I suppose jumping in is as good as any ol’ place to start. So here I am, my feet in the puddles standing still, able to see the ripples make their way towards the edge. Here I am, wading with wonder and letting life wash over me like the sweet balm it is, as I sit here and write a letter to you and to myself.
I have not been on social media for almost a week, and what a beautiful and eye-opening string of days it has been for our family and me. Although not a lengthy chunk of time I must admit, it has already felt like I have taken a giant step away from an energy that was pushing me into a corner of which I began to feel depleted and disoriented. Over the course of the past few years my outer world had begun to take over my inner one, leading me down a path of distraction, slowly detaching me from living life the way I desperately yearned to live it: slowly and calmly with true presence for my family. How long had I been living this way? A question I feel is not really worth answering, for here I am now in the present, clicking away on my keys and sharing with you exactly where I find myself standing, in the muck. And it feels wonderful.
What prompted me to unplug from Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook and all things in the realm of fast social information? A true culmination of things I suppose, but the strongest being a recent trip I took to Iowa with the kids while Andrew was away on business. It was an impromptu visit for the four of us. One that I felt strangely compelled to take, given that I loathe driving long distances, especially because I was the only adult in the car for two five hour stretches! But I did it anyway and the solitude experiences during this solo trip with the kids gave me a gift I didn’t see coming. I was given ten (somewhat) uninterrupted hours to let my mind drift, to catch up on podcasts, to listen to music, and to look out over the expanse of the Midwestern landscape with its red barns and rows upon rows of newly seeded crop. It was a time to soak in the three words my dear grandma said during a visit to her house on this very trip after talking about gardening and housework and the simple joys of motherhood. I know I’ll keep them with me for a long time, if not on the forefront of my mind, then in my back pocket.
“I envy you,” she said.
A bit of backstory: my grandmother has aged gracefully but there are some things that are not as they once were. Since being seriously ill over a year ago she has had her share of struggles, including short term memory difficulties. Things as simple as putting together a meal, inviting everyone together, or writing a note to someone (all things she found a lot of joy in) are harder and near impossible for her now. She has lost some of her independence and can not drive. And although my mother has been bringing this up with me with great sadness for some time, I really hadn’t allowed myself to see it for what it was, nor be fully present enough to grasp the changes that aging, along with her other medical issues, have done to my grandmother’s beautiful mind and abilities to enjoy her days like she once used to.
It was raining. Not heavily, but enough to make us run from the car to the house, blankets over babies and shoes off in the foyer. We were sitting in the front room of their house and had just finished up eating some tenderloin sandwiches for lunch and were sipping cans of Pepsi. My grandparents have been offering me a “cold pop” for about as long as I can remember. The only time I really indulge in soda is when we visit their house. It always tastes better there for the same reason fried sandwiches do. Because it takes me back to days spent on their farm, when roaming the porch fridge after a morning’s worth of chores always ended in popping the silver tab on a cold blue can. Nostalgia has its way with me. She was sitting in the chair across from us—a thick air of discomfort noticeably present. Unlike her usual attentive self, I knew upon entering the home she was somewhere else. I tried my best to grab hold of things I could think of to connect us, to tether us together…but I felt the reigns of our conversation slipping around every attempt to engage. So I spoke of what was going on in this season of my life, in motherhood, in our kitchen and in the spring garden. We laughed at Alfie dancing to no music and Theodore running around being his usual quirky self. We talked of Stella and how she would be going into Kindergarten. With her light blue eyes heavy and full of what can only be described as a jumbled mix of fear and regret and loneliness, she told me rather calmly that she envied me.
Something clicked when I heard those words. I didn’t get choked up or feel the need to run out of the room to delete all my social accounts. No. Instead, I felt a stirring taking place within that moment as if the hole of the straw with which I was using to view the world was removed and a clear and gracious invitation to invite stillness and presence into my life slid in to take its place. This stillness, I would later come to understand, was underscored with a gentle yet haste earnestness to make better use of my time, something that I was wasting on scrolling and liking…sleepwalking through moments that could have been scooped up to savor.
Through the spring rain on my journey home, what I originally thought to be a sudden knee-jerk desperation to unplug, rather quickly (and fortunately given the perspective of hindsight) revealed itself to what I can best describe as a thirsty longing rooted deep within me to take necessary measures to better tend to and preserve what I do with my time, and most importantly, who I give it to. This longing created an itch that kept circling back to the forefront of my mind, and the only reasonable answer I could sink my teeth into was to say farewell to the mass of social connections and simplify my sharing, so I could amplify the meaningful connections in my life with those I love…with those special individuals I am choosing to invest in.
