I held out on getting an iPhone longer then most mothers. Before I took the plunge, I scoffed at my mom and good friend who were newly addicted.
When my oldest was 3, my husband got a new iPhone. I
got his hand me down. Of course, I, too, became addicted.
I could not believe how much easier it was to get out of bed
and breastfeed my next two children. With my first, I would make myself get up and not fall asleep
by grabbing a piece of gum and chewing it.
I remember so much about that year of getting up with him.
Staring at his face, feeling his freezing toes (why I didn't put socks on him I'll
never know). With my next two, I would pop out of bed, because it
was so much fun to tweet with other hashtag #Zombie Moms. I wasn't staring at my
babies' faces; I was staring at the screen.
I began diving into Instagram heavily with my third child. I
liked it far better than Twitter and Facebook. It felt like where the
alternative people hung out. I posted unflattering photos of me in mismatched
socks, ugly pajamas, whatever seemed fun.
But then I started to push my business on social media. That was something I had always been against.
I'd go to mom conferences and "friend" new people I met. I should explain that my IG account was under my show's name, but when you clicked on it my name was there. I posted lots of personal photos.
But in the last six months, I had started to notice that every time I'd go on Instagram, I'd get grouchy. I also noticed that when something happened with the kids they would say, "Take a photo!"
That really bothered me. My oldest, who is 9, posted an anonymous Lego he made with his buddy.
"How many thumbs up did we get?" they asked each other. They said things like, "We are popular."
I told them that those thumbs up meant nothing, but I felt like a hypocrite. I was on my phone too much looking exactly for that: thumbs up.
Even more recently, Instagram and my phone have really gotten to me. I felt sad looking up old friends and, like a stalker seeing old boyfriends, what they were up to. Depressed that I wasn't invited to events and strangely sucker-punched if someone un-liked me.
Meanwhile, I, myself, had un-liked a bunch of people this summer due to feeling overwhelmed with the feed and just wanting to follow a few. Not until later did I realize, shit, those people probably thought I didn't "like" them. Which wasn't the truth.
The constant stream of pictures was making me feel like I could not pay attention in "real" life. My husband and best friends kept telling me, do not delete your account, just erase it from your iPhone. Problem was, if I was somewhere with enough time, I'd get the App right back on my phone and sneak a peak.
Boom. Back down the rabbit hole.
One night after looking at my IG account and realizing another person had un-friended me, I thought, "Jesus, I'm almost 40. Why do I care?" And "What the hell am I doing on this shit? I'm not getting people to my show via IG." It was making me miserable.
I deleted my Instagram account.
Not one person emailed or called to say, "Hey, where did you go on Instagram?"
I didn't have a humongous following, I think 800. I did shave quite a few influential people following me. I went downstairs and announced this to my husband.
"Good," he said.
The next day my iPhone broke. I can't tell you how relieved I was. I was without it for a week.
I actually had to call my friends from my land line (yep, we still have one). I can't tell you how incredibly freeing it was. I drove to a new place and wrote down directions before I left. I didn't have that worried feeling about not getting back to someone's text right away.
I told my husband I wanted to buy a "dumb phone." He told me that was dumb. He could dumb down my iPhone. So I went to get my iPhone looked at. They offered me a new phone for only $75, and I took it.
I'm in such a better place not looking at Instagram so much. It took a few days for my brain to re-wire and not think, "Damn, that's pretty. Post that."
The biggest surprise? I read a book. Instead of picking up my phone, I picked up a book. My anxiety was better as well and I was a calmer mom. For real. There was an even bigger surprise than reading a book: Not one person emailed or called to say, "Hey, where did you go on Instagram?"