Saturday, May 10, 2014

The addiction of Social Media

Best friends, I have a confession...I am addicted to facebook. I guess if you truly know me this will come as no shock. It is so much a part of my life that it's the first thing I check when I get up in the morning and the last thing I check before I go to sleep. My husband once bet me $100 that I could not go without the social media site for a week because that's how deep he saw my addiction. The promise of a $100 Lululemon shopping spree was enough to motivate me to win the bet but that was a tough week. I deleted the application on my phone and deactivated my account so there could be no temptation and channeled my energy into texting and calling friends instead. Remember when we use to call and talk to our friends and share our news? If something good or bad happened in our lives, our closest friends and family would know first because they would be at the top of our call list. Now everything, and I mean everything, hits facebook first BEFORE our eyes and ears.

The ability to reach a large audience with news in an instant is both a blessing and a curse. In my opinion it is ruining our lives and our relationships.

My sister sent me this blog story the other day that highlights the worst case scenario for instant news: The writer of the blog discusses how a woman named Theresa Jones found out via facebook that her husband Landon, a helicopter pilot, died in a crash on deployment. Before the Causality Assistance Call Officers could even reach her doorstep she discovered postings on facebook that tipped her off to the fact her husband had been involved in a crash and ultimately did not survive. Can you imagine the horror? Because friends were so eager to share information and offer their condolences they had posted links to information about the crash. They probably assumed if the information were readily available to them that this man's wife and family already knew as well. Social media has given us a way to tweet, blog and facebook post in real time about things that may have only happened seconds or minutes before. We have become accustomed to passing on information and sharing so much that we don't even stop to think if the information is ours to share.

When my baby was born I had a list of friends I wanted to share pictures and news with before posting anything on facebook. We had waited to find out the gender so I was especially eager to share the name and details. The day after Charlotte was born I decided I wanted to make an announcement on facebook and saw someone had posted on my site a congratulations for having a girl. I had not said anything about being in labor or having delivered my baby except to those I had called and texted so I was furious. Luckily I was able to delete the post before anyone saw so I could release the information myself. I know the congratulations was well intentioned but it was my news to share first and I didn't want anyone to steal my moment. This was precisely why I announced my pregnancy so early on because I didn't want the excitement of me announcing to be taken away by anyone else who knew.

I found out my very best friends baby was born on facebook before I even got a text from her because a mutual friend posted something about it first. From deaths to births, break-ups, engagements, wedding photos, surprise parties and even new seems nothing is immune from being shared via social media these days. My husband maintains that if one chooses to be a part of social media than the risk you are taking is that you will have something revealed to you or about you that you didn't authorize. While I agree to an extent, I also believe that if it isn't your news don't share it.

Repeat after me friends, "I will not share news that isn't mine to share." There. You've just saved yourself from the fall out of any and every relationship you deem valuable. When you see a friend with a sparkly new diamond ring on THAT finger in yoga class, don't go home and write on her facebook, "Congratulations!" when you see no one else has said anything. Perhaps she hasn't had time to call her aunt yet who just happens to be on facebook as well. Don't twitter about your best friend's desire for lime popsicles means she has to be pregnant if she hasn't told you herself. If you really want to congratulate someone or ask a question about the status of their life why not just call them? Or better yet, wait until they tell you themselves. When I was pregnant I really disliked friends early on asking if I was pregnant because I wasn't drinking or staying out late, etc. If I wanted to broadcast the news I would in my own time and it put me in an awkward spot to either lie or swear them to secrecy.

So my friends, how has social media ruined your lives or at the very least your day? Have you ever had an unflattering photo of yourself posted at a birthday party you didn't want anyone knowing you were attending? Did you tell your mom you couldn't come visit because you weren't feeling well only to have your friend "tag" you out at the brewery with them? While information sharing has its perks and can alert us to danger, highway conditions or work closures, it can also cause a lot of heartache and anxiety. So the next time you have the urge to share ask yourself, "Is this MY news to tell? Does it benefit anyone from hearing this from me as opposed to the source?" If not, let's follow the elementary school rules of keeping to ourselves.

Motherhood as a competitive sport

For all my childless friends out there, I'm going to let you in on a little secret I had no idea about until I had a baby. It's a secret most mothers know but few will admit too. You've probably bared witness to it from the outside but had no idea how deep the iceberg went underneath the surface. Men don't understand it and balk at it. I tried to resist myself but have gotten swept away with the tide when I went over board.

Yes my friends....motherhood is a competitive sport.

I suppose it all begins with the pregnancy. Social media has exploited every last shred of our privacy so there's the pressure to make some grandiose announcement that you are expecting. Then comes the baby shower which, thanks to the Kardashians, has turned into more of an expectation for a huge party complete with gift bags rather than some tea and cake celebrating the mom-to-be. I'll admit I wanted the Pinterest perfect baby shower complete with a signature drink and monogrammed napkins but that just wasn't reality. After the baby's born then there's the "baby's here" announcement to which you must post a photo that's both timely and creative and nowadays - professional. With the introduction of professional birth photographers, there's the opportunity to have the biggest day of your lives documented to share with who else but your hundred closest friends and family. You don't even have to be camera ready...that's what blurred effects and photoshop are for.

