Wait. What? Can you do that?
First, let’s start from square 1. I’m Catholic… er, um, a CEO Catholic. But, I do like the concept of Lent and it’s one of the few things I do still practice that isn’t the traditional Christmas/Easter fair.
The gist of Lent is simple – give something up from Ash Wednesday until Easter Saturday that doesn’t make you a better Catholic/better person. Or partake in some sort of fast. Or both. Some people give up soda or coffee or Candy Crush or whatever. For the last few years, I wasn’t big on giving up something as I was trying to refocus on being a better person. So things like going to church on Sunday again for Lent, volunteering somewhere, reading children’s bible passages to Bean every night… not really giving up a vice, but instead adding a new, positive habit to your routine.
This year, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. Or how. As a mom of a toddler, you just don’t give up coffee. (I get a daily latte in the morning.) I don’t really drink soda. Sweets aren’t really a vice. Obviously. The thought of dragging a toddler to Mass right before (or during) naptime makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
I like all of the 40 days/40 bags challenges – where you clear out clutter over the course of Lent. (Religious form of spring cleaning.) There is also a cute meme going around where you pick one item from your closet every day, throw it in a trash bag and donate the bag to charity after Easter.
These are great ideas – if I hadn’t already cleaned out clutter from our move last summer or cleaned out my closet for my Capsule project at the new year.
Then there are digital and social media cleanses. Ones where you uninstall Facebook (or whatever your social media vice of choice is) from your mobile device and find other things to do for 40 days. This would be all fine and dandy if people didn’t rely on social media to contact me. Or I didn’t use it for work/dance/mommy advice and support/whatever.
It did, however, spark an idea. During my pregnancy with Bean and the subsequent postpartum months, I joined a series of online support groups for women with type 1 diabetes. A few pregnancy ones here; some mom advice ones there; one for breastfeeding; one for babywearing. I participated in most of them fairly frequently – offering no-nonsense advice to those who were in the throngs of pregnancy or the early newborn stages. I had a lot of online support from several women when I was pregnant – I was simply paying it forward.
The problem with Facebook’s algorithm is that if you partake in several group discussions, that will be all you see on your Newsfeed. Ever. Just a running conversation of panicked strangers over a variety of reasons mixed in with the “pat me on the back – I’m back to my pre-preganancy weight at 6 weeks postpartum” posts. The constant suggestions to overhaul your diet because you eat carbs. The stressed out first time moms who have OBs with shitty bed-side manner. (Or just don’t understand Type 1 diabetes.) And the breastfeeding photos… and problems with breastfeeding. So many issues. And because you are a helpful person who had great help during those first months with Bean, you want to help everyone.
I couldn’t hang. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I never saw things on my Newsfeed from people I actually knew anymore. I was distracted at work and at home because oh, my God, someone was struggling. Like I struggled. So I must share what I know. Or I just felt bad for eating that english muffin in the morning. Or that my blood sugar at the moment happened to be over 180. Or that I feed my kid gluten because oh – what if that triggers Type 1 in her?
So I unfollowed all of them on Ash Wednesday. It was brilliant.
Until all of my friends started discussing politics. Sigh. Thanks guys.