So, this may be either the bravest or stupidest decision I’ve made yet to post this blog entry. But it’s been on my heart, so it’s getting posted…
Facebook is ruining my life.
But it’s not just Facebook. It’s email. It’s Blogger and Wordpress. It’s Instagram. It’s texts. (Didn’t bother to even start Pinterest because I didn’t have the mental time or space for any more of it). It’s just…everything. Everything electronic. It’s invaded my life.
I have no personal mental space anymore. It’s eaten up 24/7 by social media. It has honestly become an addiction. I can’t be the only one, right? My husband (who somehow manages to survive without a Facebook account), has told me more than once that he thinks I’m addicted to Facebook. Out of pride, I have rebuffed him every time. But the thing is, he’s right. And it’s hit every facet of my life.
I sleep with my phone by bed (I use it for the alarm – at least that’s my justification), so it’s there first thing in the morning. I am late to either boot camp or the gym every single morning. Why? Because I’m oversleeping, or tending to a sick child? Ok, sometimes. But usually, it’s because I’m checking Facebook or email, plain and simple. So now Facebook is making me fat. AWESOME. Thanks Facebook.
I check Facebook and email in the car. Always at stoplights, not while the vehicle is actually moving, but still…I am missing out on valuable conversation time I could be having with my kids, moments I will never get back. Same with evenings, during bedtime routine. I am stopping in my office to check email in between bath, bedtime routine and prayers, just to see if anything important has come in. REALLY? Is there any email that could possibly be more important than investing in the lives of my children and sharing silly bedtime stories and precious prayer time with them? The answer, of course, is NO, but when you’re faced with an addiction, sometimes it’s hard to see that.
It’s affecting my marriage. During car rides, when the kids are asleep and hubby and I could be having profound conversations about, well, whatever profound things married people discuss, he’s forced to have a one sided conversation as I say “hmmmmm” and “oh” because I’m too busy checking out other people’s lives on my phone to pay attention to my own awesome husband sitting right in front of me. And date nights often don’t start until way too late at night because I’m on the computer after kiddos go to bed, checking email, reading blogs. My priorities are totally screwed up. I’m not proud of it, but it’s where I’m at.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media has its place. I have met an incredible community of parents with children facing the same life threatening condition as my son – that never would have happened were it not for the very avenues of social media I’m blasting above. And Sisters by Heart could never do the incredible work we do without Facebook and social media. But, like everything in life, it has its place. And when that place is at the top of your emotional pyramid, something has to give. It seems that many, many people are able to balance Facebook with their “real lives,” not having it take over their lives. I guess I’m just not one of those people. It is simply not possible for me to be the wife, the mother, the friend I need to be as long as I’m giving more attention to the person on the computer or the phone than the person right in front of me.
And, if (hypothetically speaking, of course), I were the kind of mom who has her phone on her all the time, and is always checking email/FB/Instagram, what kind of role model am I setting for my kids? How am I modeling Jesus’s love for them? How am I doing any justice to my most important calling, that of a mother? I honestly could cry thinking about the values this is teaching my kids, how they are already learning that electronic devices are more important than they are. Because, really, that’s EXACTLY what they’re learning from me. There’s such a short window where I can see into their little minds and participate in their lives. Why would I sell us short and make that window smaller than it already is? Why wouldn’t I take up every opportunity to soak this time up?
But here's the cool thing about life - every day is starts anew. And every day you can make the changes you want to see happen.
So, we’re making some changes around here. I’m setting limits. From now on, my phone and computer are getting turned off when I start making dinner – and don’t get turned back on until kids are down for the night – or not at all, if it’s a date night with hubby. (What a great deterrent, right? Because, seriously, who wants to take the time to boot up your phone, or even worse, your computer, just to check an email or 2?!?) and I'm pretty sure the world will not stop because I didn't respond to an email the second I received it. I tried that tonight, and you know what? While I listened to awesome, relaxing music, the kids played and the entire kitchen got cleaned while dinner was cooking. And we sat down and ate at the dinner table (instead of the bar, which is our usual dinner spot). And the kids had time for books after bath and got to bed at a decent hour. All because I tuned out the electronics. You see, I was wasting far too much time just checking an email here or there, slowing everyone down in the process.
And tomorrow? No email until after kiddos are off to school/preschool. And limited social media time during the day as well.
I’m sure I’ll have slip-ups, days where it really is important to check an email or return a text. But for me, it’s the first step. The first step toward taking my family’s priorities back and achieving a better balance. So, if you send me an email or Facebook me, don’t be surprised if you don’t get an answer right away. It’s because I’m off living my life...or at least trying to!