On not being swallowed by the storm.

by Beth Anne on February 25, 2013

Early last week, I deleted Facebook off my phone. I’ve been a member of Facebook since my senior year in college & truthfully, I am exhausted of it after almost 10 years.

Then on Thursday night, I deleted Twitter.

It’s easy to feel so small & insignificant in this huge world of constant connectivity & social media.  Like standing in front of a crashing ocean before a hurricane & I’m not sure whether the feeling is thrilling or terrifying, but I’m pretty sure I’m about to be eaten alive by either the storm itself or what lies beneath it.

It’s easy to feel left behind & overwhelmed & just plain old not good enough ever. The competition to write that first, get more shares, get more likes, more followers…it is mind-numbing exhaustion & the truth is that the more I’m connected to everyone else, the less I’m connected to myself. That, my friends, is a shame. I read articles about moms pushing their babies on the swing while checking their phones & I’d sniff that it wasn’t me but the truth is, it is me. It’s all of us & we’re just too damn afraid to admit it while our phones sit in our back pockets at the dinner table. I used to justify it by “growing my brand” but this blog will never be my business & it’s liberating.

So I deleted it all. I am not small & I’m not insignificant in real life where I laugh louder than I should & get lost into a book for hours, where I pretend-play kitchen with my son & then be the woman curved against my husband.

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photo On not being swallowed by the storm.This weekend Doug & I made floating shelves & Harrison helped with the wood glue & we made burrito bowls for supper. We were having such a wonderful time that at 5:30pm when I was supposed to leave for a Girls Night In, I decided to stay home. I love my girlfriends. They’re a very part of my soul & I miss them & wanted to see them, but I wanted my boys more in that moment & that’s okay.

The point is that while my friends on Twitter were trying to convince me to go, my phone couldn’t chirp & it was easier to follow my heart & take care of me.

The next morning, I woke up before the boys & then took Harrison to the park, just me & him. It was gorgeous but the air was cool & his tiny hand held mine & he’s learning to skip. He asked me if I smelled that & yep, I smell sunshine & rain & trees. What do you smell, Hibby? He smells poop!! because he’s a three-year-old boy & potty humor is the funniest thing ever. We fed ducks & he climbed the rock wall & the steel ladders all by himself. Afterwards, we went to Trader Joes & I let him use a little cart & he felt so big. He asked me if we could get veggie sticks & sliced mushrooms & even though he has no idea what either of those are, I said yes & he was so proud to push his groceries through the store.

When the sun set yesterday after we spent the afternoon planting flowers & jumping on the trampoline, I sat on the deck & leaned back against the house & told Doug how much I loved living in our home with him.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna February 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I’m not going to lie, I’m jealous. I don’t think I can do it…

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I thought the same thing. Deleting Facebook was easy but I told my friends that there was NO WAY I could let go of Twitter. Four days later, I just did it without thinking about it.

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Stef February 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Wait, I’m confused. Did you have two Twitter accounts? I just came to this post from a link you tweeted.

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Stef February 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Beautiful post though, either way. :)

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I just deleted the app off my phone, not my Twitter account :)

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Michelle S February 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Good for you! I would totally do it if I wasn’t an admin for a local non-profit group. I have taken days at a time away from my personal page and it feels so good.

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Kylee February 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

You’re inspiring me.

The other day my 3.5-year-old told me to “please put your phone down.”

Wake up call.

This resonated: “It is mind-numbing exhaustion & the truth is that the more I’m connected to everyone else, the less I’m connected to myself. :

OH, I love that.

(I may quote you on my blog, if you don’t mind.)

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I don’t mind at all!

(I’m terrified of Harry saying something similar to me. Oh, how I feel you.)

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Melinda February 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm

my daughter has said the same thing to me to get me to play with her. it makes me feel awful.

but she’s also told me to put my coffee down, soo… ;)

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Mary Lanier February 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I’m so with you! I realized my boys were going to have this image of me holding my phone thumbing my screen engrained in their minds forever and it scared the sh*# out of me! I’m almost positive that on my death bed I will not say ” Sure wish I had spent more time on Pinterest! I just really didn’t tweet enough! I think I could have posted a little more on Facebook!” Good job! Thanks for sharing and encouraging! :)

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Cassandra Beverly February 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Yea, go BA! I took a gigantic step and deleted my Facebook page last month. It’s been amazing! I’m finding my interactions have become more intentional!

