There is Life Beyond Your Screen

It has been ages since I have written an actual blog post that wasn’t either criticizing or praising a novel. I stopped blogging long a go for many reasons… I would have random people be like oh I heard you did blah blah blah and I’d be like YOU’RE STALKING ME. No they had just read my blog. I was over sharing. So here I am back to overshare- just kidding. Kind of.

A year ago I did 10 days away from social media. It was eye opening. At first I realized it was an addiction and it was feeding my anxiety. When I felt anxious I would open Instagram or Facebook and scroll. I would either look at people’s lives and think PHEW, I have my crap together or feel horrible that I didn’t write cute little notes on each square of toilet paper for my toddler who couldn’t even read.

When I ended my social media celibacy I decided to put time limits on my apps and also blocked out periods of time. Because I do work for companies on Facebook I couldn’t delete it. I get 45 minutes for Instagram a day and 1 hour for Facebook. The only days I get the message that I’ve hit my limit are days that I am stressed- i.e when my husband is on call and I haven’t seen him all week. I never let myself hit IGNORE. I live by it.

I block apps from 9 am until 1 pm and I am not allowed to touch them so that I can be present for my kids and I’m free to check it on my own during quiet time. I’m telling you this because I didn’t know it was an option. It has helped me be a better mom and have a healthier mindset.

I have unfollowed most accounts that cause me stress. Those HAPPY RELIGIOUS MOM BLOGGERS, while I’m glad they have a passion, I just can’t. I look through their perfect preset Instagram photos with all white decor houses, and the cute little messes they arranged for their pictures and want to curl up in a ball. I can’t compete and I don’t want to. I have no desire to. That may be their real life, but it’s not mine. It’s not most people’s.

I’ve been so angry at social media lately. But I can’t leave it. I love to have my private Instagram. It’s where I keep updates of my kids for me, it’s my version of scrapbooking, without the mess. I would love for my book, The Cost of Silence, to get published one day so I have my public account. I love sharing books that I’ve read because reading makes for a better world. I need to use it.

So I’ve set boundaries. Here are a few:

I only post to Instagram when my kids are occupied/asleep and not around.

I realize there are safety concerns. I NEVER post pictures of my kids with their names, or without clothes. It is absolutely unsafe to do that and makes me cringe anytime someone does. There I said it. I don’t want to see your naked child.

I am careful to never post something that will harm my Children’s feelings in the future. These posts are not going anywhere. So when they grow up, I don’t want them to be like “why did you always post pictures of me crying.” The only time I approve is for Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween Candy. Because that is kind of funny.

I try to take 1-3 pictures per event so that we can live in the moment and not condition my children to think something is not important unless I’m taking a picture.

These are rules I try to live by, I have areas to improve and I’m working on it.

Okay Okay Okay…..

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This is my final plea. Today I took my kids to the Science Museum and I watched one mother take over 10 minutes of pictures and videos. Literally staging her child. By the time she was done, the child was too. She didn’t want to play. It was devastating to me. Then I watched a grandma and grandpa follow their grandchild around and she kept yelling, “TAKE A PICTURE/VIDEO OF ME and him.” While I think a picture is important, the memories of being in the moment are more important to me. Think of your kids and grandkids. Let them play and if they don’t want to take a picture RESPECT that. Would I have said that 25 years ago? No. I’d say suck it up, you get 1 family picture a year. Now, we can take 30 a day. The picture to the left is the ONLY picture I took while we were there, and I love it. They’re happy and they know it.

Now, some of you are probably mad at some of the things I said. That’s okay. These are my rules for me. But if they are making you mad, stop to think… is it because they resinate with you? Change is hard when it deals with something that’s become part of you. You do you!


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