Back in September, I was not in a good place. I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and unsure how to keep ahead of four small children. My kiddos were all over the place, not listening, and I found myself raising my voice much more than I would like.
There have been tons of articles and blog posts in the past year written on the “evils of social media” and how it is overcoming our lives and stealing our time. I think that’s a bit much. Granted, the nature of social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc) can make them very addictive and if you aren’t careful, they can quickly become a priority in your life, to the detriment of other things.
When Jarvis was little I made a decision to not participate in any of the games that come with social media, or app games on my phone. For me it’s all or nothing on those, and there’s simply no benefit to my time from them. But I still had Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest on my computer and phone.
But there I found myself in September, mentally overwhelmed and unable to keep up with all that needed to be done. There simply wasn’t enough time or mental energy to focus on everything. So something had to go. I spent one whole day really paying attention to where my time was going.
I spend a lot of time preparing, serving, and cleaning up food, and a fair portion of time doing laundry and changing diapers. Those couldn’t go, and neither could time playing and reading with my kids. But what could go? social media. I discovered I had this urge to check something. Just to check it. In case I missed something. Ummmm, missed what?? A picture? A piece of important news from a friend? Don’t get me wrong, my friends are important to me. I have friends all over the world and I value their friendships and I’m not very good at staying in contact. Facebook and Instagram were an easy way to do that. But in building those friendships and staying in touch, I was missing time to build a better relationship with my kids. And to be brutally honest, my kids will ALWAYS come before friends. They should. They will only be little for so long, and they need training and love and mercy right now. Not a mom who is so focused on who just announced their pregnancy that she doesn’t have time to focus on them.
This season I’m in, it’s just that, a season. I truly believe that social media can be uplifting and a learning tool, as well as an important social tool, especially for stay at home moms! However, right now, it was filling my brain and distracting me too much from everything else that needed my attention.
So I decided to give up social media for the month of October. I deactivated my Facebook account and deleted Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest off my phone. I knew I would continue to take pictures and share them on my photo stream with family. At first, it was hard. I was just so used to looking at my phone. After a couple of days I decided to go back on Instagram on my phone, but only while the kids were sleeping. My group is much smaller on Instagram and it was the perfect amount of interaction.
I honestly really enjoyed the month, more than I expected! The only things I missed about facebook was the ability to message friends or acquaintances with questions or information. I really didn’t miss Pinterest at all!
I am back on Facebook now, but it will be in a very limited sense. Just like Instagram, it will only be while the kids are asleep, and it will really only be to post pictures or check in with specific friends. I have chosen to “hide” posts from many people or groups that I do not feel the need to get updates from- although they are still my friends and I can go check on their personal page as I wish. This has reduced my news feed significantly, so when I do get on, it takes a few minutes to check updates and I’m less likely to get sucked in for a couple of hours! And I only get on Pinterest when I am looking for something specific, not to scroll recent pins! And I have not added Pinterest or Facebook back to my phone, so that makes them easier to avoid.
So that is what is working for me! I have discovered my kids are happier, I have more patience, they get into less trouble, and we are making more memories! Social media is not an evil on it’s own, it becomes that when you allow it to be more important than other things. Just like guns don’t kill people, people do. So I encourage every one of my friends to evaluate their priorities and find where social media lies- and do something about it if you have to!
(All pictures are fun times we enjoyed during my social media free month!)