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Tottums February 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I kinda feel the exact opposite. Connecting with and being in touch with so many people I love and sharing my life with them {through FB} is such a part of who I am and what I love doing, I feel like I would be giving a piece of me up. Yeah, I’m that mom at the park taking photos and video of her kids with her phone … and I’m okay with that. I love having that documentation now, and I know I’ll love it even more 20 years from now. I totally agree that ‘unplugging’ is extremely important as well – one on one time, without electronics – YES. But I cherish having the access to upload at a moment’s notice. Whether you’re sharing or not, making those memories is what’s important <3

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I love this point of view, too. I think social media is so important, especially to connect us mommas. I just needed to unplug a bit! Who knows where I’ll be on this issue in a month or two, but hopefully less inclined to tap into social media the moment I’m idle!

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Michelle February 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Do you mean that you temporarily deleted twitter? Because you have been tweeting all weekend. And you said in this very post that after you deleted twitter, your friends ON twitter were pushing you to go to your girls night.

I quit facebook for 3 weeks after the election last year. I had someone harassing me based on a very non-threatening post I made re: the election results and decided that I needed to just get the F away from it all. It was a very nice 3 weeks. When I reactivated my account, I cleaned house big time and got rid of a lot of “friends.” That made a huge difference. Sure, my FB maybe isn’t as exciting but it is the people that I really care to read about now.

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Yes, deleted the app off my phone but still can access it from a desktop. It’s also on my iPad, but that stays home & is rarely used. I still love Twitter, I just don’t want to have it at my fingertips 24/7.

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Claudia February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

She didn’t say she deleted her Twitter account, she just deleted the app from her mobile phone. She has to physically sit at a laptop, computer/desktop, tablet to log on and post.

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Julia's Math February 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I was a little late to the social media party, so my relationship has been very hot and cold. Mainly, I resent the whole premise on which its built- to be in the moment with everyone else on social media means I’m not in the moment with the people I’m actually with… It’s very O.Henry…

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Heather February 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I read it as she deleted the Twitter & Facebook apps from her phone, not permanently. Correct me if I’m wrong, BA. =)

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Beth Anne February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

correct!

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Alisha February 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I think I admire you a little bit more for this post. :) Mind numbing exhaustion sums up how I feel sometimes and the competion just to share and like and Bleh! Over it! I’ll still grow my photography business but not at the expense of my mental health. I opted out of internet service on my phone. I can include it whenever i want, but knowing i’m not tied to social media on it is liberating. Enjoy the mental peace that comes from not obsessing every 5 minutes.

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Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood February 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I am the friend who makes everyone angry because I don’t respond to texts or tweets. I leave my phone in a speaker dock all day and forget its even there. I’ve been working hard at not always being connected through technology because it leaves me disconnected in real life. I think it’s a great thing that you’ve done. I work at it daily and sometimes think I ‘need’ to be connected for my job but the truth is I don’t, no one needs to be found or talked to 24/7. It’s been freeing so far. Looks like you’re experiencing the same thing, :)

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Melanie February 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm

“It’s easy to feel left behind & overwhelmed & just plain old not good enough ever.” This line explains everything I’ve been feeling. It’s overwhelmed me and given me anxiety and panic attacks. Help.

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Rebecca February 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Oh BA, I LOVE this. For the last two and a half years that I’ve been more public about my blog and trying to grow my audience, I’ve been kind of consumed with the social media aspect of it. It IS mind numbing and if big dogs like you feel small and insignificant than you can only imagine how small the little guys feel :) I’ve struggled with wanting to share myself and my story with more people but not neglecting my real life in the meantime.

I think you are right on with this decision. I don’t want to be the mom constantly attached to her phone either. My kids and husband deserve so much more than that.

Thanks so much for sharing this. It has challenged me to step away from the madness too :)

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Ali @thecoffeeqwwn February 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm

A while back I learned to put down my phone. I only use Facebook for in real people and family that lives far away. I rarely use it except to post about the kids so that my hubs grandma can see the kids since they live far away. I tweet every now and then. I pretty much only stay constant on Instagram. Even then I’ve gone days without posting. I have always tried to come from a place of honesty and try to not force things. Which is why I haven’t blogged in over a week. Yea I have things to say but I’m busy with my family. Glad you found your freedom. Enjoy it!

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laura February 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I deleted FB from my phone for lent and it has been amazing. Case in point, leading up to Valentine’s Day I was feeling overwhelmed because *all* I did for my 2 year olds Valentines’ was buy some personalized ones from tinyprints, I didn’t make a ‘school of fish’ or bookmark or who knows what else. Compared to my FB feed, I felt not good enough. But then ellie came home from daycare and all the other Valentine’s were similar and I suddenly felt just fine.

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erin from swonderland February 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

This is the first time I’ve ever clicked through to your blog because I’ve reached a point where I just never click through to blogs and that clicking-through used to be the whole point of twitter to me but now I don’t have any idea what the point of twitter is. I think it’s to see what is going on so I’m not missing something. But instead I miss my old life that didn’t involve “checking in” on thousands of strangers. Part of me wants to just get rid of my iPhone. I think it’s actually really unhealthy to be on-call to everyone at every moment. Anyway, I super get everything you said. And hey, I have a Harrison too. Mine is two. We mostly call him Hal around the house.

