Saturday, February 16, 2013

Closing the "book"

Last night I was spending time with my two little ones as my husband and older boys went on a Scout campout.  We were having a fun time and had settled down to watch a “My Little Pony” movie.  I was on the couch with my daughter and looking at my phone.  She grabbed it out of my hand, threw it on the floor and said, “Put that phone down, and watch this movie with ME!”

Maybe a funny little story, but it probably says more about my habits than I want to admit, my husband has also mentioned that I am on that thing all the time. Also this week there have been a few articles I have read that I have not been able to get out of my mind.  In fact last night, I was up from 2-4 a.m. thinking about one of them.  You can read the articles HERE, HERE andHERE.  (the person writing the article on the last link is named Cheryl, but isn't me)

I have become a slave to that phone. I am constantly checking my Facebook and reading people’s comments and status’ and looking at pictures.  It really is impeding my relationships with my husband and kids.  I find myself getting annoyed with them if they need me while I’m checking status updates or comments.  I don’t text or check out Facebook while driving, but if we get to a red light I pick up my phone to check things out, instead of talking to my kids. It really is a bit ridiculous that it is taking over.

I have justified all the time I spend on there that I am sharing uplifting and inspiring articles and pictures.  I was in the Relief Society presidency for a few months and I justified by saying I was checking in on the sisters in the ward (which was true, but why couldn’t I just call or go visit them?)  Having “virtual” relationships just isn’t the same as having face to face relationships in my home.

So I am deactivating my Facebook account this coming week.  I am not just taking a “break” because I’ve tried that before and I stay away for about 24 hours and then I’m right back to where I was before.  I am going “cold turkey” and don’t plan on coming back anytime soon.

The thing is though, I am sad about losing touch with many friends I have come back into contact with on Facebook.  I have a lot of useful things that happen on Facebook.  I have a group that I get meal ideas from, I have a group where I can buy and sell items in a “garage sale” type page, I have a group of friends from 20+ years ago that I worked with at a girls camp that I have loved keeping in contact with.  I have cousins I have gotten to know better and have been able to reconnect with. I have other friends that we commiserate on kids, teenagers, lack of sleep, illness etc.

But I also find myself caught up in the “drama” of facebook.  I get caught up in the comments people make, and in things people say.  I’ve never been a “drama queen”, but find myself caught up in the drama and gossip that inevitably happens on facebook.  I don’t like it.  There are situations and people that I don’t need to get caught up with.  I don’t need to solve people’s problems or worry about what they think of me.  I find myself far too worried about what my “virtual” friends think of me. I even click on comments my Facebook friends make on their friends status updates, people I don’t even know! 

While I love those people I have reconnected with, none of them are as important to me as the 6 other people I live in this house with. If they are feeling like what I am doing is coming between us then I am stopping it.  I have seen too many sad endings in families to let anything come between those relationships.  It may seem silly to some that this is the case, but it is what it is.

 I only have a few short years until my kiddos start leaving my nest.  I need to give all my energy to them.  I want to focus on them and look into their eyes and have conversations and not be interrupted by my phone/computer/Facebook.  I have an amazing, loving, selfless husband who I want to give my best self to. I want to “cleave to him and none else”.

Last year I attended a Power of Moms retreat where I learned many amazing things, but one has stuck with me.  To start with the end in mind.   In 30 years what do I want my kids and husband to remember was most important to me?  I have a feeling right now they would say my phone.  I don’t want them to talk about my phone habits at my funeral. J   I want them to say that they knew THEY were my most important priority and that I loved being with them and playing and talking and just being together.  I want them to say that they knew I would drop everything for them if they needed me. 

Yesterday my two littles and I went to the park.  I left my phone in the car and I played with my kids.  I watched my 2 year old master climbing on a jungle gym by himself. He looked at me with his smiling eyes and said, “Mommy I’m doing SO GREAT!” (the picture above is right after he said that to me).   I pushed my 5 year old daughter in the swing and even sat in the swing next to her and started to swing myself which totally delighted her.I   was completely absorbed in them and my daughter grabbed my hand on the walk back to the car and said, “Mommy thanks for playing with us, you are the BEST Mommy ever!”

That right there is reason enough to close the “book” and re-engage with my kids and husband.  If you want to keep in touch I would be more than happy to give you my cell phone # so we can text and chat on the phone.  I will give out my email address to anyone who wants to reconnect that way.    I will still be on Instagram (willow5kids) because I love the “snapshots” of life that happen on there and it isn’t nearly as much of a time sucker for me.  I will also be writing much more on this blog and my family blog (…by invitation only, if you want an invite let me know) because that is where I will capture the little moments that happen in our family.  I plan on making blog books from the past few years to document our life.  So there are still many ways to keep in touch, it just will take more effort on my part. Comment and leave your email if you want my information.


Christensen Chatter said...

You are a fantastic mom. Those that love you just got confirmation of why. And friends on Facebook will still be your "friend" without it. We will miss you but never forget you and your family will be all the stronger. Love you. Amiee

Rebecca said...

Cheryl, that is a very brave thing for you to do! I think life really is more rewarding when we live in the present--and especially in regard to what is right there in front of our faces. I have a dear friend here in my neighborhood who is constantly on her phone when we get together for our small-group of friends lunch, and it always feels a little disappointing. I know I'm not the only person who mistakenly thinks they can truly successfully multitask. I applaud you for doing this,though I will miss reading about you and your family on facebook. True communication goes two ways, though--I need to be better at calling you and my other friends. It is heartening to know that we have friends who love us, are thinking about us, and who are going through many of the routine daily challenges that we go through. Know that you are loved!

Sarah said...

If there is anytime to justify having a phone in your hand, it is while sitting down to watch a My Little Pony movie! I would need some distraction to get me through it.

Bravo to you for the honesty of this post. Having facebook and other distractions so easily available can be quite the slippery slope. I have taken a few needed breaks from facebook and it has always impacted me positively.

Wendi said...

I'm mainly on Facebook with relatives. I had to simplify too. Best wishes to you and your family. :)