On our last family holiday I was happily perched on the couch one night with bubba sleeping soundly down the hallway and hubby beside me. I was doing what I always did – scrolling mindlessly through a social media feed on my phone – when I was suddenly confronted by a very disturbing post. I’m sure this has probably happened to most of us. I know it’d happened to me before. But this was different. I was so shocked and felt very upset. I even found myself needing to put my phone away from me, screen down, and have a good cry. I longed to go and hug my daughter and not let go. I wished I’d never seen the horrible content. And the worst part seemed to be that it was shared by a friend of mine who probably thought it was a perfectly fine thing to broadcast to their mates.
I never asked to see it. I wasn’t prepared for it and had no warning it would be in my hand and in my sanctuary of personal space. I didn’t look at that particular website for quite a while.
Fast forward a few weeks and I was watching a video made by one of my favourite Youtubers. There was Hannah Michalak talking about how her relationship with her eldest son has changed since her second son was born. I was bawling again. I’ve thought so much about what it would be like to have another child and my feelings are mixed. It’s a huge shift to go from one soul to love and pour your best into… to two. How would that be? I love to spend time with my little girl – just us. How would that be? Two? It’s a huge change.
Anyway turns out that, for Hannah, she found it hard in lots of ways. And sad and bittersweet. This resonated with me and I found myself a little more afraid of a second bubba than I had been in the past. This prompted a long talk with my husband and he was quite shocked that a video on Youtube had upset me so much it caused me to question something in my own life. Don’t get me wrong – I hadn’t decided not to try for another baby one day but it brought up feelings I didn’t know I had and, looking back, I probably just needed to go through that moment at some point. It just happened to be Hannah who prompted the moment to come. Well, that night after feeling pretty emotional and overwhelmed, I finally did something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I deleted all the social media apps from my phone and ceased checking any of my online accounts. That was October 23. As I write this, it’s December 3 so that’s 41 days without social media.
Why did I stop engaging with social media? It was all too much. I was so exposed to it, absorbed by it, invested in it, distracted by it and judged by it. I didn’t want to write on my blog for fear I might add to the noise. There is SO much noise online. So much information being jammed into our present moments, robbing us of mindfulness and mystery. I personally felt I’d reached my limit of what I could take in. I jokingly started saying to friends “I’ve figured out the secret to understanding parenthood. Apparently EVERYTHING you do, EVERY choice you make… is WRONG. No matter how hard you try to do what’s best – it’s not. And there’s ‘research’ to prove it. And there’s someone ready to tell you that loud and clear at every turn!”
The truth is that I’m not sure I’m equipped to filter all the content I consume. It was beginning to do my head in. I felt the need to stem the flow.
On top of going cold turkey on the online world, I also stopped listening to, reading or watching the news. I know this all sounds tres dramatic. But being exposed to all this information, broadcasting, yelling, blasting, screaming…. it felt dramatic! So 41 days of quiet has done my soul some deep good. I think I’ll blog a bit more another day and tell you how that’s been. Not right now though. Bedtime now.
But just before I go…
Tonight, my husband was practicing playing his beloved new electric guitar. I was sitting on the floor listening to his fragmented songs and I felt a little lost. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been itchy to say something myself online. I felt like I wanted to write. Create. Put something out into the world for the sake of doing so. And then I did. And it felt ok.