Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why I'm Taking Facebook Off My Phone

I took this boy on a lunch date today. In a little shop, with turquoise walls and lime green chairs, we ate peanut butter frozen yogurt for lunch, after eating strawberry shortcake shortly before that, at his preschool Mother's Day Tea. We broke all the rules, put our feet on the chairs and sat and talked, long after our yogurt was gone.

As we sat across from each other, me scooping up bits of crushed Peanut Butter Cups and him slurping frozen gummy worms, I asked him what he wants his summer to be like. He told me that he wants a swimming pool big enough for me to go in it with him and he wants me to do puzzles with him. He told me how he wants to open up a Superman store and we dreamed together about what this Superman store would be like. He'd need some money, he said, and also some surveillance cameras, just to make sure no one would steal his stuff. He wants me to play with him and work on these things with him and I want to be there, doing those things, but so often I feel distracted, like there's always something else that I need to be doing.

I saw a video recently about screen time and how we're all missing out on life, when our heads are hanging down staring at our phones, or at our computers. This video really spoke to me, especially after I'd recently had a conversation with a friend, where she shared how she'd taken Facebook off her phone. To me, she was so brave, I've been thinking of doing that for months, but I've never actually gone through with it.

It scares me horribly to think that this is the last summer before my first born goes into Kindergarten and I could waste so much time staying "connected", while I become disconnected from the people that are right in front of me.

Time with these kids goes so fast and before I know it, they'll be grown and I wonder if I'll look back and regret spending so much time on social media, instead of spending time with just them. How is it that we value being so connected, over being fully involved with the people right in front of us?

Somewhere along the way, it became normal to share with the world all of our special moments, like they gain more worth by the amount of likes we receive or the feedback we receive about our beautiful moments.

The truth is----our moments are just as special as ever, even if they're never shared. That coffee date and sweet conversation with a friend was just as good, before it was announced on Facebook. And that morning at the beach with my girls was just as sweet, before I shared my photos on Facebook. I want to go back to the days where if I took a cute picture, I didn't feel like I needed to immediately share it with the world. I want to go back to writing down the cute things my kids say, in a notebook with a pen.

And don't get me wrong- in moderation, those things are all fun, but there isn't any real value in them. It's fun to stay in touch with old friends and build connections online, for sure. I love social media, of course I do- I'm a blogger for crying out loud. But, I don't want my kids to see my phone as my third arm and I don't want to feel like sharing all of our special moments is our new normal. And for sure, I don't want to determine the value of my days, photos or moments, by the number of comments or likes that I receive. I want to live my life, without the habit of being constantly connected.

I'm searching for the freedom of just enjoying a beautiful day with my kids, without having to tell the world about it. It feels counter-cultural, since this isn't the new normal. I keep remembering through, that we can't change the world by being like it. So, it's okay to be a bit different and it's okay to be less connected, in order to really become more connected with the people right in front of me.

It scares me that this generation of Moms could get so caught up in trying to capture and document our lives, that we're not in them, we're just behind the phones. As I sat there with Judah today, I decided that for the summer at least, I'm going pull way back on the amount of time I spend on my phone or on the computer. There's so much life to live and I want to fully be in it. I want my kids to remember me playing with them, and not obsessively checking my phone all day. I want to garden, without my phone even outside and I want to splash in the pool, without worrying about getting my phone wet. I want my friends to call me and wonder how we're doing and I want us to get together and talk, because we want to catch up in person.

Honestly, I've already messed up so badly in this area. I check my phone while I push them on the swings and sometimes I don't know what they're talking about, because I'm distracted. I check my phone while I nurse Eliza, instead of soaking up those last moments with her. I check my phone while my kids take a bath, instead of playing with them and talking about who knows what.

Now I see that I could miss a childhood, by staying "connected" and that just can't happen. It's not too late to put the phone down and be present. When I've thought about taking Facebook off my phone, it scares me to think that I'll be less connected. It's easy to compare and think that if all of the other Moms have it on their phones, then it must be okay for me, too. Here's the thing- some people DO have it on their phones and they just check it a few times a day. For me, I need more boundaries. I don't want to be the Mom at the beach, sitting with her phone, while her kids play.  Somewhere in our culture, it became less cool to play with our kids, and more acceptable to interact with people we aren't actually hanging out with. Can we as Moms please just stop that?

I'm pulling way back, because I want this summer to be different. I'll still check Facebook on the computer, but I'm taking it off my phone. I'll still Instagram and post photos to Facebook from time to time, because that's fun, but we'll be doing a lot of living, that I don't need to share. I'll remind myself that my moments are JUST AS GOOD, whether I share them or not and I'll still blog, but maybe not as often.

I'm taking Facebook off my phone after I post this and that scares me just a little, but there's freedom in doing scary things. There's a lot of freedom, in doing what feels right and that's what I need to do right now. Here's the video that I mentioned above, in case you haven't already seen it.

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