On the drive home I reflected on all the ways I allow myself to be pulled away from the present moments in my life. I let my mind travel down uncomfortable paths that shined a vivid light on all the times I use technology as a placeholder for boredom and daily discomforts and the more pronounced hardships in motherhood. I thought about all the things I craved to do, to see, to read about, to learn, and to explore. About sitting idle in the grass with my babies and what joy that could bring. About being there with and for my kids throughout the day without the tug to share that moment with whomever was following me. I thought about all the beauty in the world and how my health and able body/mind are something I ought to be using for a more meaningful purpose, even if that purpose is to live a more quiet and calm life focused on making things and loving on my family.
I have written about simplicity before, probably too much if it were up to some people! I have thought and shared quite a bit about the practice of pairing down and the importance of rooting ourselves in the present. But what I failed to see, what I failed to know and feel for myself, is that in order to allow those principles to authentically enter into our worlds, we need to create a space for solitude and welcome stillness into our lives. For me personally, this meant doing without social media, something I have used and turned to for over five years.
I hope that me expressing myself in this way does not mean I have disdain for things like Instagram. In my experience I was not using it in a way that benefitted me, nor enriched my life the way it used to. My recent experiences on social media left me feeling as though I was pouring far more out than I was pouring in. There was an imbalance and it started getting heavy. This would lead to exhaustion as I aimed to constantly engage throughout my day with thousands upon thousands of people. The connections, though beautiful, were not something I could physically keep up with. That inability left me feeling inadequate, and often times, less than. The pace at which I went about my hours from sun up to sundown was dictated by a device glued to my right hand, with the temptation to share, and catch up, and dive into the lives of others as a means to connect and find purpose and companionship as a stay at home mother. In the end, I thought about making a smaller account, one that only included those I personally knew. That still meant I would be on my phone…thereby not giving me the presence with myself and my family and dear friends that I so craved and needed in my life.
I would say connection is the main reason I have continued social media for the last few years, even when doubts and questions surfaced in times of burnout and distraction. I really value community and feel as though I am better for having known how others are doing life through social platforms. The friendships I have made in the social world have deeply impacted our family, and in fact, I would not be sitting here in the bright nook of my bedroom had it not been for my dear friend I met on Instagram several years back. I could go on and on about the good that can come from sharing joy with others on social platforms, I have done so many times before. But what makes this time different for me is that never before have I felt it completely essential to not only pull away from many of the technological distractions I have brought into my life, but to more importantly craft a rhythm for myself that honors time and respects my energy as a mother. To do this feels very empowering and has thus far, blessed my days with waves upon waves of newfound peace and contentment.
Looking back it’s very clear to me, clearer than ever before, that I was designating far too much real estate to an area of my life that was more invested in depleting my energy and creativity than restoring it. And what ever happened to making for making’s sake? Or the wild notion that most of us take vacations to unplug yet we toil and labor over the very thing that has permeated the essence of our days? Why can’t we unplug today? Why must we wait until given a vacation or if our phone falls into the toilet? Why can’t we shake things up and reassess how our hearts really are and adjust accordingly as to make an impact on our life in the greatest possible measure? Why not now? All of these questions were brought to mind on my drive back home to Kansas City.
Mother’s Day, and the days surrounding, I savored my family like I never have before. Simply put, I was and have been all there and it has been the best gift I could have ever given myself or my loved ones. I am keeping this journal as a way to pour my creativity into something tangible without the need to keep in constant update with others around me. I often found that that kind of social sharing for me personally lead to toxic avenues like comparison and self-doubt, something I want less of in my life. Like I have been doing in the past, I am going to use Homesong to share my honest growth and more light-hearted endeavors with you, dear readers. To explore areas of interest, to learn and lean into things I find to be beautiful, to create a haven for my soul’s desires that gives me space to try things out and get messy. When I step back, I view this journal as a slow conversation, not only with you, but foremost myself, and I invite both of us to enter into this space with grace and kindness.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen
My creativity has been bubbling over the past few days, my mind swirling with possibility around all the lessons I have yet to learn and all the things I want to try with regard to mothering and homemaking. I cannot help but think, gosh…I know so very little, and it’s just so wonderful!
By giving myself room to enter into my inner landscape first, I feel as though I will be able to squeeze more joy out of sharing, thereby building more energy to give back to those in my circle, those I am privileged to do life with, namely: Andrew, Stella, Theodore, Alfie and I suppose, myself.
There is so much more for me to say, so many roads I could walk down with you right now but I will leave you with this, a simple place to start and a source of inspiration for me. I recently read in Sara Avant Stover’s book, The Way of The Happy Woman, the importance in designating, and perhaps reclaiming, a physical space in your home where you can go to hit refresh or escape as a refuge. My island of calm, my grounding point for inspiration, is this little home I have made in the bright nook of our bedroom sitting underneath sixteen panes of glass.
