Part way through last year one of my friends (also a beautiful mama of 6!) gave up Facebook. This was highly inconvenient to me. We both homeschool, used to live in the same State, and a few years ago they moved interstate and Facebook became a really great way to share vignettes of our day to day lives… till she gave it up. I wobbled for a bit, we lost touch a bit too… then I remembered we both had phones, and started using them more. Her freedom from Facebook and the willpower she seemed to have in ignoring it (she hadn’t deactivated her account) intrigued me and I felt a tug. Eventually I decided to try a month without Facebook and see what happened. I have been reading Hands Free Mama by Rachel Stafford this year, and knew I needed to try it, after other minor screen free experiments, such as a day a week or certain times of day when I didn’t use any screens.
The minute I switched Facebook off for my trial I felt an immense freedom. And I discovered I had Even More time for the things that were important to me, my family, especially hands on time with the Littles and little slots of time when connection with a child replaced connection with the internet. It was amazing. I discovered I loved my life way more without Facebook. And I had so much more time for housework, organising and decluttering. It definitely contributed to the fast forward on simplifying and reducing our possessions. Space in the house was rapidly appearing, and the space and freedom i felt mentally from taking away this big distraction, was amazing.
Gradually a word for all of this began to dawn on me and I shared it with my husband and we have made it a family goal.
We want everything we do, to be intentional. Not an accident, not being carried along with something because it seems like it’s what we perhaps should do, not because we don’t want to interrupt a status quo. We want to be intentional with our time and with our possessions. We will buy or keep things because they fit with our goals, and because they have something to contribute. Things won’t stay if they distract us from what we are aiming for. A long time ago we had a much milder version of this, but now we are feeling much more ruthless, and seeing the benefits of all of this make us more determined and excited to continue.
Back to Facebook… I did go back to Facebook after my month off. But only to wind it down permanently. I loved my life too much without it and discovered what felt like the most amazing treasure I never knew existed. I have had long calls with friends, and discovered our friendships are far better when I do that rather than connect briefly with them, and 200 other people, daily. I wrote myself a list of the benefits to me, at this point, of not having Facebook.
Tiny pockets of useful time
More natural thought processes
Feeling of freedom
More calls with friends
Making more of an effort to connect with positive friends
Control our information flow
Silencing negative lines of communication
Not exposed to bad news we are not connected with
Not rushing to help everyone
No continual information overload
Looking at this list, there is some pretty big stuff I have discovered. Everyone is different and just how not everyone should have 6 kids, I am sure not everyone needs to give up Facebook to discover all these things.
I have kept myself one tiny thread of Facebook. I admin a group, and I have created myself an admin profile, with only 1 friend (my co-admin). It’s a group we started together and at present there’s no one else to run it. It’s slow traffic and I am seldom logging in. For some reason I am getting text messages to my phone if I get a message, so I don’t even need to log in to see those. This is intended to be a temporary solution to the group issue. I had to make sure I don’t drop other people in it, but by the same token I have still achieved my goal of letting Facebook in the traditional sense, go. Loving it.