Monday, March 5, 2018

Social Media Break

A few weeks ago I took a little social media break. I'm back, but I'm working to create a different pattern to my every day life. I don't want to check social media near as often as I do, which is hard because I love interacting with my friends & followers on Instagram through my stories or their stories. 

I've had a rough patch of life over the last 5-6 weeks. Nothing serious, just fed up with a lot of things. Truth be told I haven't been finding a ton of joy in motherhood. It's freezing where I live. We have 4 feet of snow in our yard and I don't have the energy to put two kids in there snow clothes. Kess would be in high heaven, but I wouldn't get to do much with her because no way, no how is Manning letting me put him down in the snow. Between emotional threenager stuff and a teething 9 month old I had reached my limit. I was turning to food and social media to take me away from the hum drum of being home with my kids all day. Which makes me super sad because I wouldn't trade anything for being home with my kids - day in and day out. 

We've been working really hard to stick to our budget. We have kept a budget ever since we got married (almost 8 years ago) and sometimes we killed it and sometimes we were like, "oh shiz... the budget." but we always try to be aware of where our money is going. Over the last few months we changed our eating habits, too. More whole foods, but we like treats so we tried to find some balance. So while I'm at the grocery store with two small kids I'm also calculating which pasta is less per ounce and making sure I buy the organic cereal and the dairy free milk for our protein shakes and the nitrate free hotdogs because I can't deprive my 3 year old of hot dogs. I'm researching "healthy cheap meals" so I don't feed my kids cancer-ridden meals, but also don't go $600 over the budget doing so. Did I mention that I had to get Manning back before nap time. Lord knows we need a good nap schedule around here. 

Oh and have I told you that I'm 6 pounds away from my pre-Manning weight. And 10 pounds away from where I really want to be. I worked out hard for about a month, but couldn't find the motivation to eat well (remember, I turned to food and social media for comfort) so nothing was happening. I was skipping precious shower or cleaning time to workout and I saw zero results. The endorphins helped, but not enough.

A few weeks ago I feel like I finally cracked. I was so over it. I'm over scrolling through instagram for the 10th time and seeing all these "bloggers" rave, "OMG I'm so obsessed with these shoes. They're under $200! Such a good deal. Aren't they so good?" Uh no. They're uglier than sin, but 10k followers makes you some sort of fashion genius and 5k of those followers are going to purchase them because you said you were "so obsessed." barf barf barf. 
I was so tired of feeling like I couldn't keep up, tired of not having the "swipe to shop" option in my stories, so tired of hearing about the 20th "Secret Sale," so tired of hearing fashion bloggers talk about how something was such a great deal because these jeans were "under $100"- you know what they means, right? That means they're $99. But don't you worry, they're "so perfect" that they have them in 3 washes. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good collaboration as much as the next person. I actually have a few collaborations that I'm working on right now. They help my blog and I can introduce someone to a new product that can help them. Product sharing is great, it really is, but I had just reached my limit of "try this" or "you need this" or "I'm obsessed" being thrown in my face. I couldn't take it anymore. 

The more I checked social media the less my kids got my attention and the less my house got my attention. Then I was overwhelmed and teary because I didn't do part of my job for that day. I'm a firm believer in making sure the house is clean because it's part of my job. I pride myself on my clean house. But it wasn't getting done. My pride and joy cleaning schedule wasn't getting done, Matt was asking, "Do I have clean underwear?" "Uh..." 

I was feeling dark and tired and quite frankly depressed about how heavy everything felt. I couldn't shake how exhausted I felt over everything. Literally everything. Matt kept saying stupid things, the kids kept freaking out over the dumbest stuff, I swear everyone in the world was trying to make me mad or make me cry. Anxiety and depression can be a doozy like that. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that every one else isn't wrong - you're wrong. And it's not your fault. 

So I decided to let go of everything that wasn't a necessity. Social media being the main culprit.  I deleted it off my phone and didn't get it for about 4 days. Which doesn't seem like a lot... but when you're addicted to something dumb like that my muscle memory I would flip to the spot the app was on my phone - only to find that I had deleted it. Time and time again.

I poured my heart out to Matt when he was starting to realize that stuff wasn't getting done around the house, I was short fused and over every little thing. I broke down saying, "I can't be the mom they need me to be, the wife you need me to be and the me I need to be." I felt at a loss and really, really tired of trying to be a better person and falling short. every. damn. time. It's really exhausting to fall short as much as I was. It's easy to just start giving up. Not on life in general, but on the little things that could potentially make you a better person, like good food, exercise, gospel study, prayers, good friends, family, etc. I was putting the good things on the back burner to survive - never a good choice.

I write in my journal, changed up a few natural supplements I was taking & lowered my expectations tremendously. Then Matt got hurt...

I was on my way to church with both kids when he called me and said, "Don't be mad... but I had a little accident. Jerame is taking me to the ER and I'll need some stitches." I asked if he was ok and said I would meet him there. What I was assuming was a small gash turned out to need minor surgery. I was really grateful I was sitting down when I finally saw his injury. Matt friend took the kids to the waiting room for me so we would figure out exactly what we needed to do. I called Matt's parents to come up and help since mine were out of town. My friends here were both out of town as well and that that point I felt the stress of not living by any family. 

After we figured out that Matt would definitely need surgery I took the kids home to take naps, but could't shake the feeling of wanting to be there while Matt had surgery, so I pulled into the church to see if I could grab our babysitter, only to remember that they were out of town for the weekend. I walked into the primary room in tears and explained to a few friends what was going on. One friend said, "leave your kids here, I'll take them" I panicked about nap schedules, etc and another friend stepped in and said she would follow me home and stay with my kids until my in-laws got there. At that point I didn't know why I was crying. He was ok, everything was fine. But it all piled on super quickly. 

The surgery was successful and Matt came home that night - in the middle of one of the worst snowstorms that we have had all winter, of course. So while Matt's parents were here Matt's dad taught me how to use the snowblower, which just felt like one more thing to take care of and one more thing to remember.

Looking back on it all I am beyond grateful for everyone who jumped in immediately to help us. We couldn't have done it without you. They say it takes a village to raise your kids... I think it also takes a village to help us grow as people as well.

I think social media is so addicting mostly because we all like to be validated. We like to be validated in our feelings, in our efforts and in life. All those likes and comments give us that. I have the type of personality that thrives on validation. I lack just enough self confidence that I need to be reminded that what I'm doing or trying to do it right. Mothers don't get validated for their efforts like one would get validated at their normal job. No praise, no raises, no bonuses, no instant gratification. 

Well, that was just a bunch of rambling, sorry about that. I'm back on the social media front, but will be checking in much less. I've been contemplating deleting the app during the day & only using it at night time and nap times. It's all consuming and not in a good way whatsoever. 

Thank you to those who follow this blog, who checked on me when I took a break and who said they felt the same way often. I think its important that we recognize what the world is saying is important and what our heart is saying is important. The world often yells it at us and our heart just sits back quietly waiting for us to listen to it's quiet whispers. Sometimes it's best to turn off all the information that's being yelled at us all day long and just soak up the silence for a while.

Today I'm a big believer in hugs from my husband and kids, lowering my expectations about motherhood, and finding the good in life. I have a really, really good life. One that I wouldn't trade for  anything. So this little novel isn't about complaining, it's about finding the things that are most important to me. I know what they are & checking social media & being hammered with worldly info isn't one of them.

I hope that you're able to find the things that are most important to you. They matter. The things that way on your heart matter, it's just about weeding out the bad and keeping the good real close. 


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