How Quitting Social Media Made Me a Better Mom (& What I Do Instead)
I would never say that I’m the perfect mom, but I will say that I’m always trying to be a better one. Balacing the demands of work, family life, chores, and other obligations can be overwhelming, and when you add in social media and all that comes with it, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and distracted. That’s why I decided to break up with social media.
For me, the distraction getting to the point where it was not only taking away time I could be spending with my kids, it was also clouding my focus and adding to the mental clutter, making me feel overwhelmed and, by the end of the day, irritable. That’s not the mom I want for my kids!
By taking a break from all of those notifications and distractions, I found that I had more energy, more patience, and more time to focus on being a better mother. In this post, I’ll discuss how disconnecting from social media has changed my life for the better – plus what I spend my time doing instead of scrolling endlessly for hours a day.
The Decision to Quit
Making the decision to quit social media wasn’t an easy one. Since we’re currently a full time traveling family, we don’t see our people very often. Social media is how we keep in touch and allow people we know how our travels are going. I truly do love to share our adorable children and all the fun things we’re doing.
I’ve quit for short amounts of time, maybe half a dozen times in the past, but never to possibly never go back. I’m still not saying never. Could I go back? Maybe! But right now, I’m ok with not being present on social media.
My accounts are still there, I’m just logged out. I can’t delete them because I have a decade or more of memories scattered across them and I only hope that one day I can use it with intention and more self control. But for right now, I know that social media was not only taking up way too much of my time (like 2-4 hours a DAY sometimes) but also way too much of my mental energy.
I eventually got brave when I decided that my family deserves the best version of me and that version of me isn’t wasting a full month of the year on social media. Yep, if you spend 2 hours a day on social media, 365 days a year, that comes out to 30 full days. No way. Not anymore.
I quit mid-april and have been gone a good month. When I first logged out, I told myself I could have an hour to sign in and check messages, catch up with people, and maybe post an update on Sundays. So far, I haven’t done it once.
How Quitting Social Media Made Me a Better Mom
The truth is, the motivation to do this was my kids. The amount of time I was spending scrolling and getting sucked into the rabbit hole of social media was truly ridiculous. I didn’t feel good about it and it didn’t make me feel good about myself.
I wasn’t present in the moment with my kids. I found myself picking up my phone every 5 minutes to check something, or post a picture. It’s hard for me to admit that, but it’s true.
The last thing I want my kids to see when they look over, excited to share something with me, is the back of my phone. Even worse? The distracted interaction when they try to tell me something and I’m not truly paying attention. That breaks my heart and I will no longer be that mom.
There is not one doubt in my mind that quitting social media has made me a better mother. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why.
Better Overall Mental Health
I can truly feel a sense of overall calm now that I’m off social media. No more comparing myself to others, no more scrolling for hours, absorbing way too much information, and frying my brain. My brain fog and overwhelm are much better, and so is my anxiety.
As parents, it’s impossible to be patient all the time. But one of the biggest changes quitting social media has made is that I’m far more patient. I am able to really listen when they talk and give them my full attention. Because my brain doesn’t start out taking in tons of random information via social media, I’m not mentally exhausted nearly as quickly, so I can tolerate inconvenience and frustration much better.
More Quality Time with Family
Needless to say, I now have way more time to spend with my family. And it’s good quality, focused time too. Not me half paying attention, half scrolling through TikTok or responding to an Instagram comment.
I am so much more productive now! I try to only work around 4 hours a day, but those hours are much more productive without the distraction of social media or the mental exhaustion from consuming so much. I’m also much more productive in my personal life, cleaning and getting chores done faster, etc.
Less Comparison and Pressure
This is a huge one for me. It’s SO easy to compare your life to someone else’s, especially when you only see their highlight reel, and then feel bad. I no longer find myself comparing my life to others, or worrying about what people think of me. I’m happier in my own skin and am not giving a thought to what others may be thinking about me or my family. And I’m not as worried about what other people are doing better than me, or trying to keep up with others.
