|A completely unrelated shot from my photography homework.|
Well, it's the last day of my one week Facebook break, and the finish line is within sight! I am going to make it. Admittedly, at this point my fingers are itching to log in, and I think about Facebook (how sad is that?) every 3 minutes, but I think that's only because I am so close to being done.
Overall, it has been a really good experience, with the best part being me seeing just how much of a time sink Facebook really is for me, and how much better I use my time when I'm not constantly glued to my phone. I mean, I get stuff done even when I use Facebook, but I was honestly shocked to discover the extra minutes and sometimes hours I gained throughout the day when I left it alone. I even managed to do a few things I've been trying to get to for weeks, like sorting through the kids' shoes (they've outgrown so many shoes!) and vacuuming the couch.
I also feel like I've been more present and connected in our family this week. When I'm not distracting myself with things that are less important, I have the presence of mind to really ask Nick about his work, or see how Gwen has figured out how to open all of the doors with different locks on one of her toys. I've read books and played a bit more with the kids than I usually do, which is something they love and really want from me, but that I am sadly not always that great at making time for. But this week I had more time, so I was happy to give some of it to them!
OK, so this is all sounding very grand. But I have to admit that life without Facebook isn't all sunshine and rainbows. As you may know, I am a stay at home mother, and so I sometimes spend entires days where the only adult I interact with is my husband after he gets home from work. That can get lonely, and much as I adore them, my kids are still a bit limited in their conversational skills. (Gwen's longest sentence to date is "Oh no! Show all done.") So having an outlet like Facebook that let's me chat with friends and family all over the world is quite valuable to me. I like feeling like I know what's going on in their lives', even if it is relatively superficial. And believe you me, I know a lot more about what my cousins are doing (decorating their basements, doing triathlons and moving onto houseboats) with Facebook, than I ever did without it. And I've missed seeing my friends' chubby-cheeked babies climbing into laundry baskets this week!
I also use Facebook as a bit of a news source, and follow several sites like NPR, BBC, Aftenposten (Norwegian newspaper) and will often view their news stories via Facebook, which I haven't been doing this week. I've still kept up on the news somewhat, but haven't really seen the more in-depth articles that the various sites will post to their Facebook page. What I'm saying is, I miss you, NPR!
And finally, back to the stay at home parent thing. I'm not sure how related this is to my Facebook break, but I was pretty grumpy by the end of the week. Being a more aware parent has probably meant that I have clamped down a bit more on things like iPad time and have let less naughtiness slide (I promise my kids have not been as neglected as I'm making it sound!). Which made both of us grumpy and there may have been tears and tantrums. So by Friday night I had to pawn him off on Nick just to go for a walk and get a little breathing space and perspective before I could feel like a decent mom again. But I ultimately don't feel like it's worth being a zombie mom with my nose glued to my phone just so we can have a little comfort buffer between us. Does that make sense? I need to really be completely present for them a bit more, even if it might be a little hard for all of us at first.
So, moving forward: I'll start using Facebook again tonight, and will be absolutely delighted to see how many notifications have built up in the past week. But I've decided to not put it back on my phone, or either of the iPads. I like to feel connected to people I care about and the world in general, but I have also liked the feeling of having more time and awareness. So either I'm going to find myself pulling out the laptop to use Facebook a lot more, or I'm going to spend a more appropriate amount of time checking to see who commented on my latest Instagram post. Fingers crossed for the latter!