on Lent and social media and nursing my baby

There’s this commercial where an interviewer asks kidlets what’s better – doing one thing at a time, or two things at once. Here, take a peek:

This breaks my heart a bit. May I share a secret with you?

Sometimes I want to completely unplug and run away with my family. I want The Boy to grow up on a farm on the edge of woods, with a creek running through it. I want to lie in bed with Husby at night, the homespun curtains gently fluttering with the breeze, stars twinkling, crickets chirping. I want to paint, write a book,  bake bread, and call my friends & family from a plug-in-the-wall phone in the kitchen. No Twitter or Facebook or keeping up with blogging.

That sounds totally extreme for a social media manager and blogger. But doesn’t it also sound absolutely fantastic?! Really, deeply think about it. No incessant noise coming from all electronics. No easily comparing your life to the next mom, the one who edits hers using a rose-colored filter before posting. None of the stress that comes with the joy of this media-centric world. And much, much less doing more than one thing at a time.

My boss, Paul, has challenged me to think about the other side of media use. Honestly, I haven’t been able to give it much thought beyond, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea.’ But his charge, along with the twang in my gut when I see that commercial, makes me think that something may be changing in our hearts, in our brains. At times, it’s physically difficult for me to do one thing at a time, and that scares me. How will I raise my son to focus on a project, read a book, write a paper, or listen to a friend well, if I’m unable to? What is happening in my actual grey matter when only doing one thing can make me twitchy?

Now, lest you think I’m a total addict, be assured that it’s the presence of the impulse that’s unsettling to me, not the actual inability to focus on one thing at a time. But I think back to my college days, when I would read thick books (including a few by the guys I now work with!) and write pages of term papers without the distraction of Facebook or Twitter. My mind was sharper, my hands calmer, my heart less tempted to compare.

I want that back.

The liturgical season of Lent is upon us. I didn’t grow up in a tradition of giving something up for Lent; however, in the last few years I have tended to add something. A specific book to read, a prayer practice, something of that sort. This year my focus is on nursing my son. I am still nursing my 14mo Boy a few times a day (usually three times), and I’m realizing that it won’t last forever. Any feeding could be his last – it’s up to him. When I was exclusively breastfeeding him (8-10 times a day until he was nearly 7mos old), I watched a lot of seasons of TV on my phone, read books, or popped in a movie. Lately I’ve found myself using our nursing sessions to check in on my medias, especially Instagram and Twitter.

My Lenten practice has been to stop. To do nothing but nurse my baby. Because he won’t be a baby for much longer, and he deserves my attention. Because I’m becoming more and more convicted about what I want to model for him, and twitchy hands ain’t it. Because I don’t want him to end up on that commercial someday, sure that two things at once is better.

I love my social media. Love it. Have made and fostered deep friendships, had fantastic opportunities, traveled, and even made a career out of it. I won’t pick up and move to that country farm described above. But I – all of us – need to find a balance. How do you balance your media use? Do you feel you are able to balance it?
-anna
{girl with blog}
so glad you came to the fence.
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03602302424826290006 Jessica @ The Thought Garden

    Anna, this is totally speaking to me right now. I remember a comment on facebook or was it a post where you referenced a friend’s blog where she gave up her cell phone. That has really stuck with me. I have found myself leaving the phone in my purse when I’m standing in line at starbucks. I’m checking email and facebook lesss when I’m home at night with my son. I am working to wean myslf from it, and notice the important things in life more. It’s a struggle some days, especially when loneliness sets in. But I desperately want my own version of that farm by the creek. A place of peace and rest from this busy world we live in. -Jessica

  • http://thoughtsfrompaulhill.com/ thoughtsfrompaulhill.com

    Anna, why do you think Elaine and I own a cabin in the woods, on the lake, without internet. Let me know when you family wants to borrow it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00980545177553889975 angies rambles

    oh Anna…this post right now…this weekend my youngest son was home and my two sons and I were talking about technology and how my Grandparents would not know how to live in this world…I was going to do a blog entry on this very subject…I grew up the way you would like to live minus the farm…that was my Dads life…I grew up in a little stone village on the edge of the country…we didn’t even have the phone on the wall…how I wish we could go back to those simple times…but the World moves on and we either have to keep up or get left behind…or even lost…and by the way you are doing a wonderful job bringing up ‘the boy’

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04659842344281969720 Deb

    Anna, love this post. It’s hard to get away from media when that is the world we live in. Sometimes we need to take a step back to realize the important things in our life and to focus on them more.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18037513409301217473 Kelly @ Love Well

    This is good, hard, truth, Anna.

    But let me challenge you with this: I used to live in Southern California, and like you, I yearned for a quieter pace. A simpler life. Something in the country where the lifestyle was slow and I would appreciate each moment for the gift it is.

    Then God, comedian-story-teller that He is, moved us to a small town in Southern Minnesota. In the country. Cornfields every direction, horses in the pasture across the street, the smell of burned corn from the ethanol plant down the road wafting in the air. And you know what I found? I brought the noise with me. I didn’t live content and thankful. I was still distracted and impatient and driven. It was a brutal but good lesson. I came to believe noise is 90% internal, only about 10% external.

    Don’t mistake me. It’s good to recognize what the social media adrenaline rush is doing to our psyche. But it’s also helpful for me to remember: Ultimately, it’s about what goes on in my heart, not what happens around my body.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17303683333028066002 alyssa zech

    Yikes! Your post is stabbing me in the heart! Lately I have been thinking the exact same thing. I’ve been checking twitter when I should be ogling my baby instead! At least its nice to know I am not the only mother out there wondering if its good/normal.

  • http://www.stacymakescents.com/ Stacy Makes Cents

    I want to unplug like that at least once a week. LOL