Mamas, I am drained. Can you relate? Our world is in a place that is beyond comprehension. It frightens me. What will life be like for my children? My mind starts spinning. Finding myself caught in the mix of others’ strong voices, opinions, and daily issues in society. It’s a lot. I feel it all and absorb it deeply. Social media connects me to beautiful things, yet also negativity that exhausts me. Never that girl that can read posts and forget. I wish I could just move on about my business. Things just stay with me. Despite feeling all these things, I can’t resist the urge to constantly be checking social media. Such a toxic cycle. Time for a change…
It’s not the first time we have separated. My track record is rocky at best. This time, things feel different. For me, it is all or nothing. No middle ground. I am stubborn like that, always have been. Just like that, I put my phone down and committed to staying off social media for a month. The people that know me best were skeptical. Every other time I fail and get sucked back into the drama. This time would be different. Not only did this strong-willed girl follow through, but I also reset my mind and created balance! I dug into my “friends” list and unfollowed those that steal my joy. The list was long.
Advice From My 2 Year Old
Little eyes are watching, closely. My daughter will pick my phone from a group, grab it, and place it in my hand. She imitates me with her toy phone in hand. Just like a little boss. In her mind, my phone is part of me. As essential as a pair of shoes. Ugh. It’s hard for me to even admit or put that in writing. I know I am not the only one freaking out when their phone is not in sight in the bathroom. Can I get an amen? Now, that is a sad truth. Two-year-olds find joy in all things. She is free, happy, spunky, and forgiving. Her brain is growing and making connections. Moments are precious and intentional. She wakes up with a song or a smile and loves nothing more than for her mama to be present, fully. As a teacher, I teach what being present looks like. Eye contact, still hands, facing the speaker. You know the drill. Time for me to step it up. One day, I will wake to stillness and crave these days. Being a mama is hard. We do our best, yet find ourselves escaping to social media for breaks when the days are long and hard. Go to a park and observe with your children. Moms and dads are glued to phones while their children do anything to get their attention. I have been that mama, too many times to count. I can do better. Little eyes are watching.
We all have emotions. It’s important to navigate and feel them. I have this habit of consuming myself with others’ feelings and even taking them on myself. Not just emotionally, I also feel others’ pain, happiness, and frustrations physically. The tension impacts my body in such negative ways. The weight of my own baggage is heavy. Then you add life, a pandemic, and a world that is unlike I have ever experienced to the mix. Impossible at times to navigate my own being, let alone others. Stepping back from absorbing others’ emotions and focusing on my own stuff has been hard and refreshing. Hard because social media lets me escape and avoid my own mess. Much easier to solve others’ issues and feel others’ pain. Just don’t make me look deep within myself. That takes work to address your own stuff. I am working on it.
Social media, our separation is coming to a close. I have missed you. Just like fine wine, I will see you in moderation. Much like detoxing in a sauna, taking time away allowed me to release tension, relax, and refocus. We may need to take a break again in the future. That pull to stay connected is a force that is hard to ignore. Finding the balance is my goal. Rather than escape my own stuff, I need to deal with my own baggage. My children crave their mama. Eyes on a screen over them is not fair. It’s easy to judge other mamas absorbed in social media. That is not my place, especially when I am so often that mama. Carrying that guilt is not healthy and so I move on and make changes. Like a child, we need to practice forgiveness and give ourselves some grace.
The days of face-to-face interactions are fading and we need it. Our emotional well-being depends on those exchanges. Invite a friend for coffee/wine, take a walk, read a book, talk to your husband, pick up the phone and call, write a handwritten note, etc. That personal touch is powerful and energizing. Mamas, rather than escaping in our phones, live in the moment. Be present in this life. Life won’t slow or adjust. Our kids keep growing. We keep getting older. Life happens and one day we look back and wish our eyes were focused on the present. Shift your eyes from the screen to what is right in front of you. This life is pretty incredible when you stop and look.