What I learned during my 30-day Social Media detox
If you are familiar with my blog, you may be aware that motherhood drives many of my inspirations in life. I’m grateful to have the honor and opportunity to raise two loving, intelligent and ridiculously funny children. I call them both my “Koalas” to poke fun at the fact that they want to be attached to my hip even, at the age of ten and thirteen. I joke around as if I’m bothered by it but everyone close to me knows I truly take pride in it. I love my big koalas. As an educator, winter breaks or any sort of vacation from work is liquid gold. It is more time to relax, hang out, cook fun recipes or kick off Netflix marathons with my children. I try my best to indulge in the experiences before they get older and decide hanging out with mom is no longer cool.
This past winter break, as part of one of my “motherly reflections”, I decided that in order to be fully present for my two children, during our two week-long winter break, I needed to minimize any additional distractions. I reflected on some of the most common factors in my life that pulled me away from the present moment and decided it was indeed, as for many of us, SOCIAL MEDIA. Interestingly as a blogger, most would assume I’m always plugged to the social media 24/7. Yet it’s not the case. I work a demanding full time job and married with two children. Time during the week is limited for me. However, come the weekend or any free time outside the weekdays, I feel more comfortable with investing more time online. I almost becomes an automatic response. Free time equals being less rigid about my social media time.
This of course, will bite into my time with my children and family. So this past Christmas day, I wrote a disclaimer, on both my personal and blog social media handles, I will be back in a few days and wished everyone an early happy new year. What meant to end in a few days turned into a 30-day long detox from social media. It may not seem like long time but in my world… it is. However, the lessons I learned during my detox are priceless and I believe is worth sharing to encourage other mothers, whom are often connected to the digital world like myself, to give the social media detox a try, whether it be for 5, 10, 21 or the full 30 days. I’m sure you will find your own lessons in the journey. Below are my 3 takeaways from my 30 day detox:
Lesson #1: Moms have super powers!
Did you know this? I realized us moms have some serious power. Just like I posted on my social media platforms about my detox, I also informed everyone in my household about it. When I shared the news they all looked at me confused and unbothered, including my dog Buddy. My daughter shook her head in much disappointment wondering why I would inflict such torture onto myself. My son Leo was more worried about my blog readers and social media followers, “What about your followers?” They are going to miss you!”, his big heart was disappointed of my ease to detach from the world. My husband didn’t care much but in the back of his head probably questioned how long this detox would last. .I began my detox and something strange began to happen. Gradually my children and husband began to detach from being on their tablets or phones. It was very bizarre given that I never expected anybody to follow my lead. It was my choice to not be on social media or even on my phone unless I was directly connecting with someone via text or phone call. Other than that, I was off my phone. Every time I would step into the room, everyone would gradually get off their phones and would begin interacting with each other. It was like I had this super power over them that would force them to get off the grid and detach from the digital world. By the end of my detox, it became somewhat of an unspoken norm that if were were in the same space, we would engage with each other rather than the digital world. So believe it or not, moms have the super power to lead by example without having to impose a rule for everyone to comply. I detoxed and they followed….without my request.
Lesson #2: My children are growing and changing at the speed of light!
Yes! As mothers, we often feel time is flying by. At times we may look down (orin my case “up” with Leilani towering over me) and we say to our children the popular cliché “You’re growing way too fast!”. Guess what moms… they are! They are growing and developing faster than what it feels like. Stepping away from your phones or social media for at least a week will really help you see not only how fast but how much they are changing in all aspects of the word. You may even realize that taking pictures and recordings of your children to post on social media every second of the hour is taking the intentionality of your time spent with them. Granted, we want to capture every moment and keep it for record keeping for when they grow older we can sit on our couches and cry while we watch them. However, we must be mindful of how we invest our time on social media and maybe begin shifting some of time we spend replying to comments on the last cute picture or video we uploaded and instead start investing it in having one-on-one with our children. They are changing and growing…be intentional about the time and space you share with them.
Lesson #3: I had time to breathe deeper and love harder
Who knew all the time I used to spend on social media or online would add up to more time to breathe? Yes! I had more time to just sit there and be present in the moment. In the mornings, instead of jumping to my phone to check email or see notifications, I took those 10 minutes to lay awake and just be present. While laying I would practice mindfulness and explore how my body was feeling from head to toe. I would set my intentions for the day and then do my morning prayer. Finally, I would practice deep breathing techniques to finally wake up my senses and start my day. I even bought a plant to begin adding nature into my space, learn to appreciate it and allowing better oxygen to circulate. I also connected more with close friends rather than just click like on a picture to ease the guilt I had not called them in a while. The detox also allowed more time to have intentional and meaningful moments with my children and husband. There is value in simplicity and children admire simple things (my husband included). Why do you think children are more attracted to the small simple toy the found in the toy box before they gravitate elaborate toy you spent tons of money on and just sits in a corner in the playroom? We forget that part of loving harder could just be indulging in the simplicity of engaging in meaning interaction with our loved ones. The detox allowed me the opportunity to truly find time to love harder by finding gratitude in being fully present with my children, my husband and my new plant.
Will I do it again? I will certainly do this detox again. Maybe next time I go on vacation to truly enjoy it and be present for those around me. I may do shorter social media detoxes throughout the year when I need some true self-care or reflection. Maybe I will do it again next time I lose sight on how to love harder and enjoy the simple things. Maybe I will do it to simply remind myself of my super powers! In either case, I recommend it to any one, mom or not, to try it out. You will be surprised all the lessons that may be in store for you. Good luck!
Featured image source: Pixabay