Anyone who’s been following along on my social media account or blog has watched me approach Critical Breaking Point (haha, I love a bit of drama!). Life has gotten busier and busier for me this year with one kid in school, one kid in preschool in the next town over, and one kid still at home. We’re constantly busy without a moment for ourselves and it really feels lately like something’s gotta give.
Life is too precious and too important for the thing that I cast aside to be time with my kids, or time for my husband, or time for my friends and community. For a long time the thing that has suffered has been the time to myself, but it feels unbearable for me to continue that trend. I feel like I’m at a crossroads and I have to choose something to let go of, something to make my life lighter and easier, something to take out of my mind to create more space.
That thing is Instagram.
I looooove Instagram. Since moving to a small town from the city I’ve found it to be a major tool for connection. By following local businesses and a few other local moms, I slowly enlarged my network and found a ton of small town events to attend where I met new friends and was able to support small businesses. Since most advertising is done on Instagram these days, the app allowed me to find out about and share new ways to support the community around me. As I take a hiatus from IG I am a bit scared about my isolation increasing without having access to those things, but I have enough friends in town who know my real phone number that I’ll hopefully still be able to find out about all the fun stuff this winter.
Another thing I love about Instagram is the community that comes from sharing. I know, it sounds narcissistic to want to share my life, and trust me, I don’t think I’m like, a real treat or anything. I don’t have unique opinions or anything special to offer. But over the years the DMs I’ve received have made it clear to me that I’m relatable and validating in a way other parents find helpful, and sometimes even stupid and self deprecating in a way others find funny. In kindergarten I took off my rainboot, filled it under a drainpipe, and dumped it on my head to make my peers like me so I guess I’ve always been inclined to diminish myself for a laugh 🙂
But despite the merits of the addictive app I love so much (lolz), I definitely need a break from it. I am feeling like my brain is too full, and when I log onto Instagram my brain thinks (buckle up…) “I need to bake that! I need to donate to that! How do I make more money so I can give to every single thing? Why is everyone traveling except me? I need those boots. I should get my kids that toy. I should do a sensory bin with them or I’m a bad parent! I should share this hack I learned so it can benefit other moms! I bet other parents aren’t on their phones in the middle of the day like I am. I should go for a run. Wowwww look at that fitness transformation! I should eat a calorie deficit to get lean. I wonder if I’m strong enough? I need to try that new beer! But maybe I should give up drinking. Should I do 75 Hard? Ohhh I should save that podcast for later.” It’s just so much noise at a time in my life when I feel called to find direction and seek stillness.
Despite the things I’ve tried (ie. making “rules” about when I can use Instagram, using the app only in black and white so my brain is less stimulated, limiting the accounts I follow) I can feel that the constant exposure to so many people, objects, lifestyles, ideas, traumas, deaths, renovations, travels, tips, strategies, and strangers is harming me. It’s contributing to an increase in my growing anxiety. It’s clouding and confusing me. And it’s taking a lot of time away from the people who are right in front of me.
I’m really just telling everyone so people don’t think I’ve died, which is what I assume whenever anyone goes cold turkey off Instagram for a while without explanation. I doubt many people notice when someone leaves Instagram. It always makes me chuckle when I come across a post that says “I’m back!” and I never noticed they were gone. There’s just so much static on the app that it’s impossible to notice when someone disappears (I’m picturing the Homer-in-the-hedge meme right now).
I’ll still be here though, writing in longer form and doing the odd blog post when I have a brand new, never-before-thought-of idea that has definitely been thought of by tons of people already! Byeeeee!!