Have you ever found yourself spending so much time on social media that you start to really annoy yourself? You start thinking, why can’t I put my phone down and live more in the present. More in the now. Why am I still scrolling endlessly?
Well that was me today. Today I have tried to live a bit more in the present, instead of checking in with social media every time I had a spare minute. Or in my case, whenever the children are entertained, as let’s be honest, spare minutes are hard to come by nowadays.
Now you could argue that social media is very much living in the present, with Facebook live, Instagram live, and Twitter which is all about snappy tweets in real time.
By living in the present I mean being disconnected from online life for a little while. A little longer than perhaps usual. Living consciously and enjoying what’s happening right before your eyes instead of behind a screen. Living for today, this very second. Spending time with family without picking the phone up every half an hour to check what’s going on in someone else’s life. Really soaking up the children, husband and even the dogs, and spending quality time with them.
The topic of this blog post came as I spent this morning playing with Immy, one on one, with no interruptions. Now at the risk of me sounding like a bad parent, this very rarely happens! The twins are always around, or I have jobs to do, like the washing up or doing the 27 loads of laundry that magically appear each day.
But today we found ourselves in a situation where the twins actually napped for 2 hours, in their cots, at the same time! I had the best time. We chatted, we played, and she was happy and wasn’t having to strive for my attention. We even got out her dinosaur sand, which is usually prohibited when the twins are around, as Immy throws it and they eat it. And I thought to myself, I need more of this. Now whether the universe (or should I say the twins) will allow for this more frequently is a different story; but it got me thinking.
So I thought I’d share my thoughts here, to see if anyone can relate.
Now it’s probably quite apt as you’ve most likely found this post via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. And I’ve been on and shared it on those platforms too.
I’m not here to say there’s anything wrong with going on social media, not in the slightest. A lot of people run their businesses through social media, and connect with friends who they can’t see in real life. We need it now more than ever to feel connected to loved ones. I’m merely saying that I think I spend too much time on it sometimes. Time I feel I should spend properly playing with Immy.
I’m all about posting photos and videos, giving updates and showing love and support to friends and online businesses. What I’m talking about is spending less time mindlessly scrolling through irrelevant content without any purpose. Something I for one know I have become victim to.
Let me explain.
Phones are used for so much more than social media, so it’s often difficult to put them away completely. They are a camera to capture priceless moments, a way to keep connected with family, a torch to find Peppa pig who has made her way under the sofa for the millionth time today. They are a bank, a clock, a wallet, a calculator and a calendar. They allow us to check the weather, listen to podcasts, and find our way when we are lost. Mine is connected to our baby monitors, so I often pick it up to check on the twins or Immy. You get the jist. So it’s just so tempting to click on the social media apps after doing other things, just to check in.
I’ve never been one to shut my phone in a drawer all day either. I’d be worried something might happen and someone might not be able to reach me (despite my phone often being left on silent accidentally, but that’s not the point here). Nor am I saying you should shut your phone in a drawer all day. It’s all about balance.
I’ve been guilty of reaching for my phone in times of boredom and having a scroll. Despite the chaos it can be lonely being at home with three little ones. And talking to other mums online in similar situations has helped me get through some pretty tough days. We need to be kind to ourselves too and give ourselves a break. In normal times I am often out and about with little time for social media until the kids are in bed. But in this day and age, when we are asked to stay home, there’s a need to get social in other ways. Online.
In normal times most of my social media time is left to the evenings, when Ross and I sit on the sofa staring at our phones and pretty much ignoring each other. Only joking, I do talk to him to ask him what’s going on in the film before either of us, or anybody watching should know. He loves that.
I’m also not saying that I’m going on some sort of social media hiatus – because that’s just not realistic. Nor do I want to, quite frankly. Sometimes those little squares keep me from going insane. I don’t live near any of my family. Our closest family is a 2 hour drive away, and our furthest a 10 hour flight, so I like to keep them in the loop with our daily life. I don’t want to stop all social media, but use it more wisely, less frequently and with more intent.
So I’ll still be reaching for my phone to take photos of my babies and our day to post online. (Does anyone else have a phone full of photos, and even though they are all backed up to a hard drive, too scared to delete them?) As well as sharing for family and friends, I like to use it as a bit of a photographic diary for myself; a documentation of our family life and the children’s early years. Because in the blink of an eye they’ll be all grown up, probably on their own social media accounts ignoring me. Who am I kidding, of course they will have their own phones and social media accounts at some point. I’ve never been a parent to judge other parents, but before now I was convinced Immy wouldn’t have a tablet/phone out when we were out for a meal. Little did I know the terror or a toddler screaming in a restaurant. Oh how I laugh at my pre-children self.
So as we come out of Welsh lockdown tomorrow, I’ll be aiming to spend less time on social media mindlessly scrolling, and instead scrolling with purpose. I’m not going on strike, and I will still check in every day no doubt. I suffer far too much from fomo to do a total ban. But I’m aiming to find a balance where I can still be social, but also spend more time in the present. I also don’t want to find myself in a place where I’m refreshing a page to find there isn’t any new content. Perhaps I’ll find a new local business to follow and support instead, and spend more time sharing their posts to help out their business in this crazy time. Or maybe I will find inspiration for our garden that we want to get done for next spring, instead of finding myself looking at a celebrity’s holiday from last summer, or seeing what someone from Towie is having for lunch. It can’t be just me that does this… tell me it’s not just me!
I’ll never justify why I watch Mrs Hinch cleaning though. Call that my therapy. I love that woman and her sparkly sink.
Has anyone else found themselves spending too much time on social media recently, being aware of what you are doing but unable to stop scrolling? I can’t be the only one feeling caught up and wanting a bit more balance.
So here I pledge to spend a little less time behind the screen, and a little more time doing other things I enjoy, such as writing and being fully present with my family. I’m not going to put a timeframe on it, because I find setting goals like that for myself too restrictive and therefore unrealistic. But perhaps a little less time each day would be a good start.
If you’ve made it this far I salute you. Thanks for reading my ramblings and the inner workings of my mind, and why I want to live a little more in the present.
So, who’s with me?