I have a love/hate relationship with you (I know, I know, I am so not the first to admit that!)
I love that because of you I can feel a little bit “connected” to my friends who I don’t get to see on a day-to-day basis. I love that because of you, I feel like I know about their lives, their joys, their sorrows. With four kids under eight, even though I care immensely about everyone in my life, I struggle to keep in touch as much as I like. I struggle to remember big birthdays and anniversaries. And to be honest, as much as I know being connected with friends (like really connected) is important to me because it makes me happier and therefore a better mom/wife/daughter/friend/person, I still struggle to prioritize “be connected – in a real way– with friends.” So instead, I turn to you. You help me have a sliver of the connection that I so very much seek and it makes me feel a little less guilty and a little more okay that I am sucking at keeping in touch with those I care about. So thank you for that.
And obviously, I love that you gave me a way to create a supportive community two years ago when I started The Orange Rhino Challenge; without that community I am not sure I would have made it! And today that community is a source of love, support, and inspiration not just for me, but also for 50,000 others. Pretty cool. Pretty darn cool. So thanks for that too!
So yeah, there are two really strong reasons why I love you and why I open you up everyday, okay, lets be honest, several or more times a day. Oh, wait, one more reason. I love the pages that daily pop up sharing inspirational thoughts; those really help me stay focused during tough days. But Facebook, oh, oh dear Facebook, the problem is that when I open you to see about friends and to check-on / check-in with The Orange Rhino Community, I don’t just see, but I feel.
I see pictures of my friends that I immediately love and smile at because I can tell my friend is happy and then… I feel jealous because it seems she is happier than me/living a life better than me/skinnier than me/a better mother than me because she does cooler things than me.
I see a link to a parenting article a friend shared and I can’t help but to click through because the topic speaks to me and then (more times than not)… I feel incompetent, judged, and overwhelmed by all I “need” to do or change in order to feel better about my parenting and that I am no longer on the “wrong side” of the judgment.
I see pictures of husbands and wives who seem to be so naturally gravitating towards each other in the picture, who so “clearly” enjoy each other and so “obviously” have some secret marriage ingredient I am missing and… I feel sad about the marriage boulder that hit a while back and that we don’t have lots of this type of picture lately (even though I know we will soon.)
I see The Orange Rhino Community page growing; I see the messages and the comments…and I feel so excited and happy. Excited that we are growing, that more people are feeling less alone in their struggle to yell less; excited that I still have a safe, judgment free place to share about my journey; excited that there are people I can reach out to and offer support because that brings me such joy. And then I feel overwhelmed because there is so much more I want to do for The Community and sometimes I feel guilty that I haven’t replied to as many messages or comments as I so desperately want to (and as you all so very much deserve.)
And well sometimes I see a really nasty comment on The Orange Rhino page and then… I feel very hurt and scared to continue on my public journey.
Yep, I “see” a lot on you Facebook but really, I “feel” a lot more.
I would love to say that the warm, fuzzy feelings you inspire last all day long and are so powerful that they immediately squash the yucky-I-feel-so-insecure feelings that I shared above, but that just isn’t the truth. It’s the opposite actually. It seems that for whatever reason, once conjured up, it’s the yucky insecure feelings that last all. day. long! Emphasis on all.day.long! This so ain’t cool! These feelings not only immediately put me in a grouchy, defensive, and agitated mood but they also immediately consume all of my thoughts leaving me completely distracted.
And guess what?
Distracted mind + Bad Mood = the perfect setup for yelling at my kids.
When I am not fully present and focused on just being a parent, and instead focused on yucky feelings (or to-dos for that matter,) it is infinitely harder to be an Orange Rhino because my mind isn’t clear enough to focus on what I know I need to do to keep myself from yelling. When I am pre-occupied it’s just very hard to remember to: pay attention to my kids emotions and needs, notice cues that I am getting closer to losing it, think of alternatives to yelling, tell myself encouraging thoughts, and find perspective so that I don’t yell when I am pre-occupied otherwise. (Shoot, its hard enough to remember these things when I am in a good mood and feeling naturally calm and loving!!)
And you wanna know something else? Since you so often push me towards this grouchy, pre-occupied mindset, I have labeled you as one of my Yelling Triggers. Yes Facebook, I like you and all, but you make me yell. I know, I know. That’s a cop out. The real triggers are my insecurities, or better said, feeling that I am not “good enough or doing well enough.” It’s just easier and feels better to blame you! Ha! Seriously though, here’s the thing. You are truly a trigger for my triggers, so we need to work on our relationship. I like you but I love my kids, and my family and friends, more and I don’t want to unnecessarily yell or snap at them because you set me off.
I am not entirely sure where our relationship will go from here, but I do know a few things:
- I don’t want to dump you because of your positive qualities so I will still be around, just a bit less. (And please know, checking my email/phone has the same effect as you. I tell you this so you don’t feel like you are the only one causing me strife; as an Orange Rhino I know no one wants to feel alone!)
- I do need to take responsibility for my part in hanging out with you; I need to set better limits as to when I look at you so that if I am triggered, I am not in a situation where it will impact how I interact with those around me.
- I need to work on my impulse control so that when I slip up and sneak a peak at you when I shouldn’t (sometimes a girl just needs to scroll to escape the craziness, you know?), I can successfully refrain from clicking on potentially triggering articles.
I hope you understand where I am coming from and aren’t hurt. If you are, please just don’t trash me in a status update because that would you know, make me feel bad, and then I would dwell on the hurt feelings, and then my son would innocently ask for a snack and I would snap at him. Thanks for understanding and being a good friend,
The Orange Rhino
If you would like to learn about all those things I know I should do to keep from yelling, check out my new book: “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” It hits shelves October 1, but you can pre-order it now by clicking here!
Dear The Orange Rhino Community:
Fear not, the page isn’t going anywhere!! Ever! I am though, actively creating new ways to achieve the same community feel and means of communication elsewhere as I have learned I am not alone in my struggle with Facebook (and well, my “friend” Facebook seems to not like sharing my posts with you!) One place I will be spending more time? The private Orange Rhino Community forum! It has been updated to provide better security and more bells and whistles. It is a great place to meet other Orange Rhinos sharing similar specific triggers as you (i.e. ADHD behaviors, potty training madness, homework battles) and who live in the same area. Check it out! www.theorangerhino.com/community AND if you want to make sure to see my blog posts, sign up to receive notifications of new posts by this fancy, schmancy new tool: