WARNING: this needs to be read with you imagining violins playing in the background. Also, know that even though I may sound like it, I am in fact not 13 years old.
This week I’ve fallen out with social media.
It’s turned me into a crazy paranoid fruitcake and I don’t like it.
I’ve debated whether to write this or not for fear of looking like an immature teenager – but I want to be honest on this blog, so here goes.
When you’re a first time mum and you meet other mums-to-be at ante natal classes or new mums at baby groups, one of the sure fire ways you know that you have a potential friend is with the exchange of phone numbers or a friend request on Facebook. And if you’re lucky, some of those connections turn into new friendships that help you through the night feeds/weaning/refusals to nap/never ending illnesses.
I’m a social person and don’t really enjoy my own company that much. I’d rather be around people and I hated living alone. One of my big worries about deciding to be a SAHM was that I’d be lonely. To combat the loneliness (and boredom) we try to go out every day, even if it’s just for an hour to the shops/library/park. But I’ve found an unsuspecting thing to combat the loneliness – social media and Whatsapp/messenger group chats with my new mum friends.
Sometimes it gets too much and the phone buzzes or pings constantly. On days when I’m out I usually turn notifications off and check in later. But on days when I’m home alone, bored, or worried about something, I’m refreshing Facebook and checking my messages every time there’s a new buzz or ping. My husband Matt says I’m addicted to my phone. I always shrug off his jibes (he’s also regularly found scrolling Twitter and we argue about who is more attached to their phone/social media platform), but I’m starting to think he has a point.
(Insert violin music here…)
Recently I’ve been feeling over sensitive when I send messages and no one replies to me – you know the drill, you can see people have read your messages but the conversation stops. And sometimes I just think; it is me? I must be the misfit of the group, the odd one out, the one they have the least in common with. When other people are chatting, it doesn’t seem to happen to them.
I feel paranoid!
Of course back in the real world, I’ve spoken to some friends and Matt about it and I know that it’s just me being incredibly impatient, and a case of people being busy, running around after their toddlers no doubt climbing on the kitchen table, and that life is not all about me me ME! But, it’s made me feel shit. And now I feel shit for feeling shit and being so insecure about bloody social media! I’m 30 for Christ’s sake! I’ve vowed to spend less time online. But the thing is, I have FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. If I don’t keep up with the messages or what’s going on in my virtual social circles, I’ll lose out on the play dates, and I’ll lose people who’ve become my new friends.
So I need a new strategy, or new perspective at least.
I’m going to try and spend less time on my phone and yes ‘get a grip’. I need to remember I chose to be a SAHM so I could spend time playing with my daughter, not to check my phone every 20 minutes and get wound up over imagined feelings of not being liked. I try to think, what did people do before social media when they were on maternity leave or were SAHMs? They didn’t spend all day attached to their phones or fretting about whether or not people were going to reply to their messages, that’s what.
I’m not leaving social media. I’d go mad without it and lets be honest I love a nice photo to document the day’s/week’s highlights along with the best of them. But I’m going to try and change my relationship with it. Try to be more care free. Try not to be so bloody paranoid.
And hope that, as daft as I sound, it’s not just me that sometimes feels a bit insecure in their new online world.