Wednesday 2 December 2015

Forgetting Advent & Why I Need Facebook

I have been ready for Christmas for months. I bought Ebony’s advent calendar in September. I know, I’m sick, but I had Amazon vouchers so it made sense to buy it sooner rather than later. I bought her a Playmobil advent calendar, they’re not cheap but they’re also not sugary so I feel like it’s worth it. Also, I love Playmobil. The advent calendar was upstairs hidden under a growing pile of Christmas presents. It was at the very bottom of the pile, balanced on a rickety bookcase, groaning under the pressure of all the Christmas crap I’ve bought over the past few months.

I’m so ready for Christmas, I almost forgot about it. On Monday night, after a busy evening of knitting in front of the television (I’m watching Friends for the first time in years, the fashion has aged badly but the jokes are still mostly excellent), I was ready for bed. I checked Facebook on my phone just before going up and saw a photo of a homemade balloon advent calendar a mother had made for her son. It suddenly dawned on me that I had failed to remember to dig out Ebony’s advent calendar, and so I had to scramble up to my office to find it. After heaving down a few boxes of presents, I eventually found the advent calendar and put it on the fireplace in the front room.

I really don’t know how people parented before Facebook. I would forget everything if it wasn’t for the smug statuses of other parents reminding me that I need to apply for school places, sort out advent calendars and attend birthday parties. I’m completely and utterly useless. Thank god Facebook exists to make me seem like a better parent than I really am. So, here are five reasons why Facebook is a useful tool in my parenting tool kit, or whatevs:

1. It reminds me about important things
Ebony is three, she wouldn’t have woken up this morning expecting to find an advent calendar. She wouldn’t have known any different until the got to nursery and found everyone talking about their chocolates,and suddenly she’d have felt very left out. In fact, she is probably still disappointed to hear that other kids get to have chocolate in their advent calendar while she’s stuck with plastic toys.

2. It lets me vent
Some days are wonderful and joyous and I feel like I should get some kind of mother award for being the best mama ever. And, erm, other days I don’t. Some days I wonder where I went wrong, curse myself and count to 10 a lot. On those days, Facebook provides some light relief. I can go on there and vent in a sympathetic group of friends. That sort of mid-crisis parenting vent is truly priceless.

3. It gives advice
On those crap days where I’m struggling to find my Best Mama Ever trophy, Facebook often lends a helping hand. There are always helpful articles and blog posts being shared, explaining how and why to tackle behaviour or strengthen your relationship with your child. In fact, these articles are often shared at such timely moments that I have often wondered whether I’m being spied on. Are my friends watching me right now? Can they see me losing my cool, is that why they are all sharing that post now?

4. It stores memories
Time passes so fast, but it’s hard to keep track of it when you’re busy being a parent, earning a living and watching Harry Potter. It’s not often I find the time to really sit down and think about how much things have changed. I really love that Facebook reminds me of how much life has changed over the past few years. Facebook recently told me that the above photo is one year old, isn’t that crazy? She looks so much more than just a year younger there. It made me realise how fast my little girl is growing.

5. It’s great for inspiration
You know those days where you just feel a bit meh? You can’t seem to find your get up and go, or think of anything exciting to do. Well, Facebook is great for those days. There are always parents on there posting statuses about nature trails they’ve been on with their kids, and photos of arts and crafts activities. If you can’t be arsed to think of something to do, just nick an idea from one of your Facebook friends. Your child will be none the wiser, they’ll just think you’re the creative, innovative and fun parent you wish you had the energy to be.

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