So who doesn’t love scrolling through social media..? Checking out the latest trends, pics of your friends' weekend shenanigans, comments on family functions and even keeping tabs on that frenemy. Then there's watching endless videos of how to bake a chocolate cake & now endless scrolling through reels... Well me. To be honest it was a love-hate relationship. Why? Well, because I became obsessive.
For those who don't know me well, "Hi, I'm Q's Mum and I have an obsessive personality". When I do something I enjoy, I obsess over it for days, even weeks. If I start a new series on Netflix, read a book or even play a new game, I do it until my eyes cannot handle it anymore and I usually end up sleep-deprived for days. One thing that I am obsessed with is murder mystery documentaries. I'm not a horror/thriller genre fangirl, but I do love the non-fiction version of it, and when I’m done watching my documentary, I usually sit for hours researching every aspect of it, from interviews to news articles. So I guess that makes me the boring one in my relationship. Don't tell Q's Dad I admitted that.
Well back to social media. I was on social media doing my usual rounds, scrolling, liking, commenting and of course, reeling. That kept me addicted for hours on end. It got to the point where I was spending nearly 4 hours a day on my phone. Q's Dad "lovingly advised me" (forced my stubborn a**) to watch a documentary called "The Social Dilemma”. For those who haven't watched it as yet, it's basically how social media has been designed is to nurture addiction and it examines the serious issue of how social media affects mental health. This made me think of my journey with social media, being a Gen Y/Millenial we were not exposed to social media growing up. We played hide and seek, rode our bicycles around the neighbourhood & came home when the street lights came on. Good times. Afternoons were spent watching Verimark infomercials to kill some time, "But wait, there's more!".
When social media started it was just too new for me to get into, but as time went on it began to grow on me. My obsession started when I became a mom, as my free time was spread into intervals throughout the day at inconvenient times, allowing me to only engage in unproductive things, well that's what I made myself believe. Sitting in a room all by myself while nursing or making Q sleep, it was so easy to see what's happing on the gram and I ended up scrolling for hours, looking at random posts and not doing much with my time. Then the pandemic hit and of course being an extrovert locked up at home my only social interaction outside of my family was social media. My nights were spent aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The obsession was clear, the numbers were speaking for themselves and something needed to be done. And done fast! It was a committed relationship. But an unhealthy one. That’s when it happened, cold-turkey. The pipeline severed. Enough was enough! I looked away from my screen & realised what I had in front of me. The break up brought a whole lot of emotions like any break up would I guess... and yes, I’m still not completely over it, how can I be, social media is here to stay. We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is not all bad, in fact, it can be amazing, which I'm rediscovering. There is a lot of information and good initiatives happening and the awareness generated is like never before. Whether it's that influencer mum, inspirational heartfelt stories, recipes, shopping or something that gets you to LOL for real, just make sure it doesn't start affecting your productivity, creativity, relationships and most importantly your mental health.
I made a lot of changes after the breakup, like focusing on myself, my reading, my spirituality & spending quality time with Q (kids know when your focus is not on them) and nurturing my relationship with Q’s Dad. When Q's Collection launched, I would get involved in social media again but I made sure I limited my exposure to the things that didn't contribute to my happiness & growth. Q's Dad has been very supportive of actually doing our social media endeavours together. If you've seen our reels on IG, you know all about that, check them out here.
My suggestion let us put our phones down a little more often and start living life a whole lot more!
A constant reminder to myself:
Be grateful more.
For those mums who have no idea how social media works... I know there's still a few of you out there, no judgement. Here's a brief explanation:
Facebook - I like to sleep.
Twitter - Dreaming of sleep. #tired
Foursquare - This is where I don't sleep.
Instagram - Here's an old pic of my face before I looked sleep-deprived. #tbt
LinkedIn - My skills include surviving on little to no sleep
Pinterest - Here's a picture of a tired cat with a funny caption to express how much I need sleep.
FYI I'm still on social media but sparingly in my personal capacity. If your family time, happiness or sanity is being stolen by your or your partners use of social media perhaps its time to reconsider whether that like, share or comment is all worth it. Have you been through something similar? Leave a comment, I would love to know about how you overcame or still struggle with your social media use.