Friday, January 25, 2013


This is difficult for me to admit, but sometime in the last few years I got lost. Somewhere along this crazy journey of marriage and motherhood I stopped really living. It was gradual, I think... maybe beginning with reading the news. I became so wrapped up in what was happening in the world, convinced that if I missed something I was somehow responsible for history repeating itself or the collapse of our Nation’s government. I poured over online articles in the name of education and patriotic duty. Then came the television. When we moved to Southern Utah it was impossible to get TV unless you paid for the service. This was a whole new world for me. Nights that used to be spent talking with my husband and laughing with my kids slowly became nights catching up with my DVR. But possibly the most useful and devastating was Facebook. I re-entered the facebook world a few years ago. I told myself that the ONLY way to stay connected with my friends and family was by “friending” them. And although my friend count pales in comparison to many a high school student, keeping up with 300 plus people is completely overwhelming. And don’t even get me started on the feelings of “purpose” and inadequacy that Pinterest brings to the table.

My point is this: I became so preoccupied staying up to date with everyone else in this world that I stopped connecting with the people living in my own home. Sadly, my kids became the distraction and not the other way around. I realized that the majority of our family time was sitting in the same room in front of different screens. We began to eat meals together less often and when we did it was rarely without someone being on their phone. We started staying up ridiculously late watching TV or posting to Facebook. Both my 4 year old and my 1 year old learned how to unlock my iPhone and watch cartoons, and even while driving my oldest can’t go longer than a few minutes without asking to watch a movie on the DVD player. We simply stopped living.

I have been pondering this remarkable change for the past few months and I have come up with some tragic lessons that the world has taught me:
  1. If it’s not on facebook, it didn’t really happen.
  2. If you don’t reach a certain number of likes or comments on your status updates, you are not good enough.
  3. Pinning is as good as doing.
  4. A picture cannot be considered a memory unless it has an instagram filter applied to it.
  5. Hashtags make words important.
  6. No one likes those people who only check social media a few times a week because they are “impossible” to get ahold of.
  7. Whether it is checking your facebook while watching TV, or texting while listening to your spouse, multitasking is an essential life skill.
  8. We should be grateful to live in a world where our children can be so easily occupied.
I learned these lessons from the world. But my children are learning these lessons from me. The other day I was taking a picture of my four year old and he asked, “Did you post it yet?” I stopped and realized that in his mind his life is documented and shared instantly. What kind of pressure does that put on a kid? Will he soon begin to believe that if I don’t post something it’s not meaningful or worthy of praise?

I have been in denial about this problem for a long time. I have excused myself, accepting that we live in a different world now. Everybody lives this way. But then I heard a voice--Tom Hanks’ voice actually. I was flipping mindlessly through the hundreds of channels that Dish Network streams into my living room and suddenly he appeared on my screen--Joe Fox typing an email to Shopgirl. His voice started narrating the message as he asked her, “Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself?”

Without even realizing it, I answered “Yes.”

That was it. Now most of you are hopefully jumping to my defense in your minds right now, about to comment with flowery compliments and inspirational quotes. Save yourself the time though. I don’t think I’m a horrible person. I just finally have to be honest with myself. All the years of feeling like I had hit rock bottom, then seeming to find a jackhammer and make a basement for rock bottom... those moments were my fault. I had done it to myself by making everything else more important than what really matters: my family, my faith, and myself. Nothing that I know about, say to, or do for others will matter much if those three things fall apart.

So here’s the drastic plan. Effective in one week I am:
  • Canceling our current internet provider and switching to a mobile plan that Joe can carry with him for work. I will no longer have internet during the day.
  • Canceling our television service.
  • Selling my iPhone and replacing it with a “dumb” phone.
  • Shutting down my facebook account. (For posterity’s sake I will finally be updating my blog again... obviously less often since I won’t always have internet.)
Joe and I had a long talk about this and we are both excited. I’m relieved mostly. I already feel that the pressure is gone. My life is enough.

(I’ll let you know how it goes... if I find the time.)