Motherhood Minus Social Media

by Dawn



                               

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

 

I have a few regrets in life, like everybody else. As I reflect back on these past 13 and a half years of motherhood with all of the ups and downs, challenges, blessings and everything in between, I have come to appreciate the gift of the early years. Recently it dawned on me that there was something missing in those early years, something that, in retrospect I realize, I didn’t miss at all.

The fact is, I hadn’t even heard of Facebook until 2009 when a friend sent pictures for me to see and in order to access them I had to sign up for my own account. Twitter, Tumbler and Pinterest, were yet on the horizon. I certainly had no idea about blogging yet. Cyberspace was an unknown place to me as a new mom.

Lately, we have been learning and hearing about some of the effects of Social Media on people, relationships, and life in general. This has caused me to ponder further, my life before and after Social Media. One thing I have to say that motherhood comes with an onslaught of emotions, insecurities, joys and challenges.

I think moms, and women in general are prone to fall into the habit of comparing, whether we mean to or not. It’s what makes life, and online life especially, potentially so challenging.

The fact is, we do compare and Social Media just gives us jet engine speed and power instead of a backyard firecracker’s crackle. Comparatively speaking.

I am not here to tell you that Social Media is all bad, because I don’t believe it is. But, I only want to share with you what it was like to have the gift of a Social Media free mommy-hood in the early years.

The best part about that season was that those precious, intimate moments shared with my sweet girl were just that- intimate. Meaning, private and close, guarded and cherished. Intimacy  by definition implies a private moment as a privilege for those present.

As a single mom for two years, that meant I was a mom often alone doting over a child into the wee hours. As a new mom, everything I did was done in the presence of God alone. Not tweeted, texted or shared at all. Of course I shared photos and stories with fellow moms, friends and family when we visited and got together.

But, there were many moments, as I look back that left strong impressions upon my memory more than those sharing moments with others.

They were the actual, in the moment living before God alone moments. I have never experienced greater intimacy with the Lord, or greater connected-ness with my child.

Maybe some moments and seasons are meant just to be lived, not shared. 

I know that might sound selfish and even unrealistic in this hyper-sharing climate we find ourselves. And I, myself, currently do struggle to find the balance.

But what I believe the greatest gift of  a SM free motherhood was the simplest, sweetest gift of all: complete presence and attention to the fleeting, temporary moments, that sometimes are better savored now instead of shared. When we do this, attending to the present moment, available completely, not trying to share, we are available to live in that moment, thereby solidifying the memory, making it sweeter to remember and share in the days ahead. Or not.

 

 Lord, help us all live wisely, available to you and your will for us in these incredibly seductive, social media saturated days. Empower us to heed your gentle nudges regarding all of our choices in the present moment that we may glorify you. In Jesus name, Amen. 

 

Email Author    |    Website About Dawn

Dawn Paoletta is a writer who is finally coming out of the closet and following her dream to share her life lessons and insights with anyone who will listen. Being recently laid up with a muscular injury has temporarily curtailed her career in fitness allowing her the golden opportunity needed to reorder her priorities and shift her focus to blogging her greatest passions: Living out her faith as a modern day disciple of Jesus Christ and enjoying spending time with her husband, daughter and family pets. She is a natural coach and encourager who can't help sharing what she's learned along her journey with authenticity, grace and truth. Visit Dawn at her blog, Enthusiastically Dawn

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 susie Klein July 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Oh Dawn, this post is so important for the young moms today to read! The deep “knowing” behind these careful words is truly powerful. I am going to share this. Love you and your writing! Susie

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2 Dawn Paoletta ( July 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Thanks, Susie. I actually drafted (loosely) this post about a year or so ago… but I could not quite say it the way I felt I wanted to…until now.

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3 Ashley July 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Dawn, I really loved this and for the last half of this year have been trying to go away from distraction, comparison and be very intentional. Bless you.

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4 Susie July 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Dawn! Thank you a million times over for sharing this! I so agree. I became a mom in the early 90’s & late 90’s so I was able to enjoy my kids fully without sharing on SM. I was a single mom for almost 5 years also. I know exactly the intimacy you speak of. I am grateful for it. I know you have been to my blog… if you notice I do not share a lot ( very rare) on any of my social media of intimate moments with my kids because I feel in a day where SM & blogs are splashed with tons of pictures of every mothering moment that it is almost on the same plane in my eyes as reality TV… for me I feel that it is no ones biz our every move as a family and my kids every milestone! It truly is freeing. I feel alone at times when I have ladies in social settings go did you see what my dd did this week I spoke of it on FB etc etc… I go no. Because I really do not care to follow everyones kids biz. Also I get a strange look by most that I do not keep up with NOR share my kids much on SM!! I guess you & I are a dying breed?!!! With so many young moms coming up today with FB & Instagram etc tweeting & sharing ( I have those but use them mostly to only do my blog review biz etc) everything their kids do I actually feel sad that they feel this is the normal to share & know everyones biz at every moment & feel so compelled to. It is sad. And really it is time consuming. I know a friend of mine this past week deleted her FB because she was out of control and realized it.

