I was an asshole on social media the other day.
A conversation about buying pants devolved into a discussion about pre- and post-partum pants sizes and culminated with me (for some stupid reason) posting my weight chart that showed that, yes, I lost all but about 4 pounds of the baby weight by two months post-partum (and therefore fit into my pre-preggo pants and didn’t need to buy new ones).
To which my online conversation partner replied that post-partum women REALLY don’t want to hear that I fit into pre-pregnancy clothing at the end of maternity leave. It’s really difficult to hear, she said.
That was when I finally realized that I was being an asshole, and I hadn’t even meant to be.
I apologized to everyone privately and went about my day feeling like an asshole, even though everyone said we were cool.
But then my brain went somewhere else.
How many lifestyle-related things do I read on social media that are “difficult to hear” from my point of view?
My instance of assholery was different, because it was in the context of a specific conversation. The recipient of my assholery pointed out, while accepting my apology, that she doesn’t post to Facebook about certain baby-related milestones specifically because her friend’s baby has trouble with those same things, and she doesn’t want to upset her friend by rubbing it in her face. Which is very sensitive and supportive and considerate.
And unusual, especially in the realm of social media.
What kinds of things come onto my radar from unsuspecting friends and acquaintances that are difficult for me to hear?
Parents who can leave their children with the grandparents for an entire week to go on a tropical vacation.
(My Mom isn’t fast enough to keep up with a four-year-old for an entire week, and neither Connor nor Grammy are ready for an overnight quite yet. We haven’t had a proper vacation in four years. Hell, the last time I didn’t have to wake up with my son on a weekend was when I was out of state for a funeral.)
People who chose not to be parents going on vacations and doing fun things that I wish I were doing.
(I made the choice to go on birth control and not be a parent… until the birth control failed, and I didn’t feel comfortable at that point making any other choice but to be a parent.)
People who chose to be parents who should by all rights be frazzled and miserable, but are still embracing the happiness.
(Girl’s Gone Child, I’m looking at you.)
Parents who can leave their kids with their spouse (or family member, or sitter) on a weeknight and go to a networking event, or to the salon, or to hang out with friends, or to a concert.
(My husband and I work opposite shifts, and see one another for about 20 minutes after I come home and he leaves for work. Grammy lives 2.5 hours away.)
Parents who take their kids traveling.
(We haven’t tried it yet. We’re afraid to. Connor has never slept overnight anywhere but in his crib/toddler bed at home, and has only taken a 2.5-hour car ride max. We have memories of what traveling used to be, before we had to wrangle another small human being, and I’m afraid we would expect/remember that and it would make the trip un-fun for us.)
People I know getting together with each other and doing fun things.
(When was the last time someone invited me to do something fun? I host two parties at my house every year — Memorial Day and Labor Day — and those are always fun. I asked some friends if we could have a game night last fall, and that was fun. But if anyone asks me? Reference previous point. I actually have been invited to the occasional game night or party, now that I think of it, but they’re not compatible with a preschooler, and we only get our sitter once a month. People have stopped asking.)
Basically, it’s difficult to hear that other people are happier than I am.
Wow, that’s a depressing realization.
Can’t I be happy for other people? Is my happiness dependent on how many non-work-related adult interactions I can have, or how many vacations I can take?
I’m not unhappy, per se. Life is certainly not bad. This post is probably difficult for someone out there to hear (read), because I’m actually pretty OK. I don’t hate my job — for the most part, I actually like it. I’m generally healthy (with the occasional neck or back issue). I get enough sleep. My husband and I don’t fight. We’re not stressed out about money. We have a roomy house with a sunroom and beautiful flowerbeds. Our son is smart, polite (except when he’s not), and mostly potty-trained.
I guess it all comes down to basing my happiness on the happiness of others. If I allow myself to live in this moment, and choose not to compare this moment to the past, and choose not to compare my life to others’, I should be content. Right?
Maybe it’s time for another social media hiatus. Let’s hit the reset button.
PS: After I announced my hiatus on Facebook, but before I posted this entry to my blog, I got a text from a friend stating all the reasons I had already compiled but not yet posted for why I should be happy in my own right. That helped, and it helped me realize who really pays attention and who really cares.