Less Feeling Like I Don’t Have Time
Now I feel like I have enough time to do what needs to be done. Even with 3 kids and being the bread winner. Ditching social media and gaining an extra 2-4 hours a day will do that for you! I don’t feel nearly as overwhelmed or like I don’t have enough hours in the day. Sure, I’m still busy, but I’m not constantly feeling like I’m running in circles and not getting anywhere.
More Time and Space for Meaningful Activities
Now that I’m not glued to my phone, I have so much more time and space for meaningful activities. Whether it’s reading a book, going on a hike with my family, having a picnic in the park or trying out some new recipes, I make sure to set aside time for these things every day. We’ve also implemented morning project time and I am fully there with my kids, helping them with worksheets, looking up info, or whatever they need from me, rather than checking social media “real quick” because it’s a habit.
Increased Protection of Family Privacy and Security
One thing that I’ve been more careful about in the last few years is keeping my kids safe and giving them a bit a privacy. With social media, it’s so easy to over share and put kids in a vulnerable position. I pulled away from sharing them much at all on public or business social media accounts and limited it to my private accounts where only people I know can view the posts. But now, without using it at all, I’m able to be even more private and careful. It actually feels kind of nice to be more mysterious, don’t you think?
Modeling Healthy Technology Habits
This is a huge one! We try to practice respectful parenting and with that comes trusting our kids to mostly moderate their own technology. It was a bit hypocritical for me to tell them they should get off and do something else for a bit when I have my nose in my phone all day.
My kids see me interacting with technology differently now. They also don’t get frustrated when I’m not constantly on my phone or laptop like they used to. Even though they are still young, it’s a great way for them to learn healthy technology habits early on in life. And it’s something that will hopefully have a long-lasting impact.
Less Need for External Validation
Even though I never felt like I really was looking for external validation, there was something about posting and then reading the comments or seeing likes later that definitely gave me a bit of. dopamine hit. It took a while, but now I’m not looking for that feeling and instead, am focusing on the things that make ME feel good about myself.
Ability to Be in the Moment More
This one has been the best gift of all. I’m able to be so much more present in my life and with my family. Without social media, I don’t feel pulled in multiple directions like reading and responding to comments on social media while playing with my kids. My last baby is about to turn 1 and I am trying to truly savor every single second that I can, instead of letting the hours and days slip by me.
None of my kids were really good sleepers as babies and this little guys is no different. At almost 11 months old, he’s still waking me up a good 5 times or more to nurse many nights. So me staying up on my phone until 1am wasn’t doing me any good. Without social media, there’s less pull to grab my phone when I get in bed, or grab it while nursing him at night and then getting sucked in for an hour. I definitely sleep more, even if it’s broken up.
All in all, deleting social media from my life has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself and my family. By being more conscious about how it was affecting me mentally, physically, and emotionally I was able to free up space for more important things. I think it’s something that anyone who feels like they’re spending too much time on their phone should experiment with.
Challenges of Quitting
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine. When I first quit, I probably grabbed my phone 100 times only to set it down when I realized all of my go-to apps were gone. Here are some of the challenges of quitting and tips for overcoming them, if you want to give it a try.
Breaking the Habit
This was by far the biggest challenge for me at first. It felt like my hands had a mind of their own, and I just couldn’t keep them off of my phone. Because I completely deleted all the apps, it took a while, but I eventually stopped grabbing my phone every couple of minutes. I recommend going this route rather than keeping them on your phone or it’ll be to easy to get sucked back in.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
I still struggle with FOMO a bit, if I’m being honest. Of course I want to know what’s happening with all the people I’ve been keeping up with over the years! Plus, I know that most people send out invites over things like Facebook, so by not being on there, I could be missing out. But right now, we’re on the road full time and nowhere near anyone, so I’m not too worried about that aspect.
Staying Connected with Loved Ones
This one is still hard, but it’s getting easier. I facetime all the time with my immediate family and text with some other friends and family. Some people are noticing I’m not online much, so they’ve texted to check in and I need to make an effort to do the same.
