Being a stay at home mom on a remote farm means I spend a lot of time alone. By alone I mean with two kids literally crawling and clawing all over me most of the day, and also I mean there is a serious lack of adult conversation in my life.
Obviously the only way to have any interaction whatsoever is to constantly set my phone to Facebook and Instagram and check in on what the 500 people on my friends list are doing (well, less after all the blocked ones are canceled out). Every once in a while, someone I’m actually friends with in real life will have a baby/birthday party/wedding/funny story, about which I comment and then become very jealous because they have exciting things going on.
It’s easy to become addicted to Facebook. I like to see baby photos and old friends and shared blogs and political rants. I like to think that I’m part of my friends’ lives, even if it’s only virtual, and I like to post perfectly edited adorable pictures of my kids so I can delete the other 50 shots in which they look like their mom crazed lunatics. But I really try to keep my social media time in check. Being absorbed in my newsfeed prevents me from being absorbed in what really matters in life, and it can create a lot of negative feelings that aren’t based in reality.
One thing I do to keep social media in its rightful place is to think of it like wine: A little bit of wine after the kids are in bed is a good thing. A little bit of wine repeatedly throughout the day when I need to be doing other stuff is a problem. A glass or two after my work is done for the day is a fun way to relax. A glass or two at breakfast, brunch, every red light, lunch, the park, bathtime, and bedtime means that my kids think wine is the most important thing to me, and that I’ll be going to jail soon.
I gave up Facebook and Insta for Lent, and I feel very out of the loop. I don’t know whose birthday it is, what’s for sale from my favorite online boutiques, or which of my friends has decided to become a fashion blogger (aka obsessive selfie-taker). I also don’t get any likes or feedback on my kids’ photos…I’m reduced to texting pics to family members or even [gasp] being the only one who sees them do something cute. And worse yet, I’ve been making eye contact and interacting with Trevor and Claire while they’re in the bathtub! We’ve done craft projects, mailed baked goods to family members, even read a few books in the middle of the day. Sometimes, I misplace my phone and go a couple hours without it.
I didn’t realize how often I depended on Facebook to fill the free time in my brain. It’s frightening how we allow an app to creep in and take over time with family and friends, or time that we could spend in prayer and genuine concern for others. I’ll get back on after Lent, but just one glass at night will do.
What about your relationship with social media? Is it the most important one in your life?