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Jenn February 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I don’t even have internet on my phone. I just recently started texting within the last year. I see how friends and family feel the need to constantly check it instead of being in the moment and it drives me nuts. My husband being one of those people. I am constantly getting on him because I don’t feel that facebook needs a minute by minute picture update of what we are doing.

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Erin February 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Sounds like a pretty rockin’ weekend. I’ve been pushing myself to put the phone away whenever Jackson is awake and it’s been a refreshing experience to actually be present with my family! Who would’ve thought, right? :)

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Tasha M February 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Love this! Thank you! I have been trying to limit my social media time and it never even occurred to me to just delete it from my ph

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Tasha M February 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm

From my ph

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Tasha M February 25, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Sorry about that! From my phone. Thanks for the idea

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Tara February 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I gave up Facebook for Lent and, so far, don’t miss it at all. I also gave up pasta and that I do miss terribly.

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Breenah February 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm

This is part of the reason I’m glad I don’t have a smartphone. I’d have ALL the apps. And delete and redownload over and over, probably. Although, the main reason I have a Twitter is for pointless stuff (so it doesn’t matter if it gets Tweeted or not) and giveaway entries.

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Candice February 25, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Good for you! I recently shut off the FB and Twitter notifications on my phone so that I’m not tempted to check them when I’m just checking my phone for something else. Now I only log onto the apps when I can be honest with myself if I have the time to do so.

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Janna February 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm

CONGRATULATIONS! I did the same two weeks ago, but with Facebook only as I don’t have a Twitter. It is the most amazing, liberating feeling. I don’t feel the need to check my FB every three seconds to make sure that I am up on the drama, gossip, jealousy, or “excitement” of other peoples’ lives. I feel like this will make me more intentional about my relationships and who I grow close with.

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jussy February 26, 2013 at 3:48 am

since we have moved to germany, we gave up smart phones altogether. that’s right. we jumped back to the 90′s with phone that just….bum bum bum….makes phone calls. THAT was truly liberating. while we are out, no one can get in touch with us unless we need them to. it’s fantastic. the only way i have connectivity to FB is when i am sitting at my desk. and i only do that first thing in the am, or after the kids are in bed. i quit twitter because, talk about feeling insignificant. it’s like being in the back of the room trying to have your voice heard with a million voices drowning yours out. and facebook is mostly a place where i post pics of my kids for my family to see. and where i talk about how much i love cheese and glee. but i have IRL friends who aren’t on facebook. it’s cray. and amazeballs.

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Mary Henderson February 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

I really, REALLY need to do this with my phone. I’m on it way too much. I can’t wait for a break in he winter weather so we can go to the park and play outside with bubbles at night. Winter needs to go away!

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Arnebya February 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

Oh, the potty humor. It’s hilarious (and usually inappropriate, which makes it even damn funnier.) I love waking up before everyone else, having that small window of time with just the two of us (and then I feel bad b/c I look forward to time w/him, at 3 with just running and jumping and fart jokes, more than I do with the girls at 12 and 9 because UGH I am so not into your 7th grade politics this morning.)

As for the social media, eh. I’m there sort of but not fully. I agree on Facebook (thinking of deleting my blog page b/c it really serves no purpose for me; it’s just ONE MORE place for me to say look I’ve written this (when truth be told I want people to subscribe and receive notification on my new posts because to me, if you like me enough, enjoy reading me enough, you’ll want me and you won’t care that I’m not on FB.) I still like Twitter, though. I find it intriguing and interesting and I simply don’t use it much to pimp myself. Occasionally, I pimp, yes, but it’s not my sole goal there so I’m ok with that. I will admit, though, that I am less into either and tend to simply scroll through Twitter to make the most recent stuff show up. It’s almost like what is it doing for me? Oh, nothing much? Eh.

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Lauren February 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

This is exactly why I refuse to get an Iphone. It’s disgusting how addicted people have become to social media. I often wonder, how do they even have time to connect to their kids? All they do is tweet. Good for you BA. I try hard to not pick up the ipod until after my kids are in bed. It can be difficult while they are watching Dora and Yo Gabba Gabba, but it’s worth it.

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christina February 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

I don’t even have a twitter account. I have no use for it and I don’t need to be that connected.
I started taking yoga. And I’m learning how to focus on one thing at a time fully, not 50 things a little bit and all somewhat neglected. No more phones on the playground, no more phones in the store. I don’t NEED a phone on my person at all times and I certainly don’t need apps.
We should try to go back to a simpler living with a little less instant gratification, instagramification, facebook likes and comments and retweets. What about just smiling, being present, in the moment, and not in 80 places at once.
I’m trying. I’m glad to see you are too, it’s not easy, but once you’ve done it , it’s fucking liberating as all hell.

