeout sesh.
Groups range anywhere from super chill to I WILL CUT YOU for daring to suggest formula is as good as breast milk to wacko anti modern medicine moms who urge you to stuff crystals in your baby’s diaper to ward off the sniffles… or the devil or whatever evil shit they believe crystals possess the power to repel. It’s a jungle out there and you never really know what you’re going to get until you’re already knee deep in momma drama.
Last year I joined a “secret” mom group that was an offshoot of a larger mom group. Basically a small group of them decided they wanted to create a virtual treehouse club with a very exclusive membership and rope ladder that they pulled up once it had been decided all the best people had been poached from the larger group. TO BE FAIR, there were lots of reasons this offshoot group wanted to form – many of them rooted in good intentions – and it was less of a Regina George situation than it sounds, but for brevity sake I’ll save the minor details.
Anyway I was chosen as part of the cool club and went right along with it because that’s the thing about exclusive groups – you’re so happy to be one of them and feel grateful just to be included, that you don’t dare say a word for fear of being excluded.
Welcome to high school for moms. And I played the part of Gretchen Weiners minus the model looks.
Yup, they had me. In fact I was so had that I requested and took on a mod position in the group so I could plan cool stuff and organize activities for the members all the while ignoring the voice in the back of my head that kept saying something just isn’t right here.
Needless to say I should have been anything but shocked when the mean girl activity didn’t stop with the virtual rope ladder and a handful of the chosen cool people turned out to be less Kelly Kapowski and a lot more Valerie Malone.
Sorry for all these 90s kid references, Dad – I’ll explain over Labor Day Vacation… But the rest of us will never forget that landmark moment when Valerie took off her nice girl mask and lit up a joint **GASP** as she hopped on the phone to trash talk our 90210 fam.
WE’D BEEN DUPED.
Over time the infighting, ganging up and general cattiness that went down in the group on a regular basis was too rich for my blood, so I bounced. I resigned from my mod position and went on my merry way.
That should have been the end of it, but after leaving I still wanted to enjoy mom banter on the daily because this baby stuff is no joke, so I joined another group hoping for a fresh start. After spending some time in the new group and suggesting some fun activities I was offered a mod position there and gladly accepted because organizing is my jam and I figured why the hell not.
BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. ATROCIOUS.
Unbeknownst to me we had a bit of a West Side Story Jets v. Sharks situation going on but with less peppy snapping.
In the eyes of some of my former group members I was literally Satan and vilified as a traitor. I was accused of taking “cool ideas” I’d implemented in that former group and sharing them with my new group. THEY DIDN’T WANT OTHER GROUPS TO HAVE THEIR COOL IDEAS GUYS.
Are you laughing? I hope you’re laughing.
The number of PMs I received from members of my former group with insults hurled at me as if I’d legit burned down their houses piled up. It was basically a full on Nicki Minaj and Cardi B twitter feud blowout, except I hadn’t gotten the memo.
Not gonna lie, I had to Google “Biggest Twitter Feuds” to obtain that reference. Who the fuck is Cardi B?
So I decided to get out of the game altogether. There’s too much cool shit in the world to spend time fighting on the internet over quite literally nothing and I can’t muster up the energy to give even a tiny rat’s ass about that nonsense anymore. Where was that revelation many months ago? If we’re being honest, it probably came straight out of Dave’s mouth verbatim over one of our Whole30 approved dinners, but I’m just gonna go ahead and give myself credit for slogging through 9 months of shit to figure it out on my own.
So now what?
The pull toward social media and my need for mom groups didn’t just go away after a month of social sobriety. And if we’re being honest, I did cheat just a bit to check in when I heard rumors about a mom in one of the other groups I belonged to posting about her young daughter who had learned to give herself a tattoo from YouTube and went ahead and did it.
And what did she tattoo on herself? Not “Fuck” or a pot leaf or a cartoon of Calvin peeing on Hobbs.
Lil Ms. Picasso tattooed A SLICE OF PIZZA on her leg. And when mom asked the budding artist why she did it, her response will go down in history as one of the most wholesome things ever on record:
“I just really like pizza.”
There is hope for future generations, my friends.
So clearly I can’t live without the internet and social interaction, but I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way and have a renewed sense of what’s important and what social news can certainly wait until the kiddo goes to bed. Most importantly I’d like to thank everyone in my “real” life who put up with me being so much more active via text and my increased extending of invitations for in person interactions over the past month.
From the very bottom of my heart I mean this sincerely – you are the sweet sweet methodone to my social opiate addiction and I love you.
See ya back on the interwebs soon friends!
Here are all the random thoughts I thought of over the past month that I neglected to post due to hiatus, but wrote down anyway. Some real gems in here folks:
6/4/19: In a world of inconsistencies, it’s nice to know that no matter what, any beige mini van I encounter will always drive 10 miles under the speed limit.
6/5/19: Somewhere out there Jonathan Taylor Thomas is just going about his day like everything is normal.
6/10/19: If I invented Dum Dum suckers with plastic sticks that didn’t immediately disintegrate upon tongue contact and called them Smart Smarts, could I make a shit ton of money?
6/13/19: WHAT THE HELL IS THAT LITTLE PIGGY DOING WITH ROAST BEEF?
6/13/19: My life has become one long run-on sentence punctuated by breaks for making mac and cheese.
6/17/19: Today I’m giving a serious business woman presentation in front of a global marketing team and 16 different offices worldwide. They have no idea I spent last night decorating my planner with stickers.