I’m addicted to social media.
It started out harmless. As a new Mom with my first baby, I felt so isolated. I felt trapped in the house all the time, thanks to nap schedules. Then I had a baby and a toddler and I felt even more confined as their naps didn’t line up and someone always needed to be asleep. I was lonely yet never alone, and I think I had postpartum depression that I tried my best to deny.
I had a few private Facebook groups where I was an active poster. It really helped- human connection without leaving the house, other Moms to talk to who were in the same life stages as me, a place to go for advice on this parenting thing that I thought I was failing.
It was wonderful to type out a few sentences here and there, in-between tantrums and diaper changes. It may take all day to have a whole conversation, but a conversation was still happening in a time of my life where I couldn’t make a complete sentence on the phone without countless interruptions. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am to have a safe space to talk about anything without fear of judgement. No topic was taboo and it was so refreshing.
My kids got older. I had a third baby, and social media was there to entertain me through hours of nursing a half-asleep baby. So please don’t think I’m hating on social media by this post. Clearly, I love it and it has saved me so many times- someone is always around no matter the time of day; whatever my problem may be, there is someone out there with a similar issue and we can work through it together. I no longer felt alone.
But now my third baby is in preschool. I’ve finally taken a deep breath of fresh air. Thanks to preschool and my gym membership, I get face time with actual real live people on a daily basis. My business keeps me busy with meetings- more people! I can make complete sentences with people when I choose to have conversations during preschool hours (this is probably my favorite part!)
And yet, I still find myself scrolling mindlessly through social media feeds.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel like I am a neglectful parent. I’m not glued to my phone all day long and I do love to interact with my kids. But I found myself reaching for it as soon as I woke up, staring at it while cooking, unlocking it to check for updates at the dinner table, plus countless other bits of downtime. Have I forgotten how to just BE? How many times have my kids not seen my face, but just the top of my head, because I’m too engrossed in scrolling? How much of my day have I completely wasted? It sneaks up on you, stealing your life in 10-15 minute chunks all day long.
Lately, I’ve felt especially stressed out. There’s not enough time in the day, and too much to accomplish. My house is a wreck, my work deadlines are piling up, and the kids have countless activities to get shuttled to and from. I was worrying about this last night while reading. The chapter was called “concentration” and it was talking about how to use concentration and habit forming to achieve your goals.
I had to read a few of the paragraphs several times to really let it sink in. What was I concentrating on? How did I truly spend my days? Were my habits constructive or destructive?
I found my eyes sliding over to my phone.
Social media can be a wonderful thing, but it was time for me to realize that it has served it’s purpose. It helped me find connection when I felt the most alone. But now I’m no longer alone. Now it’s just a time suck, stealing away my ability to be productive, in 10-15 minutes chunks throughout the day. Add that all up and it’s at least 2 hours that could have been dedicated to something worthwhile. Or at least dedicated to all the crap I’ve been procrastinating on accomplishing.
I grabbed my phone, and then hesitated. I knew what was holding me back- it was fear of missing out. There was so much information at my fingertips. Articles I’ve enjoyed reading, status updates of friends, adorable pictures of my friend’s kids. But what value is all this information actually adding to my life?
My friends can still text me their cute kids. And if we aren’t close enough to text- do I really need to see a picture of their kids every day? Is it really going to impact my actual day-to-day, real offline life if I miss out on something posted by the girl I sat next to in 10th grade math and haven’t seen since?
That revelation is what did it for me. I deleted the app last night, and exhaled.
Today I felt much less overwhelmed. I got more done. I had better conversations with the kids. And I still carved out 15 minutes to scroll through Facebook on my actual computer once the kids went to bed, so it’s not like I live under a rock now. I just don’t need the constant steady updates. It makes me feel insecure, comparing all my mistakes and failures to someone else’s extremely curated highlight reel online.
So, friends, if something happens and I need to know about it: text me. Chances are I won’t see it otherwise.
I’m keeping messenger, because I don’t use it often. And I’m keeping the business pages app, because I’m still running a business page that needs maintained, but no longer will I be tempted to mindlessly scroll my life away.