I am not a high tech mama. I am trying to be one, but the oven gives me trouble, let alone Windows and iTunes. That being said, I have spent the greater part of today establishing new Apple IDs for my kids. Apparently, it is no longer recommended that we all share an ID. This week has been increasingly trying for some reason, because all of the sudden, my daughter is my son, he is her, and I am both. Facetime comes up with me ‘or four others’ every time one of us tries to facetime each other. We can see everybody’s texts and conversations. There is no privacy (my husband sent me a love text and everyone saw it- not good- we aren’t allowed to be romantic, apparently. The kids must think we asexually reproduce or something). I am having a meltdown, because it is (of course) all my fault because I was trying to be security mom by setting us all up on the same ID. I am the one who has to fix it. I have been on support sites, Google, and iTunes for four hours. I’m not even kidding. I can’t make this up. To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure I deleted Tommy’s account, which may mean I have to make a roadtrip to see him if I hope to communicate with him before Labor Day.
Meanwhile, there are people evacuating homes because of flooding in Louisiana, and children are starving in Africa. I am consumed with iTunes.
Houston, we have a problem.
I keep saying there has to be some middle ground between what I perceive to be a real problem, and a real problem. I think a lot of us are stuck in what seems like a feeling of despair. We can’t seem to make a difference on the big stuff, so we concentrate on the little stuff. I can’t end the famine in Africa, so I focus on the state of my floors. I don’t seem to be able to stop racism, so I focus on the weeds in the yard. No amount of debating seems to alter the human trafficking issue, so I worry incessantly about the kids’ safety. I don’t care for the candidates for President (any of them), so I am house-hunting in New Zealand and planning a defection. Today it’s Apple IDs, tomorrow it may be the heat index, but it is truly the perspective I need to focus on.
How does one change their perspective, though? I am fortunate enough to have had years of therapy, so I have that going for me. Seriously. I also like to think that people are not as bad as the media would lead us to believe. While I may be known as anxiety-girl in some circles, I am not afraid to travel, to let my kids play outside, nor am I scared of Zika, Ebola, or Avian Bird Flu (I am, however, diligent with washing my hands, and I make the kids take Airborne if someone we’ve been around turns up sick). I really do think most people want to help others, and most of us are good lending helping hands to those in need. Some of us just need to know where to look, perhaps, for ways to contribute to those in need, and certainly we need to know where to look for the good news, because it's not coming from CBS, NBC, or Fox. I’m wondering if we all just start to demand good news, would the media listen? Maybe changing perspective means choosing to listen to the good news, to filter out some of the noise of the bad news, and learning to live in a manner that is positive. I wrote about that (social parenting) a few weeks ago; we parents can’t get caught up in other peoples’ highlight reels as the normal everyday life that most of us live in. Nobody is beautifully made up and dressed in non-athletic wear every second of every day, and the children aren’t always looking like a Gymboree ad, either.
Perspective, also, depends on actively choosing the reality that things are not-that-bad for myself. For example, I know I couldn't do this life as an atheist. I love my church, my faith, and my God. Faith is just believing in what you don’t physically see, and having hope for a better tomorrow. Choosing faith means I know that there is going to be a good ending. All these bad, terrible, horrible things that can paralyze me (us) on this earth will end. While I may still freak out over my iTunes account and the dog hair that accumulates by the hour, I can have balance in not obsessing over everything, and I can focus on enjoying my hot, overgrown backyard. Why? Because I am blessed to be here, where I am, right here, right now. I’m super lucky to have the very problem that is my iTunes account. What are you blessed with? What makes you realize that you have a lot going for you? How will you take steps this week to have balance in what you worry over?
Here are a few good tips:
Turn off the news. At least don’t listen to it every moment, and refrain from watching it in front of your children. While you’re at it, go ahead and start a petition to insist that the media share the good news, too. I need to get on this, myself. And for heaven's sake, limit your time on Facebook!
Contribute to a charity through your church, or in your community. Serve at the homeless shelter, donate some food to the Serve food bank, bring a backpack or school supplies to a drop off location that is collecting for the new school year. Give back, pay it forward, and smile.
Breathe when you feel that anxiety creeping up. Decide if this situation is worth the worry it seems to be causing. Breathe some more. Pray. And, breathe.
While our first world problems are very much our very real problems, don’t be afraid to admit that it could be worse, it could be better, but it probably will be just OK. Tell your anxiety to get lost, and don’t let the web of electronics or dirty floors get you down. Technology will change, and dogs do shed. It’s normal.
We’re all a bit mad here, at our house, but we are trying to laugh and figure out who is calling when facetime rings; and the kids are currently being requested to just ignore lovenotes between us parents. I didn't vacuum for two whole days last week, and the world didn't implode. The kids are secure, the lawn will still have weeds in the morning, and iTunes will still have future updates.
Keep calm and parent on!