“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…and made me feel terrible. First off, I felt insecure about my own home. I had already lived in it for six months and there was still so much furnishing and decorating left to do. I felt like it was never going to look as nice as this “friend’s” house did. Secondly, and what had me feeling even more 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 by feelings of inadequacy and comparison. I was no fun to relate to.
Something had to give. But what could I do? 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 my mind as I kicked off 2018.
And so, during the second week of January, in an attempt to see if I really was addicted and 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 it, I can’t have it in the house. Plain and simple. I am not an “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 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 used 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 can lose track of time, like you are in some weird time vortex; during my social media hiatus, I also lost track of time and how long it had been since I checked a social media app. 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 five 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.
As an added bonus, I found that the break from social media gave me 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 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, five 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 and trying to eat relatively healthy, 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 are slowly becoming 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 as 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 even with all that potential for good, there was a different kind of good that I discovered during my hiatus from social media, one that impacted my identity, and even more so, 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.
My precious are my boys; my husband and my 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.