No, Mom. We Cannot Be Facebook Friends!
My mom and I are sort of like friends these days. As I edge nearer to middle age and she edges near to straight up old, we've swept some issues under the rug and decided it's more important to keep walking hand in hand (from 700 miles away) in this thing we call life without so much of the unnecessary quarrels that riddled the first 25 years of my life. That decision was costly, both emotionally and financially, and while I can't speak for her I bet she's as exhausted as I am from analyzing my every moment of life that involves her. (But she shouldn't be. Because she never bothered to show up for family therapy.) So much for sweeping shit under the rug, huh?
That being said, as much as I love her and even like her, and vice versa (I'm sure), she cannot have access to my Facebook timeline. Actually, I don't have the timeline yet, but I fully intend on excluding her from that part of my life, too. I know I'm not adding much to the conversation; it's probably the same reasons you gave your parents. But here's why I hit REJECT:
Facebook is personal in a very public kind of way. So personal that I excitedly countdown the minutes until the next episode of Downton Abbey airs because I can't wait to watch the interactions between Lady Mary and Captain Crawley. (Who else is so done with Mrs. Bates? I know it's a drama and so there must be drama, but Anna deserves this!) Facebook is so personal that it's public knowledge that -- er...well, never mind. It's actually not that public. I do have some privacy settings.
Do I really care about my privacy? After all, I blog about my life, about my family, about politics and celebrities. If you had to guess, you'd probably say no. But the short answer isn't very short at all. The long answer is that my mother cares about her privacy (and I'm saddled up in the bulk of all things belonging to her and her privacy being her daughter and all). So I do my best not to upset her. Unless I'm intentionally trying to be mean. Even then, I leak something from my really private blog to my sister so I can pretend what I said was confidential, knowing damn well my sister will report back to mom in T-2 seconds. She's such a pawn.
Luckily, Facebook has figured out some of these privacy concerns. Like, I don't care if my public Facebook world pictures of me wasted, double fisted, or dropping it like it's hot in a manwich on top of the bar. (Oh, to be young). But some things a mother shouldn't have to know about her daughter. Not if she still likes her daughter. Those kinds of pictures can make their way into the family photo library after they've married me off and I've given them 2.5 grandkids, when I've earned that kind of reckless and embarrassing behavior.
Still, if I added my mom on Facebook and then made her into an acquaintance with the limited restrictions (the ones that everyone except my BFFs have, including their parents, third cousins, former teachers and supervisors), that would just be weird. She's my mom, for Pete's sake. Not my middle school chorus teacher. Not my high school theater director. Not some distant third cousin (like Captain Crawley!!!) -- who I really don't know, but was guilted into friending by my first cousins who swore we met at so-an-so's wedding back in 1987.
So when mom called and asked when I would accept her friendship request, I actually told her the truth. "You might not understand this, but you don't actually want to be my facebook friend. Not if you want to be my friend IRL." I said IRL on purpose, too, because I know using internet lingo is the best way to confuse her, change the subject, and make her see that she's lost in this new world.
And, "I don't want to read which Progressive soup didn't agree with you for dinner last night on your status update. You should call me for stuff like that." Darling, aren't I?
Similarly, if I drunk text a stupid boy at 4 am (she doesn't even know that I still do that) and then make fun of myself in a typical self-deprecating fashion on my Facebook status, I don't want her calling me the next morning to see if I'm okay. Because she would do that. She would call at 9 o'clock in the morning without thinking about the fact that I'm still sleeping, probably still drunk, possibly hungover, and without the faintest memory of sending him that
sext* text message.
Mom doesn't know me like that. And I hope she never does.
*A joke. A really, bad joke.
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By Lisa Owen