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Jenn R February 26, 2013 at 11:52 am

I am one of the few Facebook holdouts (you don’t miss what you never had) and Twitter is even more nonessential in my life. When I moved from “dumb” phone to smart phone, I intentionally got a Blackberry because all I wanted was to be able to text and check my email occasionally. I’m a few years older than you, so I think I’m more immune to this constant need to be connected, but I’m here to tell you it’s totally possible to live without Facebook and the rest. Yes, I miss out on pictures of my friends’ kids and vacations and it’s more difficult to stay in touch with people who live far away, but I just have to make more of an effort to stay connected in more meaningful ways – like phone calls, cards (people love cards!), or personal emails.

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suzanne February 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

So proud of you! Disconnecting has been one of the BEST decisions I ever made. I do miss writing my blog, but not all of the anxiety and competition and ugliness that came with it. It’s been an amazing two months rediscovering myself, my loved ones, my home … even food. Without having to document every single effing thing. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to throw Lily a birthday party without stressing over whether or not it was Pinterest-worthy or taking the *perfect* photos for my blog. I was just there. With my daughter. Being a momma. And soaking up every minute.

Enjoy this! You deserve it.

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Beth Anne February 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I miss your words so, so much. But I do understand & I’m still so thankful for all you gave your readers for so long.

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Erin February 27, 2013 at 9:40 am

100% exactly what Suzanne said! That is one of the main reasons I also cancelled my blog & last night I actually closed the site with all my health updates. It served it’s purpose- letting people know how I was doing, treatments were going, surgeries, etc but now I feel like if someone wants to know how my next surgery went they can get a hold of me or someone in my family. That’s how things used to be before the muck of social media!
I realized the same thing as above; I was never in the “moment”. I was constantly thinking of what picture to use for my next post & how I would word it & would people laugh, cry, love me for it? Then I realized I didn’t care what people thought. When I had blue hair in college I didn’t care what people thought so I’m not sure why I would now?! Now I can just “be” with my family & not worry about everyone loving me.
But BA- don’t go anywhere b/c I love reading your blog :) !!!

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rachel February 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

sometimes, i swear your posts are like soul food to me.

not like collard greens & cornbread. i mean, like, actual food for my starving soul.

thanks lady. xx

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Jess February 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I love this. You are amazing. Seriously it puts it into perspective. I write for me but then you can’t help but be tempted by all the crap. I deleted FB from my phone. I’d stopped trolling it a while ago and I did. But it stayed there.

In thinking about Blissdom, I honestly was looking at the life improvement segments. Not just the writing because I’m NOT trying to be the next big thing and I know I never will be. It’s about meeting and making friends and having time for me.

Thank you. I truly appreciate it.

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Beth Anne February 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Definitely.

Come Blissdom, I will put Twitter back on my phone for the conference because that is the main form of catching up with people. But it will come right off once I land in Raleigh on Sunday.

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Susan February 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Just deleted my FB app from phone…been on my mind & your post pushed me to just do it. Thanks :)

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Tabitha February 27, 2013 at 4:42 am

I am that weird blog stalker that lurks and admirers from afar typically. But you once gave me some great advice via email and I’m so grateful for it. I adore reading what you have to write and my favorite aspect of your writing is the brutal honesty. I know it would be wonderful if you could live off the blog’s income. But not at the cost of compromising you. You are doing valuable work that has ripples beyond what you see.

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Steph C February 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

SO refreshing to read this post. I had Twitter for about a month a while back, and quickly got overwhelmed with it all. Trying to keep tabs on FB and Twitter and email, it was all too much. So now I just have FB, but I am on it much, much less than I was a year ago. I’ve had many conversations with friends about how it’s almost a little scary how dependant we all are on social media and the internet. It’s at our fingertips all the time, but at what cost? When we were growing up, as children of the 80′s, (or 90′s, or 70′s, whatever), there were no smart phones, and computers were big bulky things that we used mostly for typing up documents. I wonder how much of real, live conversations this new generation will lose thanks to social media, smart phones, and ipads. It makes me want to get rid of it all.

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Amanda @ The Meyer Twins March 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

You’ve prompted me to do the same thing – I removed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ve started blogging again, something I did consistently during TTC, infertility treatment and pregnancy. Once my kiddos arrived, I started updating everything via Facebook and got sucked into the black hole. I kept up with my blog faithfully up until the time they were born, and from then until now I have nothing except a stupid Facebook timeline. I hate that I let it go and now I feel like I have a missing chunk of time that I can’t get back.

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