I stared at my brightly lit smartphone as it made a small halo of light around myself and my nursing infant in the dark surroundings of my 2am feeding. What am I DOING? I thought groggily to myself as I rocked my little one ever so slightly. Enough. Enough is ENOUGH. I was tired of all I had to do, tired of never having time to myself, tired of, well, EVERYTHING. And so I made a decision that I will regret as long as I live:
I turned off my smartphone and turned to look at my baby.
It seemed like an innocent enough decision at first. After all, I already had two rambunctious toddlers running around, a household to keep up, money to make, and a new baby on top of everything else? Surely I could take a break from Facebook and give myself a little more time.
And so my late night feedings consisted of me holding my little one, sometimes stroking her cheek, holding her little fingers, or even just listening to her breathe. She’s only a baby once, I’d tell myself, trying to rationalize skipping Facebook time. My play time with my toddlers was no longer broken up into chunks of me updating statuses or browsing the fun photos my friends uploaded from their recent trips. Instead, I held my toddlers close, read entire books through, built block towers, and drew my fair share of stick figure families. No one will even miss me on Facebook! I can spare this time for my family! I tried to convince myself, but to no avail.
My world came crashing down one morning as I woke up to my daughter whispering in my ear, “Mama, I lub you. It’s cuz you’re my mama and I lub you,” while my son toddled into bed next to me to ‘snugga a mama’. It was then that I suddenly realized I didn’t remember the last time I had updated my status. Or read a recommended article. Or even liked some else’s status. Not even one single like! UNBELIEVABLE! I wanted to scream at myself. How had I gone from checking my account via smartphone, tablet, or laptop dozens if not scores of times each day, carefully following my more interesting acquaintances while sharing all of my favorite moments of the day to being a mother who spent the bulk of her time with her children actually WITH her children mentally!? How could I have done that to myself? I had missed out on so many funny photos, so many amusing anecdotes, and so many chances to share pictures of my best meals. So much lost time that I could never get back.
But it was too late! I had changed myself so radically, so drastically, that I didn’t even have the desire to log in to my Facebook account, much less spend hours scrolling through numbing posts. I couldn’t go back to where and what I had been.
I knew, then, that I’d have to endure my loss, accept my fate as ‘The Woman who Checks Facebook Only Intermittently’, and continue to be mentally present when I spent time with my children. It’s been a long and difficult road of meaningful experiences with my children and a greater appreciation and patience for each of them.
I only hope that one day I can forgive myself for making that horrific decision so long ago of putting aside my smartphone and holding my child closer to me.