On Mother’s Day I brought down the old desk that was sitting empty in our loft and draped it with a scrap of oatmeal linen fabric. I gathered an antique crystal lamp, a sturdy wicker basket, a vase for pens, a candle, some flowers, and some new notebooks I was gifted from where I will be storytelling for myself. After putting this space together it became very apparent how much my soul was craving it. Perhaps you too are in need of a space in your home to call your own. Perhaps you already have one but have forgotten about it. If you’re looking to turn the page, a tangible act such as making a haven within your home can be a worthy first step.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
And finally, for those who have made it this far in reading about my recent journey, bless you. I don’t know if this stepping away from social media is a forever thing, but it is for sure a right now thing. I thank you for your grace as I try something new, allowing me space to make mistakes and be human and to grow rather publicly. Your kindness is a gift and something we all can use a bit more of, no matter our sunshine, and no matter our struggles.
Caitlin Cress - I sure miss you on Snapchat, but this was lovely. And gave me a lot to think about <3 Good for you, mama!
Ashley Woodbeck - Amanda, this is so beautiful! Thank you SO SO much for sharing this with us. As I have said before, you are an inspiration! I totally understand many of your feelings and also struggle with the same things you mentioned. I always consider giving up social media too (I only have Instagram), and so I will take these words to heart and reflect on them! I am looking forward to keeping in touch via Homesong and reading more posts from you! Much love! xo
Sara - Lovely <3
Jill Palumbo - It is interesting to me to read posts like this and realize how seriously people take social media. I don’t post a lot, but I totally enjoy reading and enjoying everyone’s pictures and input. I have learned so much about cooking, travel, other places and people, home inspiration and so on. Things I would never be exposed to if I wasn’t on social media. I think because I love to read so much, a lot of social media is just an extension of that for me. At this point in my life, my children are grown, so I don’t feel like I am taking any time away from my loved ones. I do feel like I would be missing out if I was to withdraw from social media, but it sounds like that was something you were needing to do, so I wish you well. I do miss your posts, since they were always so lovely.
laurence - I felt so calm and peaceful after your letter…
Kelly Smith - This is really inspiring Amanda. Thank you for continuing to share a piece of yourself and your creativity here on your blog. I applaud you and you’ve inspired me to make similar changes to be more present for my own family. Blessings. – Kelly Smith
Jessie - i’ve been waiting to hear your heart, my friend. this was so beautiful to read. so raw, open, honest and gentle. as i’ve said many a times here and in comments on your posts, i feel we are so very similar in so many ways…and knowing that you, too, are an INFJ, makes me believe it may have something to do with that 😉 we are simple, yet complex. open, yet mysterious. thinkers! feelers! as i’ve really enjoyed the community of mothers and women and “friends” on instagram since having a public account in more recent months, i’ve also felt a different pressure come from that. a pressure to fit in, a pressure to please and appeal to the masses. i found myself comparing instead of enjoying. slowly, i wondered if i were to step back a bit…would i recognize that person? was i becoming the woman and mother i wanted to be? those are not feelings or characteristics i have ever aspired for. so, as you did, i, too, felt a stirring to pull away, to simplify, to be present, to relish in the now. as mothers of 3 growing babes, we both know how fleeting these days are. i started to picture how my kids would see me later down the road, looking more at my phone than at them, and felt a pang of disgust in a way…really. i’d been feeling this way for a while…and ignoring it. but your last post was the splash of water in the face that i needed. those feelings to make a change, to take a leap…those instincts are not to be ignored. we are much better people when we listen to that inner voice, am i right? 🙂 i love that you created that space for yourself…i just wanna jump in that photo! i just started chapter 7 of sara’s book and i actually highlighted that part you mentioned when i read it 🙂 often times, we’re so busy making our homes so cozy for everyone else, that we forget to create a sacred space for ourselves to recharge. yours is such a lovely one. goodness, there is so much more i could say, and it makes me long for a nice long visit with you over coffee!! but i will say what i can say for now here in this moment. i am so glad you listened to that stirring…for it encouraged me to listen to my own as well! i removed both snapchat and instagram from my phone last friday (i do not have twitter and left facebook over 2 years ago) and though, to be honest, i have found myself sorta twiddling my thumbs at points, getting used to not keeping up with everyone else’s whereabouts, the freedom i have felt has been something i’ve been longing for. i love what you said about making for the sake of making. simply for the pleasure it might bring to ourselves! i woke up just past 6 this morning and still sleepy-eyed, with my cup of coffee next to me on the countertop, i dug out the eggs and sugar and the basket of lemons my dad gave me this past weekend and make a fresh batch of lemon curd…my dear grams’ favorite topping on her toast in the mornings. so many feelings surrounded me as i stood there in my cozies, whisking away. to let your thoughts drift as you enter a happy place (whether on a long drive or creating for the sake of creating ;)), is such a beautiful space to be in. may there be much more of that for both of us, dear friend. if my grams were alive, i KNOW she would have said such similar words to be in those last years of her life. the core of them being to put the phone down and be present in this life. what a gift. love to you, friend. so much.
