In this post, Sophie Grow , postpartum doula and perinatal peer support group facilitator, shares with us her thoughts on why creativity is so important for moms, and how to deal with some of the real challenges to getting time to craft! Check out our DIY Sign Making Party on September 16 and get your craft on!
$20 from each sign will be donated to Proud Mama Support Services to fund our perinatal support group.
I spend A LOT of time on Pinterest. It's like my own personalized magazine full of snarky needle point, parenting tools, and DIY home decor and design. Honestly, it's a way I cope with stress and a way I celebrate my moments of time alone.
However, having spent an equally large amount of time with mothers and fathers during pregnancy and the postpartum year, I know firsthand how negatively the Pinterest goblin of perfectionism can affect a person. I hear stories from parents who scroll through all the endless images of clever DIY projects of unattainable perfection only to feel usefless, self - critical, and not enough.
I am honored to visit many families as a postpartum doula, and almost EVERYONE is influenced by the unrealistic perfectionism of Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook. They see all the home projects they can't pursue because there are new demands elsewhere. There's no time to DIY a dreamcatcher from start to finish when baby has thrush and mom has healing to do. Laundry is just kind of getting done; it mostly lives on the couch, guest bed, or in the laundry basket.
Is Pinterest bad? I refuse to think so. It can be channeled for good!
An artistic project has the power to distract during a high-anxiety time. It provides enjoyment and relaxation. I have seen creativity and play help people cope and heal. Coming together with other craft y and creative people is incredibly inspiring and helps spark the inner "me" to keep daydreaming.
Why is it so hard to DIY a craft project in real life? Pinterest makes is look so easy!
To make something yourself, you need space, supplies, tools, set-up time, creative time, and clean-up time. A typical project might take three hours. As a mom, finding three solid hours of uninterrupted to creative time is about as possible as finding a unicorn. That's how rare it is. Most often I'm too tired to drag supplies out anyway, but if I did I'd be overwhelmed by interruptions and tiny "helping" hands. The Project would be archived with the name "Never Done #23."
For a project that costs $45 in materials, I typically spend $120. DIY means I buy full tubes of paint and a real wood burning tool so I can give my project that Pinterest effect that makes everyone say, "You made this?"
There are significant barriers to giving myself creative space to play as a mom, but I. WILL. NOT. GIVE. UP. That's why I love workshops like Sign-Making Workshops with Blissful Signs and Designs, LLC. and Mom's Art Night with Diana Rose Studio. Creativity in a community setting rocks! Plus, there is the added benefit of learning new skills and sharing supplies costs. I can pay a registration fee and know that I am actually saving money because if I bought all the supplies I needed on my own, it would cost even more. Plus, I wouldn't have access to an awesome teacher, or have the fun of making something in the company of other awesome crafters.
A few months ago I went to my first workshop with Blissful Signs and Designs, LLC.
This was a game changer because these workshops have:
1. Dozens of options in sign designs.
2. A giant selection of paints and stains to individualize my project.
3. An expert and comrades there to encourage me see the project to its end.
4. No set up, no trips to craft store, no tear down, and no interruptions from my kids.
5. Ashley was amazing! Even if I was nervous to screw things up, she was obviously the right expert to encourage me to finish. She made me feel far less overwhelmed and mostly EXCITED!
My inner Creative feels both inspired and a bit caged by this whole parenting gig. I'm not even sure what I like making anymore, but it's fun to try new things and explore. I dropped a lot to be a full-on mom. It's time to branch out and conquer a few fears while achieving a big WIN for my Pinterest-inspired home!
Register by September 7 and see you on September 16!
Signs by Blissful Signs and Designs, LLC.
There's no other physical change for human bodies that is as rapid and drastic as pregnancy. In nine months, the body makes enormous adjustments to the alignment of your skeleton and the placement of your core muscles to compensate for a growing baby. Postpartum physical recovery takes time--as much to a year or more for some bodies--and regaining core strength and stability is a key component of that recovery.
Mamalates, a method of Pilates that is specifically designed with the postpartum body in mind, returns to the Willamette Valley this fall!
Taught by Rachel Brinker, founder of Proud Mama Support Services, this 6-week progressive series is the perfect first step back into core strengthening exercise after having a baby.
Safe and effective for common postpartum issues such as diastasis recti, pelvic floor weakness, pelvic organ prolapse, and c-section recovery, this 6-week workshop focuses on how to safely realign the body and connect with the deep core muscles after the drastic changes associated with pregnancy and birth.
