I already suffer with enough paranoia and guilt for absolutely no reason at all and therefore don’t need to be given any more by reading about how spending time on social media is stealing time away from being with my family.
If I want to sit on my bed and scroll through my Twitter feed, I will. It’s not something I do often but sometimes life is too much and I want to not to think about the pile of work I have to do that’s sat on my desk or the fact that my son thinks we don’t have any food in the house (we do he’s just too lazy to cook) or that the bathroom needs cleaning. Sometimes it’s all too much to face and I will retreat to social media land.
Life has changed and I think we need to stop ‘family shaming’. I would honestly love to have the family life where I’m up cooking breakfast at 6am, we all sit around and eat heartily and then leave with full bellies, off to our respective places for the day. Unfortunately it’s usually that Chris leaves at the crack of dawn, I may or not be home that day and Christopher gets up and leaves in the space of half an hour with no more than a grunt and no breakfast.
I would love to then have my family arrive home at tea time, we all sit down together for the delicious meal that I’ve cooked and discuss our day… Yes, I want to be a 1950’s housewife but I also want to have my independence, which is actually possible if you have the time, unfortunately I don’t.
We have one night a week where we spend the evening together, we eat together and we watch a film, then we retreat to our own little corners of the house and it’s actually fine. We don’t love each other any less.
It’s just not feasible to spend all of your free time with your family and nobody should ever feel obliged to do so. I do spend a lot of time on social media but that’s mainly down to it being part of my job and if I didn’t need it for marketing purposes I would have probably retreated from it several times.
I do realise that spending time together as a family is important but it shouldn’t feel like a chore or an obligation, you should do it because you want to. My son has told me that he doesn’t want to spend so much time doing things with me and Chris because he’d rather be out with his friends, that’s fine. We’ve compromised and we have one night a week where we do spend the evening together. We also have random weekends or days out and holidays throughout the year and that’s enough, for us.
He tells me that because he lives with us he feels as though we spend enough time together (what he actually means by this is that he sees us several times throughout the evening and that’s as much as he can handle!) and if he’s happy with it then why would I force him to do anything else? I’d much rather people spend time with me because they want to not because they feel they have to and this should apply to family too.
I didn’t spend every waking hour with my parents when I was a child, in fact I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Yes I believe we did probably have most meal times sat around a table as a family but that just isn’t the way these days and that’s fine, it’s not the end of the world just because we don’t eat a meal together every single day. It puts far too much pressure on a person to make them think that this is how life should be for a family.
There isn’t a rule book for how to be the “perfect family”, well actually there probably is. Everyone’s a fricking author these days 😉 But there’s no such thing as a perfect family and if that’s what you’re striving for you’re going to be severely disappointed.
We don’t have a perfectly functioning family life, where everything’s clean and tidy or meals are cooked three times a day, we don’t have freshly baked cakes or a fridge full of healthy snacks and military precision timetables for all of our after school/work activities. But that’s not because we spend too much time on social media. It’s just because that’s how our lives run.
It works for us and that’s all that matters.
Social media is not the downfall of family life, family life has just shifted from what it was 20 years ago. Don’t shame people because they don’t follow your way of life, nobody’s perfect and none of us really know what we’re doing, so you carry on with you way of doing things and everyone else will carry on with theirs 🙂
‘It’s compassion that makes gods of us’ – Dorothy Gilman