Amy - Firstly, what a beautiful post. I am so glad that you will continue to post on your site because I feel that you have much that is worth sharing. You have been an inspriation in many ways. Also, LOVE your desk and the spot you have found for it in your home.
Secondly, if this post is by the Jessie I think it is, I just wanted to say that I discovered your instagram feed last week after a comment you had made on mama watters’ instagram feed (it is/was the only thing I looked at on instagram). I just wanted to let you know (as I noticed that your account is private now) that I loved your photos and words. You seem to have a beautiful family and home. I was inspired by many things on your feed (I have ordered the sprouted kitchen recipe book! And loved the quote about a normal day and appreciating it that you posted) and wanted to say thank you for the glimpse into your life. I understand, like Amanda, where you are coming from regarding social media because I have never had a facebook account even! I fear it completely absorbing me. I only found mama watters after a friend of mine said how much I would enjoy it and relate to it (I stay at home with my two boys, 5 and 3).
Jessie - so kind of you to say, amy 💛 thank you. hope you enjoy sara’s book(s)! she and i went to high school together and live in the same town. continuously inspired by that girl. may we all live our days to the fullest! much love, jessie
Amy - Thanks Jessie. This is the good part about social media – a mama in Brisbane, Australia connecting with a mama in California! If you ever open your instagram account again, I will be sure to take a look. Best wishes to you too, Amy x
Maria - I’m happy for your Amanda, we always need some time for ourselves from time to time. I think you are making a great choice 🙂
Abbi Cordova - I loved reading your heart on this. I stepped away over a year ago as well from social media and it was like sipping cold water on a hot day. Refreshing to my soul that I was so desperate for. Parts of me misses catching up with others or sharing bits of my days but the sacrifice of stepping away brings such sweet rewards that are of so much more value. You are such a sweet mama and have brought beauty and simplicity to so many. You will be so blessed in stepping away and your children and husband will reap the benefits as well. The Lord has given us these precious little eternal souls for us to love and care for and nurture and feed and change their bums and snuggle and kiss and laugh and cry with and these moments fly much too fast for our hearts to comprehend sometimes. Enjoy this new season and the blessings that come from it!
Brad - I’m with you… I’ve had this same internal struggle over and over. I’m currently “renovating” my blog, I guess you could say, so I can get back to what I love the most: writing, documenting, growing. Oftentimes, I felt I was doing the same on Instagram yet it’s easy to get caught up in the politics of it all. It’s a great platform, all social media outlets are to a degree, but sometimes we need to step back externally to step up internally.
Jette - This all makes perfect sense, and like Jill, I don’t post a lot (if anything much at all) myself, but I enjoy reading posts by others and often find much comfort in doing so. So I’d miss it if there weren’t any new posts here… still, I absolutely understand and respect your feelings.
I’m working as a teacher, so I know a lot about pouring out all the time and the imbalance that can come with it. Today especially I’m totally exhausted, and when I talked to my parents and heard that they had a lovely lunch at a restaurant not too far from my home, while I had a long at school an rushed home to correct yet another pile of exam papers (realizing that my lovely students obviously hadn’t understood as much about the topic as I thought they had), even though I would have loved to join them… well, to quote from The Awakening by Kate Chopin: She was just having a good cry all to herself.
So this is truly a great reminder to look for that balance again in my own life, too…
Thank you for what you have written in the past, and I’m sure looking forward to any posts that might come along in the future whenever (or if) you feel like it!
Annie - Beautiful, beautiful words. I so look forward to reading about your journey in this space–my personal favorite of all your “social media” accounts. You’ve given me some things to ponder in my own life, particularly when you mentioned using social media as a fix for boredom or distraction…I do that as well, much too often. Thank you for your heartfelt, honest words. xoxo
Beth - Yeah! Thank you for taking a bold and wise move to really practice the simplicity and peace you share here. I share your sentiments so deeply.
Kate - Hi Amanda… Really loved this post. (And such a cozy, peaceful space you made yourself, too!) I recently also quit social media and it feels so good. Life is way too short to spend it looking at other people’s lives when we have our own to focus on! I love your blog, keep it up! Xx
mamahay - Love and grace to you. I’m so grateful that you’ll still connect with us in this space. xo
Nicole - So glad I bumped into you (on social media ;-)), you feel like a friend I’ve never met. You are so inspiring and I thank you for it. Wish I could inspire you as well/give you something in return. Have you a wonderful time offline, I will keep reading you here. Nicole x
Stephanie - Amanda, this is beautiful. I’ve been looking forward to a new post. I think you’ve so eloquently described the juxtaposition of living a slow intentional life in a modern fast paced world. Being present is something we all struggle with. It’s a practice and it’s not always easy, but living in the moment is glorious, isn’t it? Happy to see your new sacred space. You’ve inspired me to do the same. I thank you for that. Looking forward to seeing your blog evolve with you.