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5 Dawn Paoletta ( July 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

I think the hardest part of writing this post, SUsie was the part is admitting I struggle…where I know I really enjoy a lot of SM, yet it is so easy to get pulled into dangerous waters bordering on idolatry of not only SM, but of family life. I don’t know the answer for everyone because we are all individuals who are capable of both great wisdom and foolishness…I only know it makes me realize how much more I need to rely on Him to navigate the simplest of things in life! Thank you for chiming in and sharing.

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6 Pam Steiner July 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Dawn, I can honestly say that the undivided time spent with our children, regardless of their age, is so important…and such a time of blessing for both. Parents of children of ALL ages need to consider how much time they spend on SM and how much time they spend in one on one eye to eye contact with their children and/or spouse. It is rapidly becoming a lost art…knowing how to carry on a real conversation with a child or adult without constant interruptions from emails, tweets, text messages, cell phones, etc. Yes, we love to share our joys and fun times with others, but save it for later…after the children are tucked into their beds and you have kissed them good night after reading stories or praying or just plain talking together at the close of the day. Make focused attention the first priority of every day. No matter how old they are! This was a great post! Thank you, Dawn.

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7 Dawn Paoletta ( July 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

It’s so important is right…and we never know how long or short our window for connecting WITH THEM will be…Hugs, my friend! Thank you, Pamela!

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8 Brandi July 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Hi Dawn, I watched one of your YouTube videos last night on your Arc planner. Today, I decided to look up your blog. This is such an awesome post and I needed it to help me through a decision. I used to have a Facebook account, but I had deactivated my account for a month to take a break. I took the break to focus more on homeschooling my three precious boys and to refocus on my relationship with the Lord as it felt strained and I was starving for Him. After my month-long break from Facebook, I logged back in and got the sickest feeling in my stomach. After much prayer and conversation with God, I decided to completely deleted my Facebook account all together. I found that Facebook was a source of envy, self-loathing and just simply pulled me away from the Lord and generally left me feeling mad, sad or just depressed. I have officially been off Facebook for a year. I had recently thought about signing up again but wasn’t exactly sure if I should. This post is God telling me that I don’t need it like I thought I did. Thank you for your insight. You’re a beautiful lady!

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9 Nicole August 2, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Hi Brandi
I am just over 3 years facebook free and it the best thing I ever did for myself and my husband. I deleted my account when I found out I was pregnant because the thought of having so many almost strangers look at and comment on my baby and what I felt was a very intimate, special part of my life made me sick to my stomach. I strive to never look at a computer or phone when my son is with me, I connect with real live people, my friends know where to find me to tell me about their lives and I no longer care if anything I say is witty enough to warrant a slew of likes. I hope more people, parents especially, make the same decision we have. Best of luck to you, Brandi and everyone else!

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10 Dawn Paoletta ( July 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm

It’s so important is right…and we never know how long or short our window for connecting WITH THEM will be…Hugs, my friend! Thank you, Pamela!

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11 Susan Stilwell July 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I loved this post, Dawn. Especially this line: Maybe some moments and seasons are meant just to be lived, not shared.

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12 Dawn Paoletta ( July 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

Thanks SUsan, your post on SM spoke to my heart as well.

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13 Cecelia Lester July 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Dawn: This is such a good piece of writing. It came from your heart. Children grow up so fast. We have to watch over them to keep them safe, healthy, and to teach them how to behave, and teach them about God. My husband worked nights, so our son and I had lots of time together. I don’t regret very many things about that part of my life.

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14 Dawn Paoletta ( July 28, 2014 at 10:10 am

Cecelia, it did come from the heart…and I also must say, had it been available I recognize I might have missed the moments, because of the temptation. There were times I could have been lonely, but God filled the spaces and I did not at all! Sometimes when we use SM, it sublimates our going to God…I can see that it was a gift to have this time and season, especially in light of the recent challenges our family is facing.

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15 Barbie July 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

I am so thankful that back when my oldest two were younger, there was no social media, at least none that I was aware of. And my two younger teens prefer I not share their lives on SM, so I don’t. It’s so important to keep their privacy.

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16 Dawn Paoletta ( July 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

That is a great point, Barbie. I try to be careful how much I share about the details of those at the mercy of me and my blog! ;) Respecting privacy of family is challenging also for natural sharers these days…but very good point!

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17 Ashley July 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

Oh Dawn- this is so true and something I have been convicted of and getting away from. Being online is really only good in my life for keeping in touch with friends and thats it, nothing else is serving me anymore. My children are everything to me and they deserve my attention. Beautiful truth you wrote!

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18 Dawn Paoletta ( July 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

I understand you struggle with this because I don’t know how different things would have been for me with the distraction of it! Besides there are encouraging women who God uses online and off. It’s just so hard to balance it. Let’s just keep asking Him to keep us sensitive to His voice and also willing to follow His gentle nudges. Love you, Ashley. You are a beautiful mama. Follow Him!

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