Wanting to Share and Document
I’m a natural sharer. I like to write and post about the things we’re doing on our adventures, so it can be hard not to. But instead of posting everything online, I’m trying to document in other ways that aren’t dependent on social media platforms. I’ve been using DayOne to kind of journal and add phones and I’ve been making some quick home movies on my phone using a course I recently took. It’s been a nice way to document things. I’m considering starting a personal blog as well, but we’ll see.
Limited Access to Current Events
Since I don’t really seek out the news, it does make it hard to keep up with current events without social media where everyone is always talking about what’s going on. In a way, I think it could be a good thing because it limits how much information I’m taking in, but at the same time it’s nice to stay informed. I’ve been meaning to find a news source I like and make a point to read it once in a while, but I haven’t had a chance just yet.
What I Do Instead
So what exactly am I doing with all of this free time?!! It’s a silly question, but really, for a while I would sit there looking around like “well, what do I do now?” as if I didn’t have a million things I needed, and wanted, to do. Here are some things I do a lot more now:
I now have a lot more time for reading! I love to read, but when I spend all day reading posts, it was easier (and gave me that instant gratification) to just read through social media. But now I read more books (paper and digital), and I’m even trying out listening to more audiobooks.
Walking is one of my favorite ways to get outside, clear my head, and move my body. I go through phases where I do it everyday, and before my last baby, I was walking a good mile or so every morning and sometimes in the afternoon as well. Now I walk more! Not because I was try to choose social media over walks, but because I’m not sucked into it, I can remember to take them.
Focused Connection with Family
There’s nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone, or spend time with someone, and they’re on their phone half listening/paying attention. Without the distraction of social media and the pull to check in on what OTHER people are doing, I find myself more focused on my family and our conversations.
Enjoy Simple Moments & Tasks
Without being drawn into the endless feeds on social media, I’m more able to sit with the moment and enjoy the simple tasks. When my kids are playing in a creek in nature, I don’t feel like I have to take a picture or share it right away – instead, I can just be there and watch them. I often do snap a picture, but that’s much less invasive than feeling like I need to post it. I also just take the time to enjoy things like cooking, like waiting for water to boil, and just being rather than checking “real quick” which always turns into a good 10 minutes or more.
Cook and Bake from Scratch
I’m always telling myself that I need to make more food from scratch, especially as we’ve slipped into eating out more and using more convenience foods. Now I have more time and energy to cook and bake from scratch! My kids are getting used to homemade meals again, and I feel so much better feeding them things I made myself with ingredients I approve of.
Explore & Plan Travel
Since we’re a full time RV family right now, we love to explore! I find myself looking up new places to go and things to do more often now that I’m not filling my time with scrolling through social media. I come up with spontaneous outings and truly enjoy them more since I’m not waiting to post about them or compare our experiences to others’.
Work on My Businesses
The truth is, I’m always working on my businesses. However, without social media I have a new found energy for getting things done! I have more time to dedicate to growing my businesses, without the distraction of checking in on social media. Since I stopped using it for personal and business purposes, I really don’t need to log in at all. I do have a facebook account for checking in on business groups I have and am part of, but other than that, I can now work with a clear mind and the ability to focus on what needs to be done.
I can’t tell you how many times I start a journal only to write in it once or twice and come back to it 6 months later. Now, without the distraction of social media, I find myself writing in my journal more often. It’s probably the most grounding for me since it helps me connect to what I’m feeling and thinking – something that was easily forgotten when I had a million things on my screen all at once.
Quitting social media has made me a better mom in so many ways. Even if you just look at the mental health aspects and the hours I have back in my day, it has been life changing. I can focus on the things that truly matter, and which has made me more connected to those around me. It may not be for everyone, but right now I’m good without it!
I hope that if you’re considering, you take the plunge and try it out… you might be surprised at how much better life is without it! Having something like this off my shoulders has been incredibly freeing and if you’re feeling the pull to quit, you might find the same.