My Life as a Castaway

Some days, life as a stay-at-home-mom feels a lot like being marooned on the deserted island that is my house. Aside from two small, wild native-dwellers, my only companion is a much more technologically savvy version of Wilson: Facebook.

As much as I’d like to embrace the cliché that SAHMs sit around all day, eating bonbons while watching soap operas, I cannot. It’s much less glamorous. My toddler ensures that I’m only allowed to bathe two or three times a week, and the baby likes to remind me why bathing is overrated by puking down my shirt and eating my hair. On the rare occasion that I open the door for a UPS or FedEx driver, they’re usually greeted with a wild look in my eyes and scary hair. On good days my teeth are brushed.

It ain’t pretty, folks. My desperation for adult human contact often leads me to scroll through Facebook throughout the day — while nursing the baby (which is how a good chunk of my day is spent), attempting rare solo bathroom trips, during naptimes, and when the natives get restless enough to put me on edge. I’m part of a few mommy groups, and we tend to check in with each other throughout the day to ask questions (Does this look infected? What’s for dinner tonight? Should I call poison control?), and talk one another off of emotional ledges when our kids go rogue. While these interactions can be good and helpful, boundaries are necessary. I had blurred the lines and let my boundaries become so lax that they were almost non-existent. A few weeks ago, Mark jokingly made the comment, “I bet you couldn’t go a week without Facebook.” His words stuck in the back of my mind.

Last Sunday afternoon, while mindlessly scrolling along, I came across this Matt Chandler quote: “Find the things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them, find the things that rob you of that affection and walk away from them.” Those words immediately hit home. I had become dependent on these daily interactions with friends and acquaintances, and had been neglecting things that should be priorities. I allowed my mind to be filled with other voices all day long. While these voices were friendly and encouraging, they weren’t the one voice that mattered most. When the kids did something funny or frustrating, I wasn’t just telling my husband about it, I was telling fifty other women through my Facebook groups. Some things simply need to be cherished in my heart, not splashed about the internet for the grins and giggles of the masses. After reading that quote, I handed my phone to Mark and instructed him to change my Facebook password.

Cool, calm, and collected on the outside, my guts began to inwardly panic.

The first day was a little rough, but by the second day Asher and I were reading chapters out of Winnie the Pooh, and “cooking” together. During nursing sessions with Keane, I figured out how to hold a book and a baby and a boob so I could read to Asher while Keane ate. Productive multitasking, sans iPhone and Facebook. By the third day, my brain began swirling with blog ideas. Blogging has always been a favorite outlet of mine, but as of late my brain has been so fried that it’s been the last thing on my mind. Without the constant daily input from my online mommy friends (and without my input to other mommies), my mind became filled with thoughts and my heart became filled with prayer.
My own organic ideas flitted through my brain.
Light bulb moments flashed when I least expected them.
I felt my creativity return and my mind felt more engaged throughout the day. Rather than staying abreast of the happenings and activities of my fellow mommy friends, I was wholly present with my little family. One day when Asher was particularly difficult, I turned to my husband and my parents for support and prayer. In the past, I would lament online. By no means is Facebook the devil, but I needed to get it under control before it began to control me. Now, I pass my phone over to my husband once a week and ask him to log me in. I check out my friends’ cute baby photos, check in with some of my favorite mommies, and then I log out for the rest of the week. It’s good and necessary to be alone with my thoughts…quite freeing, actually!

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