Claire - Amanda, you are being so brave. I often wonder how some mothers are able to keep up with the relentless performance on social media. It burns me out and leaves me dry every time I try to involve myself there. Your words here really resonate. I have created a new online journal and have been contemplating deleting other social media accounts for some time. I missed my blog… it felt much more about me and my growth than any other fast form of social media. I could choose to engage with others by seeking them out… but if I was needing to introvert, I could choose to journal my own experience and shield myself from the excess of others’ lives.. I think I felt much calmer in those days. Good for you… I enjoy this space <3
Michelle - Good for you, Amanda! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to finding you here. 🙂
Amanda - This is so inspiring and sure to be a wonderful journey. I left Facebook last Fall after 11 years (!) after having my second child and feeling the need to be more present and intentional with my free-time. The peace that followed from not constantly feeling the need to follow and catch-up on my newsfeed was incredible. I’ve never looked back. I keep my Instagram account much simpler, but now am considering taking a break from that too. Please continue to share your journey! -Amanda
Malayka - Ahhhh this is a beautiful post. Unplugging from social media and being more totally there for our families is something that I, and I think and increasing number of people are beginning to do. I no longer have any social media on my phone and although I felt a little lost without it for a few days, I have very quickly gotten used to ‘the way things used to be’. It’s bliss! I just wanted to finally write and say how much I absolutely adore your blog. It is one of the few reasons I have to turn on my laptop at the moment). So thank you, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, I’m sure it is a breathe of fresh air to many mothers in the same situation as you :). I look forward to continuing and learning from your journey. x
Taylor - One of the best things I ever did was delete my Facebook, which was the only social media I had for a long time. I have an Instagram, but I don’t post a lot. Instead, I use it to look at beautiful photographs, one of which was your account. I’m sure many of us are missing your photos, but I really hope you keep distance from social media. It has been one of the best things I have done for my family and myself. As an anxious person, letting go of social places that pressured me to only post the best parts of my life and to do it often was key in easing me into a life of peace and joy. I really hope you find the same peace I have.
Lara - I loved this post. So much. It was a gift to read.
Ruby - What an inspiration you are Amanda.
I am a new mother and your words and perspective have bought me much comfort in this challenging and wonderful time in my life.
Thank you and congratulations on your blog and making this decision that will bring you closer to your loved ones.
Brandi - What a beautiful post. I actually envy you as well. I think what you’re doing is amazing. You have such a beautiful way of writing. I’ll miss seeing your IG posts, but will look forward to any updates you may put on this blog.
Carli - Amanda, bless you. Bless you for entertaining stillness long enough to feel this quiet prompting on your heart, bless you for choosing to step away from that which was depleting you rather than recharging you and BLESS YOU for taking the time and intention to share your heart here on your blog. About a paragraph in, I turned off my music, cleared off my desk and hunkered down with a glass of tea as my baby girl slept to read and digest every word. I believe God speaks to us all the time and everywhere. Today, your words were his voice for me….confirming a prompting I know he’s placed on my heart the last while. We are in the middle of a big move as a family. We have a 17 month old baby girl and I’m 4 months along with our second. I am home with my daughter Navy but also work 3/4’s time from home. Life feels frenetic right now and I’m feeling deeply pulled to a quieter, slower more intentional pace. We’re moving to a sleepy little town (from the city of 1.3 million I’ve called home most my life and now my current home in a small city of 25,000…5000 is going to be a huge change for this ‘mostly’ city girl 😉 to eliminate my husband’s commute and enjoy more time together as a growing family. My creative passions (namely explorations in clean living, making our house our home, photography and writing) are underdeveloped right now but begging to be nurtured and explored once again. Pulling away from social media and pouring myself into my family and my personal growth and edification is where I, too, feel my heart needs to go as well. And so I just want to thank you, for articulating so gracefully a strong desire I had on my own heart but had not yet given the space or focus to write down and consciously pursue. I will be checking in on this sweet space of yours when you post (and when the timing is right on my end as well 🙂 and in the in between, will be pursuing my own, intentional pace of life and also quietly celebrating your choice to do so as well. My very best wishes to you & your family.
Deb - As always, beautiful, heart spoken words. I will miss your honest and eloquent posts but truly admire and applaud your choice! Life is brief. Every moment is precious with the ones you love. I wish you and your beautiful family well… It goes by so quickly…..
