I read the first chapter of Alex’s experiment today, and i think this part is gonna be a biggie for me. Not actual literal quiet, but the virtual quiet, the mental and emotional constant background noise caused by social media and my addiction to my phone in general. i think the space left by getting a grip on and rebuilding my use of these things is going to make a tremendous difference in my life.
Before i share my plans for application of intentionally creating more quiet in my life- in order to, today, love the life i have right now- I am going to share some takeaways and reflections i had while reading about Alex’s month focusing on creating quiet.
First, I want to talk about how, for me, social media-mostly Facebook-is something i really need to sort out my use of. Facebook is both a lifeline and a HUGE source of stress for me.
There’s the constant subconscious competition/comparison game, stemming largely from how many folks don’t present their full selves on there, but an edited version with only the positive and happy. If that’s how you choose to use Facebook, that’s your choice, and it’s not for me to judge, that’s not my point here. my point is that we don’t see most people’s full authentic lives and selves solely from facebook. So i compare, houses (which really sucked when we were in an apartment with literal crap flooding it regularly and i had a friend complaining she and her kids-same ages as mine-had outgrown their 3500sqft), kids (particularly awful my first 5 years on facebook before i had them, and now i’m still insecure and struggle with inadequacy because i have 2 and not 6…and then there’s the struggle not to compare them in all areas to others their ages..), vacations (my friend is planning a trip to greece for her 5 year anniversary, while the furthest we have gone for an anniversary trip was 2 hours to virginia beach?) and much more. Yes, these comparisons exist in the the real world too, but with Facebook they are in your face all day every day from/with many more sources.
Facebook is also, in my opinion, the biggest gas on the flame of the mommy wars, and yes they exist. i have at least one friend i love in real life and hate on facebook. For reals. This is because somehow on facebook if we share an article that exposes our opinion or style or preference on some issue, someone will take offense personally and feel attacked if they aren’t in line with it. Just because i am passionate about breastfeeding and natural birth education and practices doesnt mean i think someone is a bad mother if they don’t follow those practices-and if you had a conversation with me, you’d even know that as much as i LOVE natural birth in theory, i never got to have one. So many things in motherhood are preferences and not black and white, and just because something works great for us and we want to share that with others who might benefit doesnt mean we are judging you. I’ve been guilty of this, and i’ve also had to learn to present things in a little less black and white/ right or wrong way. but i’m working on it. Again, these arguments exist in real life, but in real life we are not so bold or confrontational, and these discussions are at least more often in the context of deeper relationships. And Mamas, those other mamas who look like they have it all together- they don’t. something is always missing, and it may not show, but its there. i promise. God gave you YOUR life and YOUR babies and he will guide YOU to do what’s best for THEM, not anyone else.
Facebook is, for me, my main source of human interaction on a daily basis. this is bad, because i’m an extrovert. my situation is more extreme than many because i don’t drive (long complicated thing summed up by: Anxiety-I’m working on it. leave me alone about it.) and that limits my opportunities to be around people. so, if i were to just get off facebook it would probably not be good. I’m not alone in the struggle of social media replacing human interaction though, and it’s something i’m really making a mission to change in my life, even as i try to work through the anxiety/driving thing.
Anxiety. Possibly the most serious issue i have with facebook is that it not only feeds my depression and anxiety, it triggers it constantly. so often i have to hide posts about babies or children being sick or injured or abused, because just seeing these things will start a panic attack, or at the very least make me paranoid for the day. i’m a worrier by nature, i had to go through a lot to meet my babies, and i have SEVERE anxiety. i do NOT need to constantly read things that manifest as intusive thoughts for months after.
SO- All that said, you might guess that a LOT of my creating quiet experiment will revolve around changes in my social media usage. and you’d be right. Here are my new rules and practices:
- no phone before workout in the morning (and no cheating by checking while nursing before i get up!)
- put phone down and out of sight while doing school and playing with kids. EXCEPTION: Taking (not posting) pictures.
- be INTENTIONAL with Facebook/Instagram time. set a timer, don’t just scroll forever, check in on certain people, pare down who i’m following so my stream is more substance and positive stuff.
- Read Kindle or a physical book when able instead of on my phone.
- Put the phone down during evening time with Scott. Plug it in and face it down.
- Practice Breath Prayer (say a name of God as you breathe in, a desire of the heart as you breathe out) both for myself and my kids
- Create a Sabbath day where the routine is much calmer. For me this will be Wednesday, which is already my rest day from working out. I plan to get up and enjoy some extra quiet alone time, keep the tv off during naptime, and do something creative while listening to music or read a book. I’m thinking about either prepping the day’s big meal ahead of time or making it so Scott can cook. I’ll make sure that my chore list is limited in Wednesday so I can really focus on rest and enjoyment of all I’m blessed with.
- Social media free weekends: none. Zero. A photo dump/blog post is allowed on Monday.