Lately, my Facebook news feed has been serving up pictures of preschool, high school, and college graduations. Hello, summer, and summer vacation! And I’ve been thinking, maybe I should take a summer vacation from Facebook. Maybe you, too? Here are some reasons to consider a seasonal hiatus from that most popular of social media.
1. You just had your second (or third, or fourth) baby. In the midst of your sleep deprivation, you missed the deadlines to enroll your older offspring in enriching summer camps, classes, lessons, and the like. Thus, you will have no “Carter’s 1st day of LEGO Camp!” or “Audrey @ Dance Extravaganza!!!” pictures to share on your Facebook page. What would your Facebook friends think if they caught a glimpse into your real world—the kids watching “Frozen” in their pajamas until 11 a.m. (again) while you simultaneously feed the baby and prepare lunches of Goldfish and Welch’s fruit snacks (again)? Better give you and your family a breather from comparative picture-sharing.
2. On the topic of comparative picture-sharing … Your best friend from elementary school just posted a photo album of 283 “Unbelievable Memories!!” from her summer wedding and looks-like-paradise honeymoon. She appears thin, tan, and well-rested (sooo well-rested!) in every tropical-themed selfie. Meanwhile, your 3-year-old just told you, “Mom, your belly looks like it still has a baby in it!” (For the record, it doesn’t.) No way will you post your family’s latest “Unbelievable Memory!!”: a day at the local water park with you in your maternity swimsuit (still!).
3. And those upbeat status updates … “Grilling outside tonight! S’mores afterwards!! Don’t you just love the LONG DAYS OF SUMMA?!” Hmmm … no, not always. A sample status update from YOUR “summa”: “Baby slept 5 hours; I slept 3. Baby’s crying kept waking up older kids; everyone cranky. Now how will I keep everyone happy ALL DAY?”
4. Your old office friends accidentally included you in a group invitation to this year’s annual summer retreat at the Boca Beach Club. You want to Accept, Accept, Accept, and Declining is disheartening. Because of course you can’t leave your brand-new baby, and you can’t take him with you either.
5. Another invitation, to your college’s 10-year reunion. Ahhh, the carefree days of jungle-juice-fueled parties and sleeping in until lunch … compared to the present reality of juice boxes and 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls from the nursery down the hall. Better to not recall those sweet, sweet days.
6. Speaking of reunions, who doesn’t love family reunions? Mm-hmm, those stress-free get-togethers where everyone reconnects so well and doesn’t bring up past grievances and grudges … mm-hmm, right … If the reunion organizer mainly communicates via a “Family Reunion 2015!!!” Facebook group, and you’re on a summer vacation from Facebook, then you’re golden, sister.
7. Be present in your life. Really. It may be refreshing to peek out from behind the screen of your phone or computer—to be uninhibitedly present in your life, messiness and all. To take a break from comparisons with the imagery of your Facebook friends. To bow out of obligatory invitations. To revel in the chaos and joy of random dance parties in your living room and spontaneous, sticky-from-Popsicles kisses from your kids.
A summer vacation from Facebook might be as rejuvenating as a posh spa retreat (sorry, Boca Beach Club).
Melissa Leddy has been writing professionally for 10 years. She’s the author of three e-books, including the popular short fiction “The Moms.” You can follow her writing on her website, and connect with her on Twitter at @MMLWrites. Melissa lives and writes in San Antonio. She and her college-sweetheart husband have two daughters.