Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Radio Silence

I love living in this computer age and having access to all kinds of information. Pinterest, Facebook, Google, Instagram- you name it, I'm in.  It keeps me connected to all kinds of people- people I know a little bit, people I know a lot. I get to stay in touch with girls I knew in my MOMS group, my huge extended family, and even people I worked with right out of college.   I'm the kind of person who really wants to see photos of other families on vacation and eating ice cream together. I'm one of those people who adores first day of kindergarten and birthday party pictures. It's just one of those things that does my heart good.

But here's the thing I've noticed. As our children have all gotten older, there are bigger gaps of time between my friend's posts. There are less pictures, less stories, and more links to articles or the news. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing those things too. It just seems like we've moved into a new stage of doing things. 

I have a friend named Jerilyn. We met almost 15 years ago in Colorado and now stay in touch through Facebook. She posted a link to an article written by Rachel Anne Shift that I think explains this change. In it, she talks about how we enter this phase of "radio silence" on the Internet as our kids get older.  How, as mothers, we become their confidants as well as their caregivers. They need to know that we won't share the details of their bumps and bruises of teenage life like we did when they lost their first tooth. So, in a very good and real way, this quiet time on the Internet means we're doing something right.

But it can also leave us feeling lonely. When, despite my greatest efforts, I couldn't  teach my youngest to tie his shoes, social media came to the rescue. Women across the country sent me dozens of great ideas to try within hours. However, in my new role as confidant to my kiddos, I can't use that same strategy for solving middle school and high school angst. This filtering of what we share with other women can leave us feeling like we're the only ones walking the path of adolescence without a map. But here's the hard truth- there is no map. At the most, there's a compass that's pointing in a general direction. The path is left for us to blaze, but there's no need to do it alone.

So as much as I am wild about social media, I'm encouraging you to put it aside every now and then. Ask for advice, but in a way that is still protective of your children's trust in you. Meet your friend for lunch instead of messaging them. There's nothing more comforting than the presence of another mom who has been there, done that. No amount of "Likes" can take the place of a kind word meant for your ears alone. Some things just need to be hammered out with Kleenex and Starbucks. So, go soak up the positive support of other mothers who are in the same boat, using the same compass. It will do your heart good.

1 comment:

  1. So sweet. The pictures alone take me to a tranquil place. Thanks, Honey