In this workshop, you'll learn safe and effective exercises to begin building strength and stability back into your core. You'll also learn that some movements and ab exercises can be unhelpful and counterproductive for regaining core strength after pregnancy.
With a focus on biomechanics and alignment, Rachel's Mamalates classes will lead you to a deeper connection with your postpartum body as well as a greater ease and stability in the everyday movements of mothering. Babies are welcome to join you during class (pre-mobile babies only, please). Even if it's been months or years since giving birth, Mamalates can help you restore optimal alignment and core stability.
Class starts September 21 and meets every Friday at 9:30am-10:30am for six weeks. Register before September 12 to catch the Early Bird Special. Space is limited to six participants, so register today!
Proud Mama Support Services has partnered with other local businesses to bring you some awesome events, and opportunities to show your sustained support for our perinatal support group. What's better than making a fresh summer fruit pie, going to a yoga class, or making art for your home, all for a good cause?
August 4 - Making Summer Fruit Pies with Chef Scottie Love
Mid August- New Mood Meditation at Pacific Yew Yoga
September 9 - Mom's Art Night - Macrame Tapestry for Beginners at Diana Rose Studio
September 16 - Fall DIY Wood Sign Workshop with Blissful Signs and Designs LLC
October 20 - Morning Yoga at Pacific Yew Yoga
October 14 - Mom's Art Night at Diana Rose Studio
Our Third Annual Corvallis Climb Out of the Darkness on July 21, 2018 was a huge success. Every year we host this event, it gets bigger and better. However, our most important marker of success for the event is if we have created a space where moms and families can come once a year where they feel supported to mark--and celebrate--where they are on their journey with mental health struggles like postpartum depression, prenatal anxiety, OCD, and postpartum psychosis. We lump all of these mood struggles together under one label: Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs).
A huge stigma around mental illness still remains in our culture, even more so when mental illness is coupled with pregnancy and/or caring for an infant. Because people are afraid to talk about it--or just don't know how to talk about it, lots of moms suffer from treatable illnesses for far too long, not knowing that what they are experiencing is beyond normal, is treatable, and will get better with support.
So, the act of gathering in a public place, under a bright sun, is an act of resistance against this stigma. It is a bold and brave move to show up to an event specifically focused on bringing maternal mental health out of the shadows and into the light. So, for that reason, we thank every person who came to the event on Saturday. You are why we climb.
A Look at How Far We've Come
The Climb Out of the Darkness is all about taking a moment to pause and look how far we've come-- in our journey as parents, as people who are working on making ourselves better and our world better for our children, at how much work we've put into our mental and emotional health over the last year, at how much progress we've made. Even if it's just that we got out of the house and made it to the park, that is progress worthy of celebration! We honor every person's journey. We look back so that we can look forward, acknowledging that we have indeed made progress, and we are, in fact, not alone.
In that spirit, let's take a look at how our local Climb Out of the Darkness is growing, and the project that it supports. The Climb Out of the Darkness has been organized locally for four years now, first by local mom Erin Martin, and then by Rachel Brinker starting in 2016. 2017 was the first year that local teams were able to apply as a community project and receive 75% of the funds they raise to support their local project. Proud Mama Support Services founder Rachel Brinker was aware that there was a need for a peer social support option in Corvallis, a support group focused on creating community and resilience for moms, dads, and partners dealing with mood and anxiety issues during pregnancy and the postpartum year. Proud Mama Support Services applied to Postpartum Support International (the non-profit that organizes the Climb Out of the Darkness since 2015) with our idea for a local support group, and our community project was approved. Our 2017 Climb Out of the Darkness brought 30 people to the event, and we raised $900, a huge success for a project that was just a vision at that point.
With the funds we received back from Postpartum Support International (PSI), we began hosting a facilitated perinatal support group at Restore Physical Therapy in October 2017. We began with one meeting every other Saturday. The group is free and open to anyone who wants to attend.
Where We Are Now
So far this year (2018), we have raised $3,100 for Postpartum Support International and our local support group. Our Climb Out of the Darkness brought more than 50 people to the event.
Nationally, the 2018 Climb Out of the Darkness has had over 5,000 participants and has raised over $170,000 for Postpartum Support International and its local community projects.
Our perinatal support group has directly served over forty families since October 2017. Find out more about the group and who we serve here. The group quickly grew beyond the capacity of the space with just one meeting time, so we added a second meeting time in April 2018. Both meeting times continue to be well attended, averaging 4-6 moms/parents per meeting. We are so glad to be able to provide this much needed service to the Corvallis community.
