People fascinate me. And I just love them. I am an extrovert. I thrive on being around people. In fact, when I moved out of my parents’ house, I couldn’t handle the silence when I came home from work. I used to turn the T.V. on for some “company.” I didn’t watch anything – I just needed the sound of other people’s voices.
I am that creepy person who is intrigued by what people put in their trolleys. I am the snoop who loves to see through windows of homes and see people living their lives. I am the weirdo who is scrolling Facebook wedding photos and cannot tell my husband who the person is in the picture that I’m looking at when he asks.
To be honest, one of my major fears and a cause of much anxiety is the isolation period away from people if I were to get Covid – not so much the actual virus.
Maybe that’s why social media attracts me so much! I get to see the mundane routines of other stay-at-home moms and don’t feel alone when I burn my dinner or have a laundry mountain. I love seeing how different people live from the homesteader to the American influencer. And I love how personal something like Instagram is – you can even see what celebrities eat for dinner!
I thought for years that Instagram was a photo editing app. When I joined three years ago, my eyes were opened. Access to the world on my phone. A peek into the lives of others. Community with people – friendships even. Mixing with people of different ages, races and religious beliefs from all over the world. What a platform this is and such fun to be a part of.
I started to live for my daily “fix.” My hand would reach for my phone when I woke up; when I went to the bathroom; while I waited for the kettle to boil; when I went downstairs to start dinner; while I ran the bath…and so the list goes on. I had a scary realisation when we ran out of Wifi how often I pick up my phone. I don’t think about it when I can tap a button. But when nothing internet-related worked, I would pick it up for no reason and, because there was nothing to look at, I was very conscious of how often I tapped the unlock button.
I thought about it constantly and I really mean constantly! What could I post next? What would get people’s attention? My life became an Instagram story. I became the mother who had more pictures for Instagram in her gallery than pictures of my family living their life. My life was documented for the person I didn’t know on the other side of the world and that excited me.
But it became what I lived for! I cared more about engaging online than I did with my family. I became annoyed when my kids interrupted my mindless scrolling. I lost track of time. My phone was my companion in bed rather than my husband. When the kids went to bed, what could have been an evening connecting with him became a wasted one. The bath I had run got cold. The clock carried on ticking, not stopping for me to finish watching the lives of people I had never met.
When I felt worried or stressed, I was into Instagram in one tap. When my children were having a tantrum that I couldn’t handle, I found myself scrolling through the lives of others so I didn’t have to deal with it. And when I was smothered in guilt because I had lost my temper, I’d find relief on social media. It became my drug. My drink. The world I lost myself in so that I didn’t remember I had housework to do. The world that demanded my attention instead of my children. The world that held me captive rather than dipping into a book where my imagination could fly. The world that took me away from my family.
The world that I CHOSE!
I chose a world that “doesn’t exist” instead of those I love. I chose to make that my life and the reason I take photos. I chose to procrastinate. I chose to waste hours upon hours of my precious time – time that I will never get back – to a social media platform of people who may not remember me.
I’ve always known that I have a problem. I’ve installed an app blocker. But I didn’t have the self-discipline to regulate my usage – I found the way around it. I convinced myself it would remind me even if I changed the settings after it blocked me.
Two weeks into August, we had used up our internet package. And I found myself having to severely limit my time online. What to do with all my time?
I decided to tackle some things I’d been meaning to get to for months. And in a day, I had knocked off things that, for a year, I had re-written and re-written on my weekly to-do list! And then I found myself in a mood to organise, tidy, purge and re-arrange. By the end of two weeks, I stood back, flabbergasted, at what I had accomplished and how good I felt about my life and myself.
I have always wanted to be a mom and a home maker. Here’s a confession – I love the dress-wearing, apron-donning stereotypical woman image. I want to be the 1950s housewife stereotype.
I want to make my home a haven for the special people that live in it. I want to be invested in their growth. I want to smother them with kisses and never be too busy to look them in the eye. I want to laugh hysterically. I want to play the games. I want to lie under the stars. I want to hold them and love them. I want to be the one to create a happy, comfy, safe place for them to rest and play. I want to be the one standing in front of the stove creating hearty meals.
And, suddenly, without social media, I became the person I wanted to be. I had time!
I reflected back on the reason I had joined Instagram. It was to promote my blog – the one I barely wrote on anymore. Somewhere in the last two years, I had begun to serve Instagram instead of using it to serve my purposes. I had become a slave to trying to rake in campaigns and bump up my following. I had forgotten my love for writing and had been overcome by the pressure to post. And it was then that I decided that I would live my life in spite of whether my following grew or not. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to get the attention of anyone other than those that matter most to me.
And I knew that my life would be better for it. More enriched. And more enriching to my husband and children. I don’t want them to remember me on my phone. I want them to remember me being a wife; a mom; a homemaker; a friend. I want my life to encourage them, inspire them and model Christ to them.
I need to work on my addiction (because it will be work and a process!) and replace it with what really matters. I don’t want to hold my phone in my hands anymore. I want to hold my family.
Photo Credit: CottonbroTags: addict, addiction, children, family, Instagram, online, online world, people, people person, social, social media, time, wife