Every day I end up cringing at something that comes out of my mouth. I’m in the my mid-thirties (ok, maybe a tiny bit past “mid”) but I still feel young. That is until I hear, read, or witness something that the younger generation is doing. At that point, I’m practically waving my cane at the kids to get off my lawn. The latest thing to show me just how quickly I’m heading for the nursing home? A recent article on Baby Center.
I grew up in the age of regular phones and no Internet. We dialed *69 to get the number of the person who last called, and we had answering machines with those mini-cassette tapes. I also remember when Prodigy (Prodigy!!) was released. After excitedly sitting through ten or so minutes of dial-up noises, I sent an “email” to a friend. It wasn’t a real email though — I could only contact other people who had Prodigy. But it was pretty-freaking-amazing.
I got my first cell phone in my junior year of college, and I begrudgingly traded in Friendster and MySpace for Facebook back in 2007. All that being said, I’m relatively tech savvy, but I kind of hate most social media. You won’t find any SnapChats from me, that’s for sure. In fact, an article was just released about my “micro generation” — apparently we’re called Xennials (those born between 1977 and 1983) — and we’re “a mix of the pessimistic generation X and the optimistic Millennials.” But I digress.
When I began reading the article entitled “Why I’m Going to Unplug Completely When Having My Baby,” I thought the piece would be about unplugging while parenting. This is something that even I struggle with. Days with small children can feel long sometimes, and it is easy to want to escape here and there and read an email or an article. I often feel guilty when my toddler catches me texting, and so I vow for the rest of the afternoon to devote my undivided attention to him and his brother. That’s what I thought this article would focus on.
Instead? The author was struggling with the decision of whether she could “unplug” or disconnect in the moments immediately following the birth of her child.
This is my fourth child, and I pretty much know the ropes when it comes to having a baby. My husband and I are actually EXCITED for the quiet time at the hospital after our son is born. Once we get home, it gets REAL with three kids and a baby. Unplugging and hiding away from the world for two days sounds fantastic.
Here’s the thing: Like most people, I have a little bit of a social media addiction. Being a blogger, it’s hard to disconnect for even a few hours — it’s considered part of my job! I’ve been on Facebook for almost 13 years now and I’ve grown up there, from my crazy college days to life with kids. Every day I share my world on SnapChat: the good, the bad, and the crazy. Could I really put my phone down? For days?
The last time I had a baby, I didn’t own a smart phone so the situation was different. We sent out a group text, my husband updated our Facebook statuses on my laptop (the birth was a bit chaotic), and then we didn’t have to worry about unplugging. Six years later, things are quite different.
Have you heard of The Golden Hour? This is the hour after your baby is born. If you look online for videos, get tissues ready before you watch. These videos highlight the importance of skin-to-skin bonding and how a baby’s natural nursing instinct kicks during that first hour. Obviously, not all situations allow for this special time, but I’m hoping I can make it happen.
Yes, we’ve heard of the Golden Hour. It was the time when I held my babies to my chest and kissed their beautiful, smushy faces. It was when my husband and I talked to them for the first time and stared endlessly at their fingers and toes and teeny heads. And for the couple of days in the hospital following their births, we snuggled with them some more and made sure that they got to know who we were. I nursed and recovered and slept when possible. What we weren’t doing during that time was tweeting and SnapChatting our way through the first precious hours of our sons’ lives.
But here’s the thing: that’s the norm now. Or so it seems. The author of the article was being earnest in her desire to unplug from the world for two days. Social media and constant updates have become such a regular part of her life that she would honestly feel the effects of their disappearance after a few hours. There is something terribly alarming about that. But I’m not sure that’s for me to say or judge.
I’ll continue to update my Facebook status as my kids reach different milestones, but I am far from documenting every waking moment of my life (or theirs). And that’s what makes me the old lady that I apparently am rapidly becoming. I’ll just do my best not to bore my kids with “when I was your age” stories. Maybe.