Imajine - Even if you never return to ig or any social media, your experiences and struggles have not been in vain if you care about what you’ve contributed to so many people, mainly mamas of littles in this current age. I am one of them. Sometimes I’ll jump on my hubbys Facebook and think, “has the world lost its mind?” Myself included in the way ig has sometimes consumed me. What scares me the most is seeing teenagers’ ig and Facebook accounts and dreading my own children having these platforms someday. I was considering doing away with my ig account for good. On a very particular day an account I followed (woodsermom) quit ig. Then you…I just feel this prompting that I am no longer going to ignore to do the same. I wish I had (a real life) accountability partner to hold me to it. Wishing you the best. I am glad my children are growing up in a world with other children who are raised by mamas as (kind, loving, whole, present) as you seem to be.
Ashton - Oh, this was so good Amanda. I am so happy for you that you are experiencing so much goodness and presence during this time. I felt this burden last spring and summer too and I’ve honestly been feeling it the last month or two as well. It’s just so easy to let social media and our phones take away pieces of our lives that we never realize. And that frightens me at times. Taking inspiration away from your current journey….thank you for being brave!
Tara - Thank you for your words! I feel you echo what so many are experiencing. I’ve struggled very similarly over the past year. I’ve tried to set boundaries, only checking social media at certain times, allowing myself to check but not post>>>therefore not getting further distracted by likes and comments. I started a new Facebook account with only family and friends I knew personally, only to, after time, end up spending the same amount of time browsing and interacting. I’ve fasted for weeks at a time and it absolutely startled me, how often I take pictures and then in my brain am trying to think of the perfect caption. That was my point of “something has got to change, now”. I want to take pictures of my sweet girls for the sake of preserving a memory and because I love glancing at our digital scrapbooks-which I “never have time to make anymore” because social media has eaten it up. Finally, I’ve deleted all social media accounts except for Instagram (my favorite, the only that lifts me rather than drains). However, I’ve been feeling convicted recently. I’m on it too much and I need to pull back again. Once I got rid of other forms of social media I also pulled away from the blogs I read, in favor of time and presence with myself, with the ones I love and the outreach I want to pour into. I came to your blog today seeking an update, curious if you’ve been stirred, wondering how it’s been going. I see the beauty that technology can hold and I embrace it, but I also see the hold it can have on us if we are not careful and it can be quite frightening.
Anna - What a testament to your intuition! I absolutely love your Instagram material and have been a follower for years – to be honest, I didn’t come from a solid family and many of my fears of motherhood stem from that. Your posts always inspired me to look at family in a different way. I look forward to reading your blog content and continuing to draw meaningful correlations between our lives.
I sincerely thank you for being honest, raw, and yet completely uplifting at the same time. Cheers to you!
Johnna - Enjoy the break, love. Everyone needs that and balance is so essential for survival! The long break I took at the beginning of this year was so invigorating and re-centering. Sending love to your sweet family! ❤️
Neerpoli - I love your Instagram but always wondered how you had so much time to share
Your post is beautiful, it sounds like you were seriously addicted and this break was much needed. Enjoy the break. Try a break from the blog also. It can inspire another long post when you do decide to come back
Kenya - I must say, I was a little sad when you announced your break from Instagram.. I so loved peeking into your world through your account each day, but I could understand the need for a break from social medias. Or so I thought I could; last night (though I’m embarrassed to admit it) I dropped my phone in the bathtub, and for the hours I’ve been without it, this message I’ve been told about living life away from the screen suddenly made sense. I felt relieved to be away from my phone, this mere thing to which I was constantly tethered for no real reason whatsoever, which distracted me from family and friends and cherishing the present. Anywho, thank you for this post– it’s certainly applicable to me now, and it’s lovely that someone I admire so is able to share some wisdom!
Victoria Parker - Amanda,
I am SO happy and excited for you! Present mind, present heart – is one of my new mantras. You are a sweet person, great mother and this decision exudes that. I look forward to reading your posts! Thank you for your reminder of simplicity and the importance of living fully in the moment.
erin - i have missed your beautiful pictures on instagram, but LIVING that beautiful life is far more improtant than spending time away from it to capture it. getting away from social media is such a wonderful thing which makes me wonder why i keep going back. and i don’t think you could ever write too much on simplicity. looking forward to catching up with you here!
Christy Hillier - Thank you so much for being so honest and vulnerable. You are someone I have always looked up to on Instagram. You have created such an amazing collection of photos showcasing your life, but I respect you so much for giving all that up in this season of your life. That has inspired me more than anything else.
I have been glued to my phone since becoming a mother as a means to escape and dream of having that “picture perfect” life. But I have been feeling a tug lately to give that up so that I can appreciate what I have right in front of me: an amazing family, a relationship with God, and a lovely home in a nice town. I have decided to not give it up completely, but to definitely limit myself and instead spend that time pouring into my husband and my son, reading, writing, creating, trying new things, and being with God.
Thank you again, and God bless you!
