Parenting

Why my Facebook hiatus is now a Facebook breakup

After spending seven months away from Facebook, Katie has decided she’s not going back. At least not this year.

Photo: hocus-focus/iStockphoto

I’ve thought about it for weeks now: Do I dare sign in, after seven months of being away? Am I strong enough to parcel out my time and cut myself off after 10 minutes of newsfeed-reading and creeping? Do I care enough to invest precious quiet moments in other people’s baby bump pictures, workout regimens and dinner menus? Am I okay to miss announcements and news from friends and family? (To date, as a direct result of my Facebook hiatus, I’ve missed at least two pregnancy announcements, a handful of engagements, countless new jobs, and even a few bad news stories where I would have offered my condolences, if I had known. Oh, and don’t even ask me about the birthdays I missed last year without the handy reminders.)
 
But I guess the real question is, “Will my life be better if I go back?”
 
For Facebook junkies out there, it’s a no-brainer. Of course I should rejoin. I have a cute little girl my friends would love to watch from afar, through photo albums and updates. It’s good for networking. It’s actually a fairly important part of my job, to be tapped in to all kinds of social media. I could link to my blog posts and start interesting conversations. All of these things are valid points, and I understand why many people are connected to their profile pages on an almost constant basis (when I was in university, I was pretty much tethered to MSN Messenger, so I reserve judgment).
 
But on the flip side, when I get into bed at night these days, I don’t feel compelled to scroll through the newsfeed one last time. Instead, I can update my Sophie journal — where I keep her milestones, so I don’t forget when she first said “cracker” (pronounced “cack-ah” and now repeated over and over again) or when she yelled “GUYS!” from the backseat of the car to get our attention — or I can read a few pages of my book-of-the-moment (currently The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling) just like I did when I was 13. It’s a nice, screen-less moment for me, after sitting at a computer for at least eight hours of the day. I don’t want to give that up yet. And I know that I could be on Facebook and still designate that time for myself, but I just don’t know that I have the willpower.
 
I’ve also enjoyed seven months of a little less anxiety, believe it or not. I don’t have to worry about the newsfeed throwing something sad or horrible my way (usually involving moms or kids, because Facebook creepily knows what would align with my profile) and I don’t have to stress out, after reading other parents’ updates, that Sophie isn’t walking yet when other kids around her age are (she’s close but the kid’s taking her time). When I last blogged about leaving Facebook, someone commented that I sounded insecure, and I fully admit that that’s partially true. I’m insecure as a mom — I don’t feel like I know what the hell I’m doing most of the time — and I don’t need Facebook to amp up that uncertainty for me. 
 
So, for 2013, I’ll stick to the 140 characters of Twitter (follow me @katie_dupuis), and recipes and home décor on Pinterest (find me: Katie Dupuis). Maybe 2014 will be the Facebook year for me.
 
Then again, she says as she cracks her book and sighs, maybe not.