Our Cost to run Corvallis Perinatal Support Group: $5,128
Continuing Education and Training: $300
Facilitator Compensation (including payroll taxes): $3,328
Administrative Costs (marketing, printing, administrative support): $1,300
Group Supplies: $200
Meeting Space: Donated by Restore Physical Therapy (Thank you!)
The Perinatal Support Group is a community initiative of Proud Mama Support Services. We rely 100% on support from donors and sponsors to be able to run the support group and to offer it at no cost to participants. A tax deductible donation any time of the year to our local Climb Out of the Darkness team will help fund our initiative.
Additionally, we are partnering with local businesses to create events to bring you some awesome opportunities to show your sustained support for our support group. A portion of the profits from each of these events will be donated to our perinatal support group.
We also have created a line of apparel, 100% of the proceeds of which will go toward funding the support group. These products are only available for a very limited time!
Thank you to our sponsors, Samaritan Health Services and Restore Physical Therapy, for your generous support. And, thank you to all our donors!
Empower Haiti Together, Shine Midwifery, LLC, Diana Rose Studio, Becky Bricker LLC, Health Haven Studios, Jasmine Birthing Services, Naomi Hirsch Barefoot Books, MidValley Birthing Services, and all the individual donors who have made our Climb Out of the Darkness a success! See you next year!
We often place too much pressure on ourselves to do it all, to be the perfect parent/spouse all the time, to be and do what we think others expect of us. We begin to believe that are worth is tied to ALL THE THINGS we do or are. The truth is, this mindset ends up hurting us more than we know, especially when it comes to being a mom. Beating ourselves us about what we "should" be doing really does more harm than good, and anything that hurts us also ends up being not that great for our kids, either. Our "Quit Shoulding On Yourself" apparel is the perfect reminder for yourself and others that you are enough, you are worthy, you are doing a great job, whether or not you accomplish all your "shoulds."
These products will only be available until August 6, and then they are gone! So, do some early holiday shopping for your best friend, sister, aunt, mother, and get one for yourself as well. We all need this reminder.
100% of the proceeds will go to fund our Corvallis Perinatal Support Group.
Dealing with mood issues like depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. while pregnant or postpartum can feel beyond heavy sometimes. If you've had mood struggles or mental illness during pregnancy or postpartum, you get it. You know how dark, overwhelming, and isolating it can feel. It can be physically painful, and is certainly exhausting.
Those of us whose lives have been affected by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) know the loneliness and fear that come from struggling alone, fearing that we won’t make it through -- feeling alone, embarrassed, and overwhelmed. Coming together with others in our community at a local Climb Out of the Darkness -- coming together, supporting each other -- is part of our healing and recovery. People have been doing just that all summer long across the US and around the world. This Saturday, it's out turn to gather. Together we know that we are not alone, we are not broken, and we are stronger than we think. We are always able to take the next step in recovery. We are coming out of shame and into the light.
The Climb is a celebration of hope. You may be fighting deep in your own trenches or you may have already recovered, or you might be somewhere in the middle. You belong at the Climb, and you deserve to be celebrated.
Click here to watch a video of real moms, dads, and partners, sharing why they Climb Out of the Darkness.
Many of us began our parenting journey feeling broken, small, afraid and embarrassed, and then we came through -- through time, hard work, and recovery – to find healing, new strength, and connection with others. We are stronger and kinder to ourselves, we are inspired to become a beacon for the next person’s recovery. We want you all to know – we are here for you, we see you, we love you.
Corvallis Climb Out of the Darkness
Saturday, July 21 2018 10am-2pm
Walnut Barn at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
4905 NW Walnut Blvd.
Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.
No donations or fundraising required to attend.
Family friendly-- Bring the kids!
10am: Welcome, Sign In, Tell Your Story Activities, Kid's Activities, Check out Community Resource Table
11am: Together We "Climb" Up Our Mountain
11:30am: Raffle Prize Winners Announced
11:45am-12:30pm Bring Your Own Picnic Lunch
12:30pm-2pm Support Group Celebration - How Far We've Come (open to all)
Stay and play, make connections, have fun!
"Please, no more onesies!" Ten reasons why onesies are the gift we love to give, but hate to receive, and what to do about it.
I know they are so cute and OMG, those sayings! Those graphics! The puns! The bunnies/elephants/Storm Troopers! It's so hard to pass them up in the store, but if you are shopping for a baby shower gift for a friend, please don't buy them a newborn onesie.