Allison - So beautifully and poetically said, Amanda. You are indeed giving yourself the best gift, and I adore and respect your courage and grace. ❤️
Sloane - Hi Amanda,
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in this beautiful space you’ve created. I’ve been pouring over your words the last few days. To be honest, I’ve really struggled with comparison and insecurity lately. I’ve a desire to share more of my story with others – but it so often leaves me feeling drained. Your post is a reminder that it’s not important if thousands read the stories i have to share. But what matters is sharing my heart with those nearest and dearest to my heart – my husband, my family, my community. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder that there is beauty in the simplicity of living life closer to those around us.
Samantha - You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing so much of your life so publicly and humbly because it gives a new mama (sweet 5 month old boy) like me much to aspire towards (for myself, my marriage, and my baby). Your messages of practicing intention and slowing everything down are so grounding, something I need to constantly remind myself of during this beautiful chapter of life I find myself in and in raising my precious boy. Looking forward to future posts, much love to you, mama.
Claire - Like most people, I create bookmarks on my phone entitled “recipes”, “house projects”, “travel ideas”, and the like. I created one for “parenting” with a sub-category “emotional support and encouragement”. Your kind and profound words, my dear, make up the majority of that sub category, and this post just made it in there as well. It is my Greatest Hits of sorts that I can turn to on a tough day and feel that I am not alone in this journey. Blessings to you and your beautiful family and all the hard work that you are doing.
Stef - Beautifully captured sentiments! I am alongside you as a social media-less mama. Its wonderful.
I haven’t always been this way; my older son broke my iPhone with his play hammer last October, and I decided to see where not having a phone would take me. At the time it was our only form of internet, so we were totally unplugged until we got home wifi and a laptop a few months later. Fast forward to now; we still only have the laptop and a home phone, and we don’t see our family ever going back.
Thank you for being so open. It means so much.
Cathy - Oh dear! I never used to comment anywhere, but that´s two in a row because your words just touch me deeply! plus -they are so true, I try to limit phone time to evenings, looking through ig etc. Also I never started twitter, snapchat… because it would simply be too much distraction. My boys being much older than your children (15,11) does make it easier to have a minute to myself ,but with my 30 hr. job, household etc. by the time I could take some time, I usually lack energy or creativity to write, paint … what I do though is either go for walks with a friend and her dog (sometimes plus kids :)) or sit at my desk and just look through magazines or draw( I actually got one of these colouring books for adults and love it) I have to admit, that I am glad,that when my children were little we didn´t have smart phones yet. well, lots of precious pictures weren´t taken because nobody had a camera on hand, but even now – and you are so absolutely right, it´s more important to just be there and enjoy every simple task and make it special! Thank you for the reminder!
Jordan - Goosebumps for days! What a lovely, inspiring and honest post! Your words have made me want to join you in this season of putting down social media. For me, and it sounds like you as well, it was a time filler or a way to stomp the boredom. But I think what I interpreted as boredom was really a time to embrace mindfulness. Social media and technology have made feel like I need to be constantly moving and doing but sometimes, I just want to be. And I’ve noticed that when I do sit still or pay attention to the present moment – my senses heighten and I notice more around me; the smell of the grass, the sounds of trees moving, the touch of cold water in a stream when I take my dog for walk. I’m able to notice more and that has made life richer! So cheers to this new adventure and I am grateful that you took this huge leap because it has given others permission to do the same. xo Jordan
Michelle Spencer - It is a joy to read about your new endeavors as a mother! It’s funny…I forgot I had bookmarked your blog site, and noticed it at the top of my computer screen this morning and thought, “well, I follow her on IG, I think I can remove this blog from my favorites.” Before pressing the delete button, I clicked on your blog and realized I hadn’t seen any posts from you on IG, and thought, OK…she’s taking a well deserved break. I’m glad I stumbled upon this today and I’m also glad I didn’t delete your site from my favorites. You are an inspiring momma and homemaker and at one point in my life, I have secretly envied moms like you; for all the simple beauty you have in your life and how easy you make it LOOK; for having so many followers and so many online “friends,” when in reality, it IS NOT easy and it drives us nuts to constantly be in a state of perfection or competition. I stepped away from facebook many moons ago and never went back to checking it constantly, let alone very regularly. I visit the page a couple times per week to see what’s going on with family and friends whom I don’t see often enough. Instagram is still a pleasure of mine, as I don’t spend much time there, or put much effort into trying to impress. I use it as a source of inspiration and entertainment. It also helps keep me accountable and holds a space to store (and reminisce on) memories I might not take the time to make – if not for the easy access of internet sharing. My best to you while you continue on your path to slow, purposeful life with all the love, meaning, and togetherness it will bring!!
