You can never get enough of what you don’t need.
This rings so true for me when it comes to Instagram. Whether it’s simply consuming the information or the actual purchasing of items we see on the app. You get addicted to the tips, tricks, news, drama, latest and greatest new baby items, and ways to improve your look with makeup/skincare/clothing/etc. While I do think that the app can be wonderful for learning some parenting tips/hacks (or other info), you can also do just fine without it.
I am an ennegram 8 (wing 7) and have a Type A personality. I am a HARD worker and will work until work is complete, it’s engrained in me. While that may seen great it’s also a curse because I have a hard time putting work away. The blessing of this blog/brand has been amazing in these past few years that have allowed me to essentially work more from home and I am forever grateful for that. Some people can set those clear boundaries and only do work during “work hours” from home and maybe even have the ability to put their phone away for hours at a time but for me, this is tough. With “influencing” you can make more money the more you work. You can feature more sales, book more campaigns with brands (which in turn means more emails, contracts, analytics, managing invoices, etc), build your community by answering emails and responding to hundreds of DMs PER DAY. It’s overwhelming. I have never been one to want someone to answer my emails or DMs as this is MY brand and I feel that it needs to be ME who answers people. This has all taken its toll over the years to the point where I feel suffocated. The truth is the work of an “influencer” is never finished. There is no “end” to the day. There is always more you can do and a never ending inbox of messages on ‘the gram and email. For a personality like mine, this is a nightmare combination and it’s hard for me to disconnect. Stepping away from Instagram removes me from a lot of that. It takes so much time to create content, shoot content for stories, respond to DMs, etc. Of course I could do less and create strict parameters for myself but I know that I would always be making “exceptions” to my own rules and end up back where I started. Removing it is the best option for myself and more importantly, my family. I want my children to remember their mom and someone who would wake up early to exercise, water the garden, make their lunches, have deep conversations with them after school, make yummy dinners and let them help, reading books, organizing the home, etc. I don’t want them to have this engrained image of me checking my phone for everything.
I put together a blog post on cell phones, social media + kids here if you want to read that!
Have you ever taken a real break from your phone and realized how many times you reach for it per day? Do you reach for it when you go to use the bathroom? Do you reach for it when you are in the car pick up line at school? Do you reach for it with any *blank* moment you have? Looking to fill that blank moment with stuff you see online. A constant outpouring of information, new jeans, a prettier home, activities that you can do with your kids, etc. Often times, we don’t even give ourselves the time to actually think anymore. Maybe just that time we have when we take a shower because our phones can’t get wet? When I took a long break from social media back in January I was lost in that first 1-2 weeks away. I constantly reached for my phone and then once it was in my hand I remembered “Oh, yea. I am not going on social media this month. What else can I do?” By weeks 3-4 I was elated not to be reaching for my phone. I was having more fulfilled conversations with family & friends. I was filling my time with thoughts, books, and more time with family/friends. Don’t get me wrong here. I DO think that there are some great advantages to social media – like making you feel less alone in some of your feelings (especially as a mom) and there are quite a few accounts that I truly love following. However, I do find that it is difficult to narrow it down to just enjoying those few accounts and not engaging in the mindless scrolling and other things I do on there (like chat with a lot of strangers in DMs). In Glennon’s book (Untamed) this part really hit me….
“But I find myself worrying most that when we hand our children phones we steal their boredom from them. As a result, we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess of the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt’s guitar and start strumming.”
“I also read that Ed Sheeran gave up his phone.”
“Why do you imagine he did that?”
“He said that he wants to create things instead of looking at things other people create, and he wants to see the world through his own eyes instead of through a screen.”
I want to be bored again (although with 4 kids, how bored will I really get? ha!). I want to have empty space in my day where my mind wanders without filling it with social media. I want to CREATE again.
We see these detrimental effects in ALL ages, not just children or teens, but adults too. I think the last 2 years of COVID have made this even worse since many of us were unable to connect in person. There are absolutely wonderful things about technology – like chatting with a family member that lives overseas but overall I think we need to be spending much more time off our phone and more time planning quality time with friends and family. There is nothing better than a 1:1 conversation with eye contact, empathetic gestures, practicing listening to one another and having that quality connection. In fact, it’s something we absolutely need as a human species to feel less alone.
When Grown-Ups Have Imaginary Friends – NY Times
“The smartphone is causing a social reversal; the desire to be alone in public and never alone in seclusion.” – Tony Reinke
I find that there is some really helpful tips online especially when it comes to parenting skills (Hey, Dr Becky!!) BUT I have found that in the past few years that it’s INFORMATION OVERLOAD for me personally. I get so many ideas of things to do with my kids, ways to dress, ways to do makeup, meal ideas, etc that I found myself almost at a standstill. What should I even do next? There are SO many options. My brain right now is in need of stillness. I need my brain to be less stimulated and the only way to do that is to lessen the available content that social media delivers every day.
“Here’s to finding peace in the act of redefining success. Here’s to finding true, fulfilling joy in simply being present to what is good and beautiful in this life.” MHN
I cannot imagine the amount of time I will gain back in my life but the majority of it will be spent with the people I love. With any extra time, I would love to start a new hobby. While I was reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport there was an entire chapter on this. It’s so important to use our brains in this way. I have always loves arts + crafts and I want to include my kids too. I found this Crafters Box and thought it was pretty cool!
Despite many people becoming vulnerable on social media these days it’s still an incredible unrealistic view of what life is really like for most people. I am reminded of this with every shift I work in the ED and I see young cancer patients battling for their life, abuse, violence, loss of a loved one……..
Life is happening while many of us are scrolling and we are missing out on real connection with real people. In that line waiting to pay for groceries, talk with that older gentleman who seems lonely. While on a walk, chat with your neighbors and get to know them better. Call a friend that you haven’t spoken with in awhile instead of scrolling their Instagram feed.
Social media is something that many people “show” up for. It’s a stage. We feel obligated to be part of it because everyone is there. I promise that you are not missing out on anything if you decide to leave. In fact, I may argue that you are missing out if you decide to stay.
On a daily basis we are introduced to so many topics via social media. Here is a new recipe for you to try! How about this Christmas gift for your child? Have you ever thought about critical race theory? Here is an article for you to read about how to manage your time. This new show, Maid is excellent, wait it tonight. COVID is spiking again in certain countries, why is that? Have your kids been vaccinated? Here are the reasons why you should. Here’s a great snack idea for kids.
It goes on + on + on all day long whenever you are “logged on”. In the height of using my phone I would screenshot everything so that I could go back to it later on. I never went back to anything I screenshot and one day I woke up and I swear it felt like my brain was broken. I couldn’t think anymore. It was as if everything was on hyper speed. I had trouble just sitting. Just being alone with my own thoughts and feelings.
We are being bombarded with new information at an unsettling pace and we are just not made to be able to process that much information. Period. We can never think deeply enough because we are already on to the next topic/subject. I want to be able to live more slowly. To think more deeply. Solitude.
Podcast Episode Recommendation: Your Undivided Attention: Behind the Curtain on The Social Dilemma
If you haven’t seen the documentary “The Social Dilemma”, I highly recommend it.