1. Lots of babies are born bigger than the newborn size of diapers and clothes anyway. The baby might not even fit in it. Like, not even fresh out of the womb.
2. Your friends have likely already received or bought more newborn onesies than they will ever actually need before their baby grows into the next size, if they fit into newborn sizes at all.
3. Your friends will likely feel obligated to take a photo of their baby in every piece of clothing they've been gifted, and the challenge of doing that before the baby gets too big, poops in it, or spits up all over it only adds to the stress of those early days of parenting. Trust us, we've seen this play out in real life with our clients, and it stresses them out.
4. Onesies are quite an impractical clothing choice during the newborn time. Newborns don't really like having clothing put on over their heads, and lots of parents are scared their little baby's chicken arms and will break as they try to wrangle them through the sleeves (they won't break, but try telling a new parent that).
5. Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperature, and skin-to-skin with a parent is one of the best places for them to be.
6. If they are not being held skin-to-skin, they are likely going to need more clothing than just a onesie, and no parent of a newborn really has the time to add pants to an outfit. Onesie + pants = more complicated diaper changes (when is the last time you tried getting a skinny, wiggly newborn leg into a pant leg?) You don't want your friends to be cursing your name at 3am, do you?
7. Newborns have an umbilical cord and clamp, not a belly button. It's an awkward thing to maneuver clothing around. Parents are already freaked out by this and worried about things rubbing on the stump. While sometimes it is helpful to have clothing on the baby to protect the cord, there are simpler options than a traditional onesie (like a baby kimono shirt, or a zip-up one-piece sleeper). Plus, air is what is needed for the stump to dry and fall off, so the less it is covered, the better.
8. If you find a onesie you just can't pass up, buy it in a bigger size. Trust us, we work with newborns everyday. They are very rarely dressed in a onesie. Onesies are a great choice when the baby starts to be mobile, so a onesie in 3-6 month size or larger is a great shower gift. Parents really appreciate getting larger size clothes for their babies. In reality, most babies (except premature babies) are out of newborn sizes by two weeks or less. Not exactly the gift that keeps on giving.
9. Your friends are going to need WAY more burp cloths and diapers than onesies. Lots of new parents have no idea that burp cloths are going to rule their lives for the next year (at least). If you are a seasoned parent, do them a solid, and give a gift they will use almost every moment of every day for the next few months.
And the #1 reason why not to buy your friend a onesie:
10. You can contribute to them having professional postpartum support by buying them an hour of postpartum doula services instead. Proud Mama Support Services has a stream-lined system for people to set up an online registry for their postpartum doula support. (Check out a sample of our customized registry pages below!) Gifting your loved ones postpartum doula support means you are giving the gifts of simplicity, rest, and peace of mind even when you can't be there to lend a hand. For new parents, what gift could make a greater impact than that?
Have your friend contact us today so we can set up a registry for her and her family!
Proud Mama Support Services hosts a perinatal peer support group every other Saturday in Corvallis. Here are some common questions people have about our group and who it serves.
Who can come to the support group?
Anyone who is pregnant, recently postpartum, or continues to struggle with issues related to pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, birth, the postpartum recovery, or very early parenting is welcome to come.
What if I don't have depression but I'm still having a hard time?
This group is for you! Depression is just one of many possible ways that a pregnant or postpartum person may be struggling with mood or mental health. Anxiety is a very common struggle and we talk about it a lot in our group. We also help support people who are dealing with scary intrusive thoughts, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, traumatic or toxic stress related to the birth or other perinatal experience, and people recovering from postpartum psychosis.
What if I don't have a diagnosis?
It is not necessary to have a diagnosis or to get a referral from your doctor or midwife in order to come to the group. Don't worry about whether you are struggling "enough" to come to the group. We all have bad days. We can all give and get support. This group is for you!
Is there a cost?
There is no cost to participants. We raise the funds to run the group through individual donations and our annual event, Climb Out of the Darkness, a family-friendly event which celebrates the resilience and honors the struggle of those who deal with mental health and mood struggles during pregnancy and postpartum. If you are inspired to help support the work we do through the support group, your generous donation is greatly appreciated.
Do you offer childcare?
At this time, we are not equipped to offer childcare at the meeting space. Pre-mobile babies are welcome to come with you to the group meeting.
Who runs the group?
The group is managed and facilitated by Proud Mama Support Services. We are supported by Restore Physical Therapy, who donates the use of their space, and by other organizations in the community.