Corri - You are absolutely beautiful and I will follow you wherevere you go mama. ❤️
joanna - Good for you, Amanda! Enjoy your time off. 🙂
Allie Royall - Amanda,
So beautiful! It feels nice to be able to come to your blog and read. When I saw your post on Instagram, I didn’t once question it, as I too have felt such a strong tug in this direction. Your words only tug me harder. Thank you. For this post. For your honesty. I too, can down a canned drink in such a different way when back home; however, we are a Coke family, not Pepsi ;).
Carol Anne Kemp - So inspiring — thank you for sharing your stories. I have just returned to social media after a two year hiatus and that time away was invaluable. I pray this season is a blessing!
Sarah - Really lovely words. I recently also took a very long road trip on a move, and had time to think. So hard at first, but really beautiful to have so much time to think and be still.
Julia - This is my first comment ever here, but I really, really felt the need to tell you that since you posted this I very regularly come back to it to read it over and over again because I myself am on a social media break right now, too, and so far it has been a wonderful experience. I’m kind of hoping that this’ll bring so much peace and calmness into my life that I’ll never want to go back again to a life with social media. I am very excited to read how you’ll go further with this journey of yours and I that you’ll end up doing what is best for you, and for you only.
admin - Julia – Thank you for taking the time to write here and for your kind encouragement. I had been seeking this sort of calm I have found now that I have stepped away from IG and snapchat (temporarily??) and it really invigorating to have this little space to write and share without the need to keep up with everything on social media. I do miss it, don’t get me wrong, especially the connections with dear friends…but the peace I feel with my days open wide and a fresh new perspective on life makes it SO completely worth it. I hope you find the calm you seek and enjoy your little break being “unplugged” from it all. xx Amanda
danielle - I can’t tell you how much I needed this right now. Here I am holding my second born, his tiny 7 week old self, in my arms as he sleeps… My cat nestled beside us purring.. and before I read this, I had been scrolling, liking, being completely absent from this beautiful, calm moment. I’ve been wondering why things have felt different with this baby, and why I have been feeling so much regret. This is why. I’m not in the moment enough, savouring this fleeting time in my life. So thank you for sharing, thank you so much.
mammina — Life. Love. Ideas. - […] for social media participation lately. I have felt similarly myself recently. I enjoyed reading Amanda Watter’s take on her more present path since quitting […]
Zosia - This is simply beautiful. Good luck and God bless you in living A GOOD LIFE, in living your life in a good way – good for you and your family. And thank you for sharing this thoughts with us♡
Nikole - I have been thinking about this so much too. I cannot even imagine how you have kept up your level of engagement on these various platforms. I have been working on simplifying our home, but where my heart is pulling me now is to really focus my attention, time, and presence on those most important to me. Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. Wishing you peace, fulfillment, and boundless creativity.
Jennifer - Your presence and light emanates so brightly, even if it is less frequent it will grow brighter as you tend to it in your own time and way. This was such a beautiful post, and a good reminder for myself to let more solitude and stillness into my life. To inhale so mindfully that our exhalations are that much more meaningful and far reaching.
So adore your words and insight. You are doing a good work, and your not alone.
Friday Finds - Homey Oh My - […] Thought-provoking and powerful perspective on unplugging from social media. […]
Tanya - Amanda, I finally opened your blog up tonight and have caught up on all the new posts. This one explained your absence on Instagram so much, and I respect your decision, though it’s a bold one. I hope it won’t be a forever absence. I decided to take a month off right before you did and it was so good for my soul. I was able to look inside myself more and not let my phone distract me from what I was feeling or what I wanted to focus on that day. I faced things about myself that I don’t necessarily like and worked on bettering myself. I finished projects around the house that had been bugging my husband for a while now, things that I told myself I didn’t have time to get to. I mean, I can’t make excuses forever. I worked on my relationship with the Lord, which was the key and the thing that influenced all the other changes that I made. I think in this day and age social media creeps up slowly and softly so we never even realize its effect until it has kind of taken over, so I applaud you for taking this step to pull back and reign it in. Hope all is well! xx
Audrinajulia - Hugs to you Amanda and whatever journey you might be as a person and as a mother i will always be happy for you.
Summer Library » Homesong - […] to shape our days and influence our lives on a broader scale. It was a constant companion during my social media break and helped me restructure my perspective of and relationship with technology, namely, the […]
Jacki Holland - Thank you for this post. As much as I want to unplug if find myself drawn back in like a bad habit. After reading this post I’m headed off to reorganize an area that I will claim as my own where I can be present and leave behind the noise of social media.
Hannah Halleck - This is so beautiful, and exactly what I needed my heart to hear today💜
026 – Gifts of Reciprocity - Our Seva Our Seva - […] in her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Amanda Watter’s gift of presence without social media on the Homesong Blog and Jess Osie’s “Parenting From The Present” Q&A interview on the Our Seva […]