Last week I posted 5 Disturbing Signs That Caused Me To Step Back From Social Media giving you all a glimpse into how immersed I had become. It wasn’t easy to do. After all, rule number one according to every author, publisher and marketer is: stay in front of your audience. Don’t let them lose sight of you! But, with my kids growing up way too fast and not a whole lot of time with them left, I realized my most important audience was missing out on my attention. So for one week I did not post one thing on social media and here is what I discovered.
1. I was more intentional.
We planned play dates where my kids could practice hospitality towards strangers and mentoring kids younger than they were. We worked as a team preparing our home for guests and planning activities to share with them while they were here. We talked about deferring to others when they came to visit and how that showed humility and friendship. Our playtime taught life-long lessons that generally got swept aside as I tended to my over dinging phone.
2. I was much more focused.
One of my kiddos especially, is a performer. “Mom, watch this!” “Mom, check this out!” “Hey mom, do you think I can shoot the basket from here and make it?” The other one just really likes to talk- about everything. When I was on my phone, I was only half paying attention. With no phone in hand, they had my full attention. And I realized how much I enjoy my kids’ personalities, their sense of humor, and their insights about things. I also noticed that my performer didn’t seem to be so demanding when I finally stopped and gave him my undivided attention for more than 10 seconds.
3. I was calmer.
I already admitted in my last post how easily distracted I get. Sometimes between my kids talking to me and my phone dinging every five minutes, I would get frazzled. I couldn’t even finish one thought and would constantly forget something I needed to load into the car or needed to do. This caused an endless amount of frustration as I would inevitably end up making more work for myself. With the phone loaded into the car first, I could work my way through the day and get everything into the car that needed to be there. I finished the shopping list, checking it twice, and didn’t return home to realize I forgot the one ingredient I needed specifically for dinner that night. I could process the reminders that my kids were giving me about their activities and what we needed to do to be ready for them.
4. I was happier.
Having uninterrupted conversations with others made me feel more a part of their lives. Sitting around a table with other moms sharing our hearts brought a deeper satisfaction than the funniest joke on Facebook every could. I felt whole. I laughed at my kids’ quirks and jokes. There was no temptation to compare myself with others and how they were spending their summer days. There was no discontent about how my house looked or my lack of vacation plans. I immersed myself in the moment as it was happening and the rest of the world and what they were doing didn’t seem so important. What mattered most were the people I was with- people I loved more than life itself.
So, will I stay off of social media forever? Doubtful- after all, I’m still blogging! But will I keep some of these safeguards I have set up for the sake of my deepest relationships? Absolutely! Because as much as I love connecting on social media, I love my family even more and they need the best part of me, not the distracted, frazzled, irritated, discontent me. So with summer time here and my kids at home, I’ll be posting less and living, laughing and loving a whole lot more.
How do you see the usage of social media affecting our most intimate relationships?