Once upon a time, "keeping up with the joneses" meant professional landscaping and having a nice car in the driveway. We compared ourselves with our friends and neighbors but only to the point of what we could outwardly see. We didn't have a glimpse inside the private moments that we do now. Today we see everything from how many presents our frenemy in high school bought her child for Christmas to what our neighbors five year old birthday party was like. Social media has allowed us to share and overshare and consequentially has simultaneously lowered our self esteem and raised our expectations.

Let me tell you friends, the other mothers out there are fierce competitors. Seeing professional photos of other newborns led me to believe I too needed to pay for this luxury. And it is a luxury I must say. When I was born my parents took a few polaroid's and called it a day. Apparently however there's a deadline for when said newborn photos should be taken and at four weeks, my baby was past her baby modeling prime. The result was less than stellar pictures that made me feel horrible and my bank account sad. Never mind that I had taken about 300 other photos with my perfectly nice camera, in comparison I had failed my first duty as a new mom- professionally document life.

So I tried my best to keep up to this self imposed standard of being a good mom. We bought costumes and took photos at the pumpkin patch. We sat on Santa's lap and paid $40 for the "first Christmas" package. Charlotte had a professionally monogrammed stocking and I tried my best to fill it with baby appropriate toys. I tried my hand at making my own baby food, blogged about the major milestones saved every card and note Charlotte received to put into the baby book. Everything I saw other moms do that seemed like a "good mom thing to do" I did. I thought, if I could just have what the other moms had and do what the other moms did I might actually be considered good enough to join the ranks.

Charlotte's first birthday party was my moment to redeem myself from my shortcomings through the year. I hired a party planner and caterer and almost had a photographer come as well. Almost. My husband didn't understand why we needed to do one year photos or have a cake for Charlotte that was specifically for smashing in said photos. "Why are we doing this again?" he asked over and over. "What is the point?"

That's a question I started to internalize after Charlotte's birthday once I regained my sanity. What indeed is the point in trying to keep up with other moms? What is the use in comparing? If our child's birthday party isn't Pinterest worthy are they still loved? Do we ever do enough? The answer, I have found, is that we will always fall short when we start to compare and to compete. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." With social media I had been able to get a glimpse into the life of mother's around me and everyone it seemed was on a mission to outdo one another. So I have decided that from this point forward I would try and take myself out of the game and instead love and celebrate my child in a way that benefits us both.

Because no one sees the things that truly make us wonderful moms. People don't post pictures of themselves reading to their children at night or cleaning up vomit from the carpet from a sick baby. Friends don't share late night breast feeding sessions or

Conundrum Hiking + Yoga Retreat in Aspen Colorado October 3-5, 2014. Your fall colors adventure awaits!

Yogi Magee Expeditions is thrilled to announce dates and location for our Fall Colors Hiking Retreat. This retreat will be an express retreat especially designed for those who only have a two nights and three days to get away. We all have busy lives but you deserve to take some time for yourself to reconnect with nature, enjoy uninterrupted yoga sessions and soak in healing hot springs waters unspoiled by development. This hiking retreat is for those who are physically in shape to handle both altitude and a 2500 foot elevation gain with 16 miles roundtrip and 7 hours of hiking. The hike may be long but the reward is soaking in these beautiful hot springs surround by the Maroon Bells Wilderness:

Come explore Aspen with Yogi Magee Expeditions! From October 3-5th 2014 we will be lodging in beautiful Aspen, Colorado with a hike Saturday to the Conundrum Hot Springs and a hike Sunday to Crater Lake. Friday night I will hold a yoga session to prepare us for our long hike Saturday and post-hike Saturday we will open up the hamstrings, hips and stretch out our sore muscles with a yoga session back at our private accommodations:

This home is within walking distance to the lifts at Aspen Highlands and is only 2.5 miles from downtown Aspen. Offering 3.5 stories of living space, this retreat features a fully furnished kitchen, wireless internet, and cable tv. The large backyard backs to a private mountain forest perfect for hiking and the expansive deck is perfect for yoga and also boasts a hot tub.

Our hike Sunday will be much shorter than Saturday (about 2.5 miles) and will take us to the magnificent Crater Lake with stunning views of the Maroon Bells (the most photographed mountains in North America) and Pyramid Peak:

The best part about this expedition is it takes place in the fall when the Aspens will be turning their brilliant shade of gold. Expect any weather this time of year from 70 degree temps to snowfall! Rain or shine we will hike, explore, relax, reconnect with nature and you'll be sure to make new friends.

While the hiking on this retreat is not particularly technical it is long, therefor I am limiting the amount of participants to 9. You must be in good health with the ability to hike 16 miles total in the course of a day. The views alone will be worth it and you'll be treated to an experience like no other.

Ready to commit to the adventure to kick start your fall? Sign up below! Cost is $425. $100 deposit required at time of booking or you may pay the amount in full. You'll see three options for payment in the drop down boxes. Price includes three yoga sessions, two hiking excursions, shared accommodations and space for three cars to park (carpooling suggested).Total amount is due 60 days before the retreat. If you have any questions please contact me at

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