Love and hate

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I meant to give up social media only for Lent. I saw that one of my childhood friends was doing it and I thought it sounded like a good idea. I announced my decision on Facebook, deleted my Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat apps from my phone, and went about my day. The first few days felt weird. I was so used to mindlessly picking up my phone to scan Facebook and Instagram. Suddenly, I didn’t have the comfort of my phone to keep me occupied. Throughout the day I had the urge to mentally check out of whatever I was doing and pick up my phone. Instead, I was forced to find something else to do. I became better at checking and responding to emails. I read the news. Mostly, I got back to whatever I had been trying to avoid. Often this meant playing with my boys. Lets be honest…playing with dinosaurs and following my three-year old’s instructions on his made up games doesn’t really interest me. I love spending time with my kiddos but not necessarily doing the same things they want to do. Being off social media didn’t change any of this; however, it did change what I did in these moments. I wish I could report that I fully engaged and played the silly dinosaur game for hours on end. That didn’t happen. Usually, I tried to get them to play something that interested us both. Sometimes I distracted them by tickling or chasing them. This usually lasted minutes and then I found something productive to do. I cleaned, cooked, packed, organized, etc. Basically, I got shit done. This of course felt good. It definitely feels better than the mixed bag of emotions I get from continuously being connected to my phone. Social media is a funny thing. Part of me loves it. It’s an outlet for me to share my blog, share pictures of my kiddos, keep in touch with old friends, and find interesting articles. On the flip side though, it can easily turn into an obsession. I find myself wanting to check it while I’m driving, eating, waiting in line. I see pictures of what looks like fun stuff my friends are doing and a part of me feels jealous, boring, and disconnected. I find myself worrying about the things that I’m not doing and wondering if I’m missing out.

I find that social media can bring about a sense of connection or disconnection. Yes, it’s amazing to go online and see pictures of your new baby or watch your kiddos grow. If I take the extra minute or two to actually write you a message and we have an exchange than I do feel a sense of connection. Surely, without the ease of social media, we wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with people all over the globe. On the flip side though, if I’m only browsing your pictures, and not reaching out than no real connection is being created. Also, we get a false sense of what is going on in someone’s life. We all have struggles. We all have messy lives that are rarely captured by a photograph. The real, deeper connection that I think many of us (including myself) are craving can’t be created through social media. This connection comes from truly knowing someone and understanding both their successes and their struggles. It’s what makes us human. It’s the part of us that’s screaming to be truly heard and understood.

As a stay at home mom, I definitely understand the need for community. Days spent with toddlers can be isolating and lonely. An entire day can go by when I don’t have an actual conversation with an adult. While I missed the comfort of my Facebook friends during my two month hiatus, I also found that I picked up my phone more to call or text someone I was thinking about. Also, I didn’t have the looming feeling that I needed to share everything. I realize that I would have more blog followers if I was more active on social media but the thought of posting everything I do is like a rain cloud following me around all day. Everyday I work on being more present in my life. How can I fully participate and enjoy my life if I’m consumed with photographing and writing about my every move? I found it liberating to totally release myself from this perceived to-do.

So where does this leave me? Honestly, I’m not sure. I put the Facebook app back on my phone but I’m not sure it can stay. It’s been roughly two weeks and it’s constantly calling out to me.

If you reach out to me via Facebook, thank you and I ask that you please give me a little grace. I don’t know how long it will take to get back to you. I haven’t yet found the balance of being able to enjoy the benefits of social media without allowing it to consume me. I’m open to recommendations though, so if you have any, please reach out to me via Facebook, or better yet, call me. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you like what you read, please share.

Much love,
Melanie

Being present

It has occurred to me several times that I’ll most likely never have a “successful blog”.  I stink at social media and therefore  I’m not good at promoting my blog. Truth is, I’m just busy being a Mom. Often I think of tweeting or posting on my blog’s facebook page. Sometimes I even have my phone out and I’m mid-tweet but I get interrupted and I never get around to finishing it. That interruption is usually Brooks tugging at my leg wanting to be picked up, or Brooks falling down and me rushing to his side. I love capturing pictures of Brooks. I love sharing them with our family in Ohio and with our friends all over. Time on my phone; however, no matter the reason, is still time away from Brooks. Yes, I’m with him all day. It’s not that I think that I need to be engaged with him 24 hours a day. It’s just that sometimes we get too caught up sharing the moment and not enough time actually living it.

Chris and I had this conversation recently. Like all working parents, Chris only gets to spend a couple of hours with Brooks on workdays. Chris loves social media and unlike me, he actually knows how to use it all. Often, he’ll catch himself checking Instagram or Facebook when he’s spending time with Brooks. I do it too so I definintely understand. Everything on Instagram looks cooler than it actually is. Too often we are looking at pictures of other people having fun and feeling like we are missing something rather than just being present in our own lives. Recently, I have started praying that I will become more present in whatever I’m doing. This is especially important to me when it comes to Brooks. I’m already realizing how fast time goes. He’s getting bigger by the day. It seems that he’s turned into a toddler overnight.

I know that each day with him is a blessing. These years are so formative and I know I’ll look back on them with such fond memories. The most important thing to me is my relationship with my family. Raising my son is not a glamorous job but that doesn’t make it any less important. In five or ten years, if I still only have a handful of blog followers, but I have a strong relationship with Brooks and endless memories of all of his “firsts”, then I will know that things are exactly as they should be.

Today, regardless of how tired I am, regardless of my case of the Monday’s, today, I will be present. I will enjoy the beauty that is my son.