What training does the facilitator have?
Our facilitator has attended multiple trainings on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders through Postpartum Support International. She has completed a certificate in perinatal peer social support, and has additional training in Mental Health First Aid, and in supporting parents who have experience infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or other loss. She is also a trained postpartum doula who has worked directly with postpartum women and their families for over a year.
I feel anxious about group support. I'm not sure it would help me.
We get it. Group support is not for everyone. It may or may not be a good fit for you, and that's ok. In our group meetings, there are both introverts and extroverts. There are people who are really struggling daily with anxiety and depression, and there are people who have been gaining skills for coping with and healing mood issues for a longer time, but have struggled deeply in the past. Wherever you are in your experience, you have a place in our group.
Come try out the group and if you don't like it, that's ok. If you want to leave early or only come one time, that is ok and we won't demand an explanation from you.
My kids are older/I'm not really "postpartum" anymore. Can I still come?
Yes! If you've been suffering with mood issues that stem from your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum experience and they have not been addressed or treated, there is not a magic time when they will just go away. It's never too late to get some support around these issues. We have had women come to our group who gave birth ten or twelve years ago and still found our group to be healing and helpful. Please join us. Your perspective and story is valuable and important.
What if I'm in crisis and I need immediate help?
If you are in danger of hurting yourself or others, please call 911 right now.
If you are not in immediate danger but you need to talk to someone right now, please call one of these numbers:
1-800-944-4773 (Postpartum Support International Warmline)
1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
While our support group is not equipped to provide crisis intervention, we do have a crisis protocol and we will respond to an immediate need for further assistance or treatment responsibly.
How many people come to the group?
We usually have between 6-8 people at the 9-11am group and 4-6 people at the 12-2pm group.
Is it therapy?
Peer group support is an evidence-based treatment for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Our group differs from group therapy because we stay within the scope of peer support. Our facilitator is not a licensed therapist or counselor, and we do not offer any sort of diagnosis or medical advice.
Are babies and kids welcome?
Pre-mobile (before they are walking) babies are welcome to come with you. Some people find that they get the most out of the group if their baby stays in the care of someone they trust and they come by themselves. Older children need to be cared for elsewhere as we cannot offer childcare at the support group. If you want to come to the meeting but are finding that childcare is a barrier, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can dads and partners come?
Absolutely! This group is for everyone. Did you know 1 in 10 fathers experience postpartum depression? If you are a partners/dad who is is struggling themselves, or are coming in support of their wives/partners, we welcome you to join us.
I can't make it to your meeting time, but I still want support. What are my options?
Postpartum Support International has several online support group options. Click below for more information.
Another local option for group support is Hope For Mothers, which meets in Albany.
If you are interested in individual therapy, there are a number of therapists, psychiatrists, and counselors in our area who specialize in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Please contact us at email@example.com or 541-714-5859 and we will help get you connected to a mental health provider who takes your insurance, or if you have any further questions about our support group or the other services we offer. Thank you!
Update: Watch our pre-viewing discussion of the movie here.
A raw look at parenting a newborn is coming to theaters on May 4, and it's powerful.
Like motherhood, the film is complicated, contradictory, surprising, and at times will likely leave audiences feeling blindsided.
Whether or not you choose to read the spoilers (and here and here), and whether or not you choose to see the film in theaters, this movie is bringing strong reactions for those of us who have lived experience similar to the characters in the film, and for those of us who work with pregnant and postpartum women.
Part of the reason we are seeing such a strong reaction to this movie, and to the spoilers, is that there are so few representations of real motherhood in popular culture and film. We feel hope that this movie will FINALLY show people how it really is for us. We feel a sense of excitement that maybe this film will finally shed light on an area of our lives that is largely invisible and misunderstood.
Because Tully is one of the only representations on film of some of our common experiences of motherhood (as seen in the trailer) it feels like the true work of motherhood may finally be drawn out of the darkness, and maybe those people in our lives that don't see those acts of daily motherhood will gain a deeper understanding of how hard we are working, and finally say, "I didn't get it, but now I do. I get it now." We want to be able to use Tully as something we can share with others as a window to our own experience, because we so desperately want people to see the realities of the postpartum time and the realities of modern parenthood. When/if we feel like Tully is no longer a story that represents us because of twists in the storyline, it can bring feelings of disappointment, even betrayal.
