Motherhood is More Important Than Instagram – Why I’m Taking a Social Media Break

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The past several months I’ve had a quote tumbling around in my head. And while I couldn’t have recited it if you asked, its message stuck with me like the scent of lilacs in May.

Here it is…

“It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us.”

Oswald Chambers

As those words tumbled around my heart and my head, I began to wonder if I am missing something. Is constantly thinking about what I need to post next how I really want to live? Is sharing the beautifully mundane moments before the eyes of the world how I want to spend my minutes which turn into hours which turn into years?

What if those moments were simply delighted in for the eyes and worship of God alone? I think I’ve lost sight of the joy and peace that comes from living for the audience of One. I long for that. For I know that nearness to God is far greater than any praise the world could give.


Now, I do want to take a moment here to just say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with being on social media. If you can be present online and it’s healthy for you and your family, that’s wonderful! What I’m sharing in this post is for myself primarily but also for anyone who may want to think through why and how to approach social media and social media boundaries in a different way.

Woman smiling wearing a chambray shirt

How Did I Get Here?

I didn’t used to be addicted to my phone, so what happened? While I did go through a very difficult season, I do think it was also just a slow progression of being on my phone (instagram in particular) more and more. It provided distractions when I needed it (and even when I didn’t). It became my retreat.

Once I started getting serious about creating content, I spent even more time on my phone. “Researching” content and creating content. It’s a vicious cycle. Before long, I was directing more time and energy than I would like to admit to the beast that never says, “Enough!” The beast, of course, being Instagram.

Why Set Social Media Boundaries?

Phones Isolate Me From Those I Love the Most

I found I was turning to my phone when I needed a little break or a little emotional boost (something it never promised to do and oftentimes did the opposite). Whether I was nursing my son or relaxing on the couch with my husband, if I was looking at my phone (which was not uncommon) it took my focus away from them. I was missing out on connecting with the ones right there in my presence.

This is different, in my opinion, than say, watching a show together or even a youtube video on the computer. Phones are very much made for the entertainment of a single present person while computers and televisions can be used for the entertainment (and connection) of more than one person in the same room at the same time.

Just to push this point a little farther, we all know how isolating and belittling it can feel to try and speak with someone who is too preoccupied with their phone to engage properly with us. That’s what I’m referring to and that’s what I want to avoid doing to the people I love the most (and really to anyone).

My Son Will Be Drawn to What I Delight In

Essentially this is about the example I’m setting. Am I delighting in what is good and fruitful and beautiful? This doesn’t mean that I never give myself a break or always choose the hardest way. It’s more a question of, “What am I choosing the majority of the time? Is it something I can be proud of? Is it advancing the culture I want to create in my home?”

If I am constantly on my phone, my son will likely think that is what’s good to do and what it means to be an adult. I don’t want that for him, and I don’t even want that for me.

I Create The Culture In Our Home

I really believe in the importance of creating the culture we want in our home (no “que sera sera” – meaning, “whatever will be, will be” – here). This requires intentionality and thoughtfulness.

To piggy-back off of my first point, we don’t want the culture of our home to be one of people looking at their devices and not engaging with and loving those around them. Because of this, we need to set boundaries around screen usage AND choose what to pursue instead…art, science, reading, beauty, creativity…there are so many wonderful things to choose from!

We Are Eternal Beings

There’s a C. T. Studd quote I love which goes…

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

C.T. Studd

My life and therefore my time as a Christian, has been bought with the blood of Christ. It is precious and limited and fleeting. Scrolling Instagram (scrolling constantly – again this isn’t a rigid rule devoid of grace) does not honor Christ’s sacrifice. It doesn’t draw my soul to Him or bring me to worship Him (in general – there are some people who really have encouraged me in Christ and reminded me of truth when I needed it).

Also…one of the primary, eternally significant callings I have been given during this season is to raise my children and I can’t do that well if my attention is always divided.

It’s not good for me in my marriage, it’s not good for me as a mother, it’s not good for my relationship with God…so why am I doing it?

This is a pointed and painful observation and question. While I could certainly say that I’m trying to grow a business…that I’m looking for a creative outlet..that I’m connecting with others…those reasons are just not good enough to continue on in the way I have been going. Being connected constantly to my phone is not healthy for me.

What Now?

After seeing and feeling all the negative impacts of Instagram use for me, I’ve decided to step back a bit for this whole month. I will still be active 2 consecutive days a week (Fridays and Saturdays), but other than that the app is deleted from my phone.

It’s currently the 4th of July, four days into my challenge, and I’m honestly loving it. I feel so free and like I have time to do the things I really love.

I’d like to share my reflections at the end of the month which I’ll link to here (once it’s written – early August 2024). Don’t forget to sign up for the Newsletter if you haven’t already!

A Couple Resources

As I’ve been processing through all of this the last several weeks, I’ve come across a couple podcasts I’d like to share that were helpful in my thought process.

Give Your Family What Technology Can’t with Erin Loechner

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-1000-hours-outside-podcast/id1448210728?i=1000659058499Put Your Family Center Stage with Dr. Josh Straub

In Conclusion

This has been a bit of a vulnerable post to write and I know it’s imperfect and could be expanded upon even more. However, I know it’s been good for me to write it out and I hope it’s been encouraging to you!

As always, with love,

Ashlei

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