A few days ago I wrote a blog about how I think we can tend to disconnect by connecting… meaning we disconnect from the World around us, our children included, by connecting to technology. If you missed that blog, READ IT HERE
I was mainly focusing on Facebook, as I think we can tend to look to that to fill voids, relationships, etc, rather than getting out and serving others and getting to know and love on those around us. I think any form of “social networking” can do this though, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or all of the games we play on our phones, or through Facebook, etc. Any of these things can become addictive and cause issues, if we are not careful.
I am going to continue some thoughts and convictions I have had on this. I am not doing this to bash anyone, judge anyone, or bash social networking sites (or any other form of technology we use to escape the real world) but rather challenge you to take a deep, hard, long look at how much time you disconnect by connecting.
The Bible says that children are a blessing.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3 (NLT)
I believe that when we, as mothers especially, connect to technology too often, or get onto social networking sites too much, it causes us to lose site of the powerful truth of this passage. There are several reasons I think it causes this
1) Connecting to social networking sites increases anxiety in our hearts. — When we are constantly connected, reading other peoples highlights, because let’s face it, not many people put up negative things, such as “Woah, I totally lost it with my kid 5 times today” or “I don’t know how to cook anything and I feel like a complete loser” – people post things to make themselves LOOK better to everyone else (not all, some people I know are real, but even in being “real” I don’t think we REALLY tell it like it TRULY is the majority of the time) SO, what happens ? We think what people post is real, everyday life, therefore we start comparing, therefore we start feeling inadequate or like we are worthless. We can also get angry, upset, or outraged over things we see that cause us to be anxious. Neither one of these are helpful. Both cause us to be anxious, and our children pick up on our anxiety, and begin to start thinking they have to be a certain way, do certain things, etc to be important.
When we feel anxiety or compare ourselves to Sally Sunshine or Suzy Homemaker, what happens to our relationship with our children? We start thinking we are not a good enough mother, we get anxious, worried, and upset, therefore we may snap easier, lose patience faster, yell more, or feel as if we “can’t take another day” more often. I know this is true for me. The more I am on Facebook, if I am honest, the easier it is for me to get more easily frustrated with things my children do, even when they are age appropriate things, or things they are doing that cause no harm.
2) When we focus on what everyone else’s kids are doing, we start thinking something is “wrong” with our kids. We compare our children’s strengths and weaknesses. What!? Bobby can count to 20, my kid can only count to 5, something must be wrong with him, I must be a horrible mother… so we begin to pressure not only ourselves, but our children as well. We are not viewing them as the gifts they are. Each child was made by the Lord for a unique purpose. Each child is precious. Each child was made different and each child has a purpose planned for them by God. When we compare and pressure our children to be like others, we lose focus of the amazing things God created them to be.
3) When we are connected too much (social networking, TV, phone, e-readers, whatever) we are not paying attention to our children as we should be. If we are honest, many times we are neglecting them. We are missing out on their lives. They grow fast, we need to not take that for granted. Being a mother is a job that the Lord gave us, and we need to do it with excellence. If we are constantly connected, we are definitely NOT doing it with excellence.
*note: I am not saying our children need our undivided attention 24/7, or that checking your mail, or facebook every so often while your children are playing is wrong, but there is a limit. There is a point that it is too much. If you ever feel convicted about time spent on it, wonder if you are on it too much, or get defensive when someone says you are on it too much, you probably are (spoken from experience)
4) Connecting too much robs us of the joy of motherhood, therefore robs our children of joy. They see us parents. They see that we are not paying attention. They are not stupid. If they see us connected too much they will begin to feel as if they are not good enough, we don’t care about them, or that what we are doing on the computer is more important than them. I never want to hurt my children in this way. Shame on us. I remember the turning point for me… my oldest daughter, who is 4, told me she gets sad when I am on the computer too much because it makes her feel like I love that more than her. Woah. Causing our children to feel this way is NOT treating them as the blessing and gift they are.
5) Connecting too much can make one go into survival mode. It makes one want to just “get through another day.” It makes one wish time away, or wish they were not in this phase, or that phase, or whatever else. It makes one see the negative, rather than enjoy the positive phases that come with each age. Each age has their struggles. We live in a broken world. However, each age also has amazing, wonderful, and glorious things about them that create beautiful memories… IF we take the time to really see, rather than just do what we can to get by.
We all have bad days here and there. I get that. We all have days we need to disconnect, and on occasion that is ok. I usually have one day a week that we have a down day. We each kinda do our own thing for a period of the day. It is beneficial for everyone… but not every day. That can cross a line. The are days I cannot wait for nap time. LOL. Some days are just ROUGH and I would be lying if I did not admit this…
but I love my girls, and they are growing way too fast, so I never want to “wish time away” because I know that all too soon I will be wishing for it back.