You might be cringing at the title of this post. I know my fingers were hesitant to type out what my mind was thinking as far as the title. But before you write off this post and throw it out, please read a little more. This is not going to make you rethink whether or not you should or should not be on social media. It’s simply to share with you my own struggles of it and where I find myself at these days.
Love it or hate it, social media has become huge in our society in the past couple of decades. It wasn’t even really a thing back when I was younger. High school maybe was the earliest I discovered it. And now, it’s huge. Everyone and everything is on social media.
We post the highlight reel, or sometimes the lowlights. Giving space to our corner of the world, proudly showing off our child’s accomplishments, sharing our favorite products, using it as a space to bring awareness to certain topics and so much more.
I found myself becoming painfully aware of my need for social media a handful of years ago. I would sit on facebook for hours. Not at a time, but over the course of the day I would check it and post and recheck it and sometimes post again and then obviously I would have to check it again. I would read through other’s posts constantly, and then I would find ways I wasn’t measuring up.
My attitude and outlook on life became more easily influenced by what I was reading. My time with my oldest was often interrupted so that I could see what the latest and greatest was. It became my escape.
One weekend, we went camping with a couple of other families. The kids played hard in the dirt. The husbands talked about bikes and things of that sort. And us moms talked about everything. Our kids, our plans for future babies, our hopes and dreams. Our last evening there, we started discussing social media over the campfire. The husbands were busy putting littles to bed and it was a great honest conversation.
I decided right then and there it was time to rid my life of facebook. So I did. It felt so freeing. No more computer screen vying for my time and steeling my time away from me and my little. With a baby on the way, I knew my life was about to change again as we made the transition from 1-2 littles and that needed every ounce of my time.
I didn’t look back and continued forward. Until I met another social media platform. One that I connected with quickly to. I love photos and Instagram has been my all-time favorite form of social media. And for so long, I felt good. I didn’t feel like it was taking much of my time. I would post here and there, comment when I had time, scroll if I had the opportunity but I had learned so much from breakup with facebook I was determined to not give much space to IG.
And then life got crazy. I had an emotional third pregnancy and hardly posted because I couldn’t bare the thought of sharing and being so vulnerable on social media. But the moment she was born and life really got crazy, I started turning to social media for a number of things.
It was the easiest place to quickly update our friends of what was going on. I could type out a little recap of Bernadette’s day, where she was struggling, where she was taking steps forward, and how they could help rather than sending out a ton of text messages, which I still did anyway, but this way, people who I wasn’t super close to at that moment in my life could still get the update.
It kept me occupied as I sat in that hospital, day after day after day. I could search for other families with special needs, I could search for others who had gone through heart surgeries. I could read something super uplifting and encouraging. It could keep me busy through the pain and give me something to do other than stare at the monitors that were constantly mocking me with their loud noises begging for me to jump at the littlest of difference in their endless waves.
It also connected me to some amazing mamas. Mamas who had been right where I was sitting. Mamas who had walked through heart surgeries, a prenatal diagnosis, etc. It gave me a sense of community and connection. And for all of those reasons, I am truly thankful for it.
But here is where my problem lies. Instead of letting it be those things, I started putting it first in my own eyes. I would check it first thing in the morning “to help me wake up”, yes that was my actual excuse. I would check it five minutes later before hopping onto the treadmill. I would check it after my run, oh and even occasionally during my “I need a quick water break from my run.”
Let’s not forget the multiple other times throughout the day. Again begging me to leave my pain, my hardship and my freedom behind and give in to the scrolling, the liking and the commenting. Which, like I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The problem lies in letting in control you and not being able to exercise self-control.
Time sucking is what began and I started noticing a common theme in the very depths of my soul. I was feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. That began my journey in learning how to say less social media and more real connections which is where I find myself today. Eager to find that balance and run with it. To allow the fun that social media has to offer without making it number one in my life and skipping out on real connections for a brightly lit screen.
I will continue to use it sparingly, especially as I search for what the healthy balance looks like in my own life. And I will say, I am thankful it has given me a space to show the highlight reel of my life while also expressing many hardships I do face regularly.
I think at the end of the day, we all need real connection. Phone conversations, coffee dates, group play dates, book clubs and those types of things. Learning how to set boundaries for our own selves while not enforcing them on others and learning how to thrive within those settings.