“Play with me mommy,” my three-year-old said as he dropped to our family room floor, picking up some cars and racing them around on the carpet.
“Give me a second, sweetheart,” I replied as I plopped onto my favorite oversized leather chair, sunk back and put my feet up on the ottoman while my newborn snoozed in the swing. Instinctively I picked up my phone, always close by. A second turned into a minute, which turned into several minutes of me staring at my little device. Soon I was spiraling down a rabbit hole as I found myself looking at a Facebook “friend’s” remodel of their new home.
“Mommy, put down your phone and play with me.”
That phrase awoke me from a stupor…feeling terrible. First off, I felt insecure about my own home, having lived in it for six months already and feeling like I had so much furnishing and decorating still to do and that it was never going to look as nice as this “friend’s” house did. And secondly, and what had me feeling the most terrible, was the total and utter guilt about my mommying. Once again, I had put my phone in front of my family, figuratively and quite literally. My phone was again this barrier between me and the ones I cared about the most.
I don’t know about you, but this scenario was an ongoing occurrence in my life. It took on different forms, but the end result was usually the same. Me, distracted and feeling insecure about myself and my life. And my family only getting part of me, a part tarnished with feelings of inadequacy and comparison. I was no fun to relate to.
Something had to give. But what could I do? I mean getting off social media wasn’t an option for me. I needed it to share my life and pics of my kiddos with friends and family that don’t live in Colorado. I needed it to be my platform to inspire women on their health and fitness journeys as well as keep me accountable on my own post-partum journey. I needed Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell things I needed for our new home. I needed it to make sure I didn’t miss birthdays and important events in everyone’s lives. I needed, I needed, I needed social media.
But let’s be honest, did I really need it? Or was I simply addicted to it? Those questions plagued by mind as I kicked off 2018.
And so in an attempt to see if I really was addicted, the second week of January, inspired by my sister who has done several social media “fasts”, I managed to talk myself into taking a few days off from all things social media…GASP!
To prevent any slip ups I removed Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone. I knew that even if I moved them into a folder or put them on the last screen of my phone, I would still be tempted to open them up. I just don’t have that kind of discipline. It’s like me with sugar. If I don’t want to eat, I can’t have it in the house. Plain and simple. I am not “eat only one cookie and save the rest” type of girl. If I bake a dozen cookies, they will be gone by the following day. Just ask my husband.
Figuring my discipline with food would spill over into my discipline with social media, I pressed that little “x” on the app…with a heart pounding and palms sweating I might add. Step one complete.
Step two, trying not to give into withdrawal symptoms. That week I felt major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). I felt like the entire world was having a party that I was not invited to. And as weird as it sounds, I had FOMO about sharing my own life on social media. I had gotten so use to sharing about my world via posts that it felt weird to not share about my growing family, my workouts, my food, my mood, my weekend plans, my life in general. I had a three-year-old, a newborn and life was nuts! There were SO MANY THINGS TO SHARE. And for a while there, I couldn’t help but see every moment of my life through the lens of “how can I turn this into a post?” Talk about needing a social media break.
But just like when you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed you kinda fall into a time vortex; during my social media hiatus, something similar happened. A week of no social media turned into another week of no social media, which turned into a month, which has now turned into over four months. Wow, never did I ever anticipate that! After the withdrawal symptoms went away I honestly started to just forget about being on social media. It became less of a habit.
And bonus, with that break from social media, I oddly found it was a break from my phone in general. There was less checking email, less immediately responding to text messages, less online shopping. Just less technology. And while yes, there have been less photos and videos of my little ones that I have taken, the ones I have captured without the purpose of a post have been beautiful. I have been able to just revel in precious moments, enjoying my family and with little to no time screen between us.
So here I am, four months later, “socializing” and letting you all know that nothing terrible has happened to us. We are alive and well even though sometimes life is a bit chaotic as a family of four. My little newborn in now six months old and we are getting into our new normal. I am slowly returning to work (both with marketing and fitness). I am still working out almost daily but giving myself grace upon grace to shed the baby weight. And I am dreaming big about what we want out of this year as we finally have a semblance of stability. And the beauty of it all is that my dreams have become more my own, and not dreams that are a result of comparing myself to others.
So, to wrap things up, what can I say after my social media hiatus? Let me first state that I do not believe social media is a bad thing. I have used it to reconnect with people that I have lost touch with. I have used it to make new friendships in my new home city of Colorado Springs. It has helped me stay in touch with friends and family I don’t get to see because we live in separate cities or even countries. I have used parts of social media a source of inspiration and motivation. And I have hopefully used it to inspire and help others along the way with some of my own posts. I can 100% see the good that can come from it.
But for as much of the good there is with social media, this hiatus was so good for identity and even more so, for my soul. It also reminded me that my phone is not “my precious” as my husband half-jokingly, half-serious says all the time. It is just one more thing that I own, like a spatial, excerpt way more useful and way more expensive, nonetheless just a thing.
My precious are my boys; my husband and two little men. My precious is my time with Jesus. My precious are my friends who I can see in person or pick up the phone and call. My precious is not my phone and my worth is not measured by the amount of views, likes or comments on a post.
And I am thankful I allowed myself the time to remember that.
And I’ll probably have to take some time again in the future to be reminded of it again. Old habits die hard.