My phone died again a few months ago and I didn’t put the Facebook or Instagram apps back on it when it was replaced. Why? Well there are a lot of reasons, but mostly it all boiled down to just not wanting to. You see, I’m turning forty, and I’ve realised that the total number of shits I have to give about things is finite. Yes, it’s taken forty years for me to realise that some things just aren’t worth giving a toss about. Profound aren’t I?
Here’s a little list of why taking a month or three off social media helped me to come to this deeply philosophical conclusion (about not giving a shit about worthless shizzle).
Facebook is full of shit. (see note)
Oh yes, I see that your child is magically gifted with the lego or the dancing and how successful they are at eating the vegetables. Oh and your husband surprised you with a zillion roses and dinner at the Opera House just because and I am just so wonderfully happy for you. Really, I am! Namaste to you!! Though, because I am stealthily very competitive, I note that my children are not great at dancing or constructing things that actually look like things out of lego and that they have a predominantly beige diet. Also my husband gave me a dutch oven and called it love. Maybe I can post a photo of them all sleeping because #cute and also #nottalking.
And then there are the pyramid schemers and the freaky way that the FB-bots know I’ve been coveting EOS boots and then tell me where to go buy them in my feed. Or the David Avocado Wolfe posts people actually share which makes me angry and want to punch a hole in the computer screen.
Note: Facebook is great for lots of things including raising money for charities and finding a supportive tribe.
Instagram is pretty.
Pretty bloody irritating. Why? Because you just scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and no I can’t play lego with you right now and scroll and scroll and scroll… Suddenly it’s 6pm and the kids are hangrily tugging at my arms for sustenance. What have I been doing since 3pm when they got home from school? Why won’t they sit and not make interesting things out of the lego I bought them for a few hours… every day? I love Instagram. We have an obsessive relationship transcending all else. Never instaleave me again.
Are you sensing the problem?
I don’t have hours per day to waste on the toilet.
On the very first day I quite social media I spent every moment on the toilet looking for something to do. Expelling waste from my body was clearly not enough to concentrate on. It took about three days before I remembered that in ye olde days learned scholars used to read books. I’ve read the IKEA catalogue about fifty times and a few parenting books since then which, considering the state of my non-scandi-stylised home and the attitudes of my children, has been about as beneficial as scrolling through Facebook. The upside is that my time on the toilet decreased by 95%.
People are mean.
More like absolute arsevalves. Whilst it’s clear I’m on the periphery of the blogging community because I’m not that great at it, I still engage in bloggy things. I read people’s blogs and enjoyed them even when I didn’t agree with them or I clicked out if I really didn’t. So to watch the online boxing matches between bloggers and/or their followers make a House of Cards episode look like a political take on The Brady Bunch… well…. it made me sad and revolted. I realise there are professional trollers and keyboard warriors out there (seriously? Who’s got the time??) but this really did seem like a lot of average cats digitally spitting and hissing. Can’t we all just get along?
Turns out I have a husband and two children who like to spend time with me.
I do think I was slightly addicted to social media. This became very obvious when, in that first week of my digital detox, I became obsessive about checking the weather or if any new houses had come up on Airbnb in Bangkok for an upcoming trip even though I’ve already booked accommodation. I realised that there were three other people in my house who, whilst I hadn’t been ignoring, I certainly hadn’t been paying attention to either. It wasn’t all sunshine, lollipops and kum by yah: the kids are still rubbish at lego after all. But I was more present as a mother, wife and friend. And got a hell of a lot more housework done.
I’m back… sort of.
I’ve pulled this social media stuff right back. I still haven’t installed Facebook on my phone but I do check once or twice a day on the computer. My Instahottie and I have managed to rekindle our love whilst finding time to ‘be ourselves’ without the other. And this blog? Well, I’m slowly coming back around. I tried to ‘niche down’ from mummy-travel-ranty-look-at-that-pretty-butterfly blog to simply a travel-with-kids blog and all the fun went out of it. So this The United States of Mama will revert to the series of brain-farts from my mind its title suggests. I’ve plans for a ‘niched-down’ website which will be ‘serious’ because I’m a wriiiiitaahhh now daaaahling but that’s a ways off. In the meantime, I might see you Facey.