Eliminating Facebook

We all know it. Technology distracts us from what's important. We use it anyway, telling ourselves all sorts of things to make it alright.

For me, my biggest distraction was Facebook. My use of Facebook had become compulsive. It was like an itch that had to be scratched. I was constantly checking my phone. Even when I'd checked it only just before. I would get excited if there was even one new notification and if there was a new notification then I felt compelled to check it immediately. 

I checked Facebook while I was playing with Rafael. I checked Facebook while I was eating breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. I checked it while Rafael was in the bath. I checked it while watching television, doing the groceries, waiting at swimming lessons, standing in a line. 

I was on Facebook while we 'played' in this cubby
I would spend ages just scrolling through my feed, stopping to read something here, stopping to laugh at something there. 

When I actually stopped to think about what I was doing, what I thought about was what I wasn't doing.

I wasn't acting on my son's requests to play with him, because I was distracted by Facebook. 

I wasn't watching him show me his new bath trick, because I was distracted by Facebook.

I wasn't watching him learn to swim, because I was distracted by Facebook. 

Sometimes Rafael would even ask me to put my phone down and I would reply "in a minute".

Once, he hid my phone from me right before we were leaving, delaying us by 30 minutes while I frantically searched everywhere (it was under a pillow, in his rocket tent, in the family room) and I still didn't recognise what he was trying to tell me. 

Increasingly, though, I was coming to realise that Facebook was distracting me in a way that wasn't right. I knew that I was using my phone more than I should be and that it was interfering with my time with Rafael but I didn't really have the courage to do anything about it for a long time. 

Then one day, something clicked and I uninstalled Facebook from my phone. 

And it was the beginning of something great.

My intention in doing so had been to spend the day distraction free, just focused on Rafael, and then I would reinstall it later that night. 

Rafael had a great time playing that day. We played playdo and drawing inside. We played football and cars outside. I listened to what he was saying. I answered his questions. I saw his beautiful bright smiles. There were laughs, cuddles and smiles.

That night, after both children were tucked in, I wondered how it would feel to have some quiet, un-distracted time to myself before my husband came home.

So, I tried it. I didn't reinstall Facebook. I sat on the couch, listening to music and I folded laundry as I sipped some champagne in a champagne saucer. Classy.

And do you know what? It was amazing. It was so relaxing and cleansing to just sit quietly with my thoughts and some background music.

I didn't reinstall Facebook on my phone the next day or the next. By the middle of the week I decided that I would aim to make it to the end of the week without reinstalling it. I deleted all the other social media on my phone too. Then I kept on going without it.

The funny thing is that it wasn't as hard as I expected. At first I found myself reaching for my phone all the time. It was like a muscle memory or something. Automatic. But I would pick the phone up and there would be nothing for me to look at. So I would put it down again.

I went for two weeks straight without logging into any social media and I felt pretty safe. One night, after the kids were asleep, I logged in to see what I had missed.

Nothing really.

I certainly missed chatting online with members of my mothers group and I was glad to see what had happened in their worlds during the last two weeks.

But seen in the context of a mum trying to be engaged with her family, I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything. There was no regret.

So I have kept on. Facebook has remained off my phone and once a week or so I log in after the kids are in bed, mostly to check in with my mothers group.

I will admit that there is now some regret for what messages I was sending Rafael when I played on my phone instead of playing with him.

That my phone is more important to me than he is.

That he isn't worth listening to.

That his voice doesn't matter.

I don't like to think of what I might have missed while I was with Facebook rather than with him.

But I won't let regret take hold of me.

I feel thankful for these beautiful children that I have been blessed with and I feel grateful that I have now had the heart to make changes so that I can engage with my children every opportunity that I can get.

When I see how in the moment Rafael is, when I see his enthusiastic little face grinning up at me, when I bounce my little baby daughter on my knee and delight in her laughs, I know that I am on the right path.

I found what matters by letting go of what doesn't, Facebook.

This has been one of the biggest changes I have made in an attempt to become a mummy engaged and I think one of the most effective.

It only took a small first step; a small first step that I believe that we are all capable of. We just need to commit to what really matters, being there for our children. If that means putting the phone down every time you are with them, or even starting with something like having a social media/technology hiatus for a couple of hours each day, then it is worth it.

It is worth is for them. It is worth it for us. 


  1. I'm glad your comments sent me your way. It seems we are on similar journeys. I gave up Facebook 4 years ago, and it has been better without. But I've found I can get sucked in to other social outlets. My newest one I've had to back away from is Instagram. Not only am I distracted, but my voice seems to be drowned out by others. I can't find my own voice because I'm constantly taking in too many other ones...if that makes any sense? I turned off notifications, but maybe uninstalling it would be more helpful. Food for thought...

    1. That absolutely makes sense, especially in the context of instagram. There was a short period too where I spent ages scrolling through my instagram feed. Whatever I posted seemed lost amoungst everyone else and a lot of the time I found myself thinking "i wish my photo looked as good as that" or "i wish I got so many likes". Comparison can only make me feel bad in that way.

      Facebook had such a grip on me (or me on it) that the only thing that worked for me was uninstalling it. Instagram was uninstalled too and I haven't used it since.

      I feel so much less pressure now if that makes sense. I can just be, instead of having it on my mind all the time

  2. Thanks for sharing your commitment to stay off FB on your phone. I know I am way too distracted by it too. I am encouraged by your story to put my phone down and focus more on the things that are really important.

    1. Im glad that I've been able to offer some encouragement. Everyone needs to find what works for them but removing one of my biggest distractions has made a big difference to my interaction with my children