Part of why there are such strong reactions to Tully is that there has never been a representation of motherhood like this in the media. The fact that a story like this was written by Diablo Cody, a woman who was writing from her own experience, the fact that this movie has high-profile celebrities like Charlize Theron talking about her own experience of postpartum depression, and that it starts a conversation around how often maternal mental health struggles are misdiagnosed, mismanaged, or missed altogether by medical providers and other points of contact-- those are all great things. We are excited that this movie provides an opportunity to bring these important topics to light, in hopes that fewer women like Marlo slip through the cracks. Instead, we hope we can use Marlo's story to bolster the support net around women in the postpartum period.
But, there is also a danger that comes when we characterize or stereotype an entire group of people (postpartum moms) from a single representation of that group in the media. There is a danger that comes from having just a single story.
When there is only one story in popular culture that supposedly represents a group, we risk a mischaracterization and an oversimplification of the complexities with which people who belong to that group live. The single story comes to stand for the whole group's story.
There is also a danger when we ourselves look to a single story or a single character to somehow represent all of us. Just because neither Marlo nor Tully fully represents me as a mother or as a postpartum doula doesn't mean there isn't value in their story being told. Just because I have serious criticisms of Tully's behavior in the film and I know she is definitely a flawed representative of my profession, I am still excited to see a film where a postpartum mom has a support person like Tully.
We must keep in mind that as powerful and groundbreaking as this film may be, it is still simply a piece of media produced by Hollywood for the purposes of making money. We hope it can become more than that, but we can't forget that it is just a single story, based on the experience of one woman who lives with a lot of privilege in our culture. If we are saddened by the fact that Marlo fell through the cracks and this movie shows how alone she is in her struggle with mental health issues in the postpartum period, we must respond to that sadness with the awareness that those living with less privilege are at even greater risk for being unheard, unseen, and untreated.
We all want to be seen. We all deserve to be seen.
Proud Mama Support Services thinks this movie is important, whether or not people choose to see it. The fact that it was produced in the first place and that big name actors were interested in the script and committed to such a raw and heartfelt performance is significant and refreshing.
As we approach the release date of the movie, we are setting up a variety of ways the community can engage with us in the conversations that this film brings to light. We are ready to dig in to those conversations! Please stay tuned here on our blog and on Facebook for more opportunities to connect with us and to hear our perspective as people on the front lines of supporting women and families during this time.
Ever since I became a mother seven years ago, I've had a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
I remember feeling really grateful for Facebook and a smart phone when I was a breastfeeding mom, holding my baby for hours and hours everyday. I liked the ability to be social with adults on Facebook, and only needing one hand to do it. That was great, because one hand was all I had available most of the time. The rest of my body was busy in the acts of motherhood.
But, I also noticed sometimes that the multi-tasking of engaging on social media stacked on top of the daily tasks of parenting an infant and toddler left me feeling stressed. Sometimes it felt like a good escape from the tasks at hand with the little people in my charge, and sometimes it felt like it created more stress and more resentment in me, more comparison of myself to other parents, and a quicker impulse to search for a solution to a parenting issue online from an "expert" rather than trusting my own instincts and parenting skills. I noticed when I engaged with other parents and moms on Facebook, I was harder on myself as a parent, quicker to put shame and guilt on myself for not being some perfect model of parenting (that I now know doesn't exist), and less patient with myself and my children.
Some days I find Facebook really helpful. I feel like it serves me in some way, connecting me to local events or resources, providing a place to discuss a particular topic or issue in a facebook group, providing me with a platform to keep a public diary about my life and to showcase the amazing work we do through Proud Mama Support Services, and giving me a window into the lives of my friends and loved ones. And who doesn't love pictures of babies and cat videos?
But, I don't like how ever-present it's become in my life. I don't like the habits it creates in me, and I know that they don't really serve me well. After I spend some time on Facebook, I don't really feel very good. I find myself sometimes scrolling endlessly, feeling beholden to check my notifications multiple times a day, and getting emotionally invested in hot-button discussions that in the grand scheme of things are really not that important. Even if the topics themselves are important, defending a certain position in a Facebook thread is probably not the most fruitful or effective way of making change.
This year, in my personal and professional life, I'm focused on living BIG--with Boundaries, Integrity, and Generosity (Thanks, Brené Brown!). With that being my focus, I've noticed that Facebook--the way I use it, how much I use it, and how I feel when I use it--doesn't always fit with my goals for my life and how I want to be spending the majority of my time.
I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. So, I'm making a public decision and inviting anyone who wants to, to join me in a month-long fast from Facebook. Yes, even as a business owner. If you're intrigued, read on.