I was fairly young when I had my son, and none of my girlfriends were in this season of their lives. So they always seemed well put together, on time, their relationships with their significant others were fun and light, why wasn’t mine?
I have just realized (after almost a decade) that it was because we were in different seasons.
I brought my own baggage into the friendship and felt like I needed to keep up with them. Now, almost ten years later, they are starting to have children and I am just realizing those feelings of overwhelm were just a season, I wasn’t failing, and I should have enjoyed it more. Rather than worrying about whether I was inconveniencing everyone.
I do want to say, throughout these years, my friends have been an extraordinary blessing to me. Since they didn’t have children yet, their flexibility and go with the flow attitudes of their seasons allowed us to go on many adventures that my friends who have kids just simply can not do. They never put any pressure on me or made me feel less than. That was all the baggage that I came in with, and lugged around until I started to look at life with a clearer lens and finally said, “I don’t need this anymore.”
Now my children are getting older, and we are out of the baby stages and more into elementary years. I’m feeling a new season come on.
A season of not using social media. This is a huge deal considering my career, but I do feel passionately that even though it may only be for a season, I need to take those small chunks of time and be present with my children, not with liking my friend’s pictures.
I’ve been searching my thoughts for a while to figure out why this season seems to overwhelm me every time I get on social media. The main two things I can come up with, are the lack of real social interaction in social media, and the mindless scrolling I do most of the time. What if I stopped and created something rather than scrolling?
I had to ask myself, “Am I living a cyber life? Or real life?”
I had to ask myself this question as I noticed on my iPhone that it said I spent over six hours per day using my phone. This does account for podcast listening, Voxer usage and watching YouTube (which I have playing while I’m doing chores). But to be using a screen for six hours a day, some of that has to be social media.
And is social media even social? I like a lot of my friend’s photos, but do I really know them? These were burning questions I had at the end of the summer.
I used Voxer to communicate with a multitude of people, it seems so convenient to be able to randomly talk whenever I need to. (If you don’t know, Voxer is a walkie talkie app where you are able to send messages to individuals and groups, and they can listen and respond when they have time). The real issue with this is the one-way communication, you can go on and on without interruption or the other person giving their opinion. For me, this just became an overwhelming form of communication. Where sometimes I’d put myself out there, and receive no response. Or someone would bring us something very heavy, and I’d feel the pressure to drop everything to care for them.
As I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram, for the first time in my life, my heart started to yearn for things others had in their season of life.
“Wow, that mom put up that pretty wallpaper in her daughter’s room.”
“That family went hiking today.”
“Oh look, she is homeschooling in her designated homeschooling room where she can hang photos on the wall. My kids will surely flunk out of school because I don’t have that pottery barn butterfly diagram.”
Yup. It’s ridiculous. But it’s true.
For me, it’s turned into a real thing. And honestly, it breaks my heart. Social media has played a big part of my life since middle school. In 6th-grade playing Neopets, while signed into AIM and writing HTML code for my super cool website. Yeah, I was rocking it in 6th grade.
But somehow along the way I lost the real connection with actual people in the social part of social media.
Nowadays I scroll so fast that it hurts my eyes. I’ve seen it all before. I have pinned thousands of things on Pinterest, but I still don’t have that wallpaper ordered.
So I began to ask myself, during this season how do I get to a point of actually having cute wallpaper in my house rather than just being jealous of another mom who does?
- I started setting my phone to do not disturb. Not allowing people to access me at all times has been a game-changer.
- Deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps off my phone. I can still access them through my web browser on my phone, but it’s really clunky and I don’t really desire to spend much time on them.
- Started calling my friends to see how they are doing, rather than just liking their pictures on Facebook.
In the end, I suppose I fear I’m missing out. FOMO has haunted my thought’s my entire life. But the great irony is that in my desperation to connect, social media has blocked me from real connection.
So for me, I’m choosing to use less. Which is still hard. I’m a digital marketer, my entire job consists of the internet. But something had to change, so I took a look at the reality, and made a change.
After almost ten years, I am beginning to finding myself when I didn’t even know I was lost.
It’s a strange process to find yourself when you didn’t even know you were lost. But I am working every day to stay present with myself, and really think about what I need, not just what I am on autopilot to do.