As moms, we want our kids to spend less time on electronics. We want them to focus on school, friendships, and develop their talents instead of mindlessly scrolling social media, watching YouTube, and playing video games. We encourage them to read or to go outside and play. But… what happens when you aren’t practicing what you preach?
Recently, I realized I had become a slave to my phone. It became like an extension of me. I had to have it. Specifically, I had to have social media. I constantly looked for moments that were “post-worthy” and documented them through pictures and videos. I stressed when I didn’t get a good picture or when I didn’t have anything to post about. When people looked at my social media pages, I wanted them to see what a cool, fun, loving family we are. I wanted the words I posted to be poetic, inspirational, and powerful. I was focused on likes, follows, and creating content. Of course, I rolled my eyes at the thought of being an “influencer” but there I was on every occasion, trying to be like everyone else on social media.
I was sitting at my daughter’s Christmas concert more focused on recording the concert than actually watching it. As I sat through their songs, my attention was on deleting old pictures and freeing up space for new ones. That is when I had an epiphany. I should have been watching my daughter and enjoying the concert instead of trying to capture something for my followers. That idea stayed with me the rest of the night.
We went out to eat after the concert. I took pictures of the kids playing while we waited for the food. We laughed. We talked. I was there in the moment. When I got home, I didn’t feel the need to share the videos from the concert or the pictures from dinner. I started to think I wanted more moments like that. Moments that weren’t preserved by digital evidence but that were preserved as memories.
That was the day that I decided that not everything has to be documented and uploaded to social media. I put the phone down. Sometimes, I lost it completely.
Moments Not Documented
In the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed moments with my family and didn’t want to share it with the world. I’ve found more time for friends, laundry, and hobbies. Last weekend my daughters and I had an Art Day. I didn’t document it but we painted masterpieces. My son and I played outside although no video evidence exists. These moments seem more special to me because I wasn’t distracted by my phone or the desire to share them.
Did I lose followers? Probably. Did my Facebook and Instagram stats suffer from my lack of posts? Probably.
Did I discover joy and freedom in allowing myself to be in the moment instead of capturing it? Yes.
I think to some extent, we’ve all become slaves to our phones and social media. To break those chains and find freedom, we need to allow life to happen without trying to stage photos or create content. We need to preserve memories in our minds and cherish our moments instead of looking for something “post-worthy”. Moments tend to lose their value when we overshare them.
Our children need to know that life is not staged for an audience. They need to know that not every moment needs to be shared.
As a Social Media Manager, I know it sounds crazy to say that we all need to find freedom from social media, but it’s true. Because we use our phones for just about everything these days, I am not suggesting that you throw it out. Modern technology is useful but its time we took our lives back to find a healthy balance.
Helpful Tips to Limit Phone Use
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb
- Keep your phone out of sight
- Remove time-consuming apps (including social media apps)
- Do not charge the phone in the same room that you are in
- Develop hobbies and talents
Let’s try it! It might have a negative effect on our Facebook algorithms but what if it helps us find a healthier rhythm in our life? So what if we are not an influencer on social media? What if we only influence our greatest responsibility (our family)? I love that by putting down the phone, I can have found freedom! Can you do it?