My Facebook posts were a lot more interesting before I became a mom

I first heard about Facebook while living in Thailand, by a Canadian girl who worked in the refugee camps with me.  I was nearing the end of my contract and Amy, who also lived across the street (it was a very small town), introduced me to the site as a way to keep in touch after I left the country.  She had asked me “Are you on Facebook?”  to which I replied “What the heck is Facebook?”

That was in 2007.  Now it seems that everyone and their father (including mine) is on Facebook.  When I joined, I “friended” family members, old friends, and classmates, as well as my coworkers at ARC and colleagues in Thailand working for other organizations that helped Burmese refugees.  I even became Facebook friends with people I met at a two-week training in Paris before leaving for my mission in South Sudan.  Although we had just met, an immediate bond forms when working for the same non-profit organization, and even among humanitarian aid workers in general.  Facebook was a convenient way to keep in touch with these colleagues, not only to be updated with their whereabouts and the projects they were involved in, but also for the likelihood that we could run into each other in the field (happens quite a bit).  Facebook was also a good way to offer a glimpse of our lives without a lengthy mass e-mail.  Some of my posts while working and living in South Sudan:

“I’m afraid a rat will crawl onto my bed while I’m sleeping, gnaw its way through my mosquito net, and eat my face off.”

“Had to dump a bucket of water over my head at 2:30 in the morning in order to get to sleep last night”

“Evacuated…again”

“Back in Malakal, where men marry goats and donkeys commit suicide!”

*I have to thank Facebook’s new timeline format for the ease in accessing these past posts!

Since I’ve settled back in the U.S. and had kids, my life and Facebook status updates have become pretty mundane.  When my kids were just babies, I often posted about their sleep issues while complaining about my lack of sleep.  Later on, I talked about their eating habits (as well as mine).  I posted about trips we took as a family.  On rare occasions I would mention a child-free outing (like an anniversary dinner, baseball game or rock concert), and once in a great while I’d comment about sports (New Orleans Saints winning the Superbowl) or politics (Obama winning the ’08 presidential election).

I am still in touch with my humanitarian aid friends via Facebook, and I love reading updates about their new missions, projects they are involved in, and cultural differences in their host countries.  I can live vicariously through their work and travels while I stay put in Arizona.  And even though the time we actually spent together was brief, I will always feel connected with them through the intense and unique experiences we shared abroad.  Also, having these friends all over the world makes me realize how small it really is, and I hold on to the hope that I will see them again (perhaps when I go back to the field someday?).  On the other hand, I have met a lot of wonderful people since moving to Tucson, most of them new moms with kids the same ages as mine.  Like in the humanitarian field, there is an instant bond that develops when you discover that you have one major thing in common.  It’s reassuring to know that there are others going through the same things as you, and Facebook has been a great way to share stories, tips, advice, or just plain sympathy with these other new moms.

Yes, the life of a humanitarian aid worker is more exciting and the Facebook status updates are more interesting to read (sorry moms).  And although working in the humanitarian field is meaningful and rewarding (sometimes), being a mom is even more so.  Sure, my day-to-day isn’t quite as exciting and my posts have become downright boring at times.  That’s my life right now.  And I’m okay with that.

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