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When homemaking is a hassle: 3 Reasons to reevaluate “mommy media”

3 Reasons to Reevaluate Mommy Media

“Mom, I’m done cleaning.” My son pulls my arm. “Is it good? Can I play Wii now?”

Stumbling behind him, I fight my phone’s auto-correct to send off a coherent text.

Even as I glance up and take a breath to launch my “You can do better than this” speech, my phone alerts me to a comment on my blog.

“Okay, bud. It’s good enough,” and I’m off to the computer to write my response… as soon as I shift the laundry from my desk chair to my unmade bed.

I try to focus on what “really matters,” but I’m interrupted by…

“Honey, I can’t seem to find matching socks.”

“Mom, where are the clean cereal bowls?”

“Has anyone seen the car keys?”

Ten crazy minutes later, I’m ready for a little escape. Just a tiny Facebook check to cheer me up. And maybe a clever (only partly whiney) post.

Surely with enough “likes” this homemaker won’t feel quite so alone (or so guilty?) in her messes.

 

Been there? Uh, five minutes ago?

I know.

All this texting and browsing has become so normal. It’s one of the great perks of modern life!

But it seems to be impacting my home more than I care to admit. And yes, probably yours too.

Today I’m challenging myself and you, my techno-savvy friend, to reevaluate just how helpful or harmful media is to us as we strive to make our homes havens.

Why? Because of what our “mommy media” so easily becomes.

1) An Escape

Have you ever thought of it in these terms? Is media an escape for you? The time in front of the tv in the evening? The 5-20 minute social media breaks interspersed throughout the day?

What are you escaping? Chores? Boredom? Loneliness? Pain?

If laundry, dishes, clutter, and dust are piling up during your mini-vacations, can I ask you to be brave and take a deeper look inside your heart?

Ask Jesus… ask a trusted friend… What am I really escaping?

And when you know, ask the next question… How can I meet that need instead of just escaping from it?

When our souls are at rest in Christ, our media addiction just might give way to lives and homes reflecting inner peace.

2) A Time Taker

Rarely do I feel I have enough time in a day, but if Jesus was able to effectively love and minister in 24 hours each day, I think it’s safe to say 24 hours is enough for me to manage my little home.

The question is, what am I doing with my time?

Oh, I don’t squander hours gaming or watching television, but if I’m brutally honest, many of the tasks I consistently procrastinate could be squeezed into the moments I spend checking Facebook, following random links, or analyzing blog stats.

My challenge to myself and you today: Let’s keep our phones tucked away and keep our computers closed except for true needs — the responsibilities we may have with a home business, blog, or other practical purposes. Let’s just see how many chores (the ones we “never have time for”) can actually fit into our sneaky little social media time slots.

3) A Joy Stealer

Very seldom do I turn away from Pinterest images with contentment or satisfaction with my decor, organization, or creativity. How about you?

Not only do I have the extra clutter and grime that accumulated during my wasted time, but I now have perfection to which I can compare myself.

The result? I feel like a failure.

In Women Living Well, Courtney Joseph offers a beautiful alternative,

“Don’t worry about what others are doing or their style of homemaking; pursue the Proverbs 31 woman. The Proverbs 31 woman “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (v. 27). Let’s pursue making our homes havens for our families by being organized, consistent and self-disciplined. Let’s aim to not be distracted and distant, but always there for our loved ones with a hug, a smile, a warm meal, clean sheets, and some lines in the rugs from our vacuum. It is one way we can show, without words, our love to our families.”

Reality Check

To be honest, I won’t be able to unplug entirely. That’s just not realistic for most of us.

But I want to remember that more is not better. Busier — whether online or in real life — is not more fulfilling.

I want to limit my subscribing, my scrolling, my filling every crack of the day with others’ pictures and notifications.

I need those cracks of time. My husband, my kids, and my house need them.

I need to be able to sit in the nest God has given me and have some media-free time to really see, to think, feel, discern, and pray… the things that will enable me to truly make a house a home.

Will you join me?

Let’s let the cyberworld go by for a bit without us — choosing to be fully present in the now so that our example, our influence, and our haven-creating skills will impact our families today and for years down the road.

{Have any thoughts to share? How are you balancing media and homemaking, friend?}

Blessings,

Jennifer Ebenhack

 

Jennifer EbenhackJennifer is the author of Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear, and blogs at jenniferebenhack.com. She and her husband Jarod served as missionaries in the country of Haiti, where they became parents to all five of their children, three of whom are adopted. Those eventful years produced a gift of brokenness in Jennifer through which she has discovered the depths of God’s healing grace.

In between loads of laundry, homeschooling, enjoying the South Florida shoreline, and keeping her local Aldi in business, she is writing a memoir of their nine-year adoption process and eight years in Haiti. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and her blog.

 

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37 Comments

  • Andrea

    I desperately needed to read this today. I’ve been struggling in keeping up with my house and it’s all due to being distracted. I got my Facebook back for 3 wks and my house started going downhill again. So I’ve deleted it again. Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Jen

    I’m going to take your challenge today. My apartment is in serious need to some decluttering and my son has a knee injury where he is supposed to sit and rest all day. (He’s 8 so that’s not fun). I spent some fun time with him and got some things done in the apartment but I “just wanted to check” a few things on the computer quite a few times. I did write a time-worthy blog post but other than that I should’ve been off the computer. I’m going to challenge myself to check back online tonight after dinner rather than multiple times during the day. Wish me luck.

    • Guest Contributor

      Ah, good luck, Jen! Praying you have a productive day! And that you don’t see my reply to your comment till later tonight after LOTS of things have been accomplished. 😉 You can do this! And I’m guessing you’ll feel much happier with your day after less media. Okay, now I gotta get off of here to clean up my clutter!

  • Wendy

    I deactivated my Facebook account just last week because I was feeling exactly this way. Thanks for the affirmation that I’m not alone!

  • Barb

    Thanks for sharing these words of encouragement. This is precisely why I quit the responsibilities of a blog. Your challenge to “keep our computers closed except for true needs — the responsibilities we may have with a …blog..” makes me wonder if that is really a true need for many bloggers or if it, in itself, isn’t part of that escapism you caution us against. Why is reading blogs any more escapism necessarily than writing one? (Not that this is the case for all.) I decided it was not a need when compared with the needs of my family. Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate all the encouragement bloggers offer, but I do find myself spending far less time reading posts these days and have definitely tried to de-clutter my inbox of all those messages I don’t bother to read. May God continue to give us all wisdom in our use of media.

    • Jennifer Ebenhack

      Hi Barb! Yes!! You’ve got a great point there! I think blogging, just like anything, needs to be something we are sure the Lord is calling us to at this particular time of our lives. And even the passions of our heart, whether they be blogging, singing, sewing, jogging, etc., must be offered back up to the Lord. If our dreams and callings become our idol or a form of escape, then we haven’t gained anything! It’s all about surrendering to Him daily… dying to ourselves, living for Him! Thanks, Barb!

  • Kitty

    Oh My Yes..There Are Many Types Of Gluttony…Social Media Is Easy To Get Swept Up In. I’mTryingToRememberThatItsGoodInSmallDoses. Sorry Don’tKnowWhyItsAllCapsAndNoSpaces:)

    • Jennifer Ebenhack

      Gluttony — Yes, that’s a really good way to look at it, Kitty! Thanks for that insight. Interesting how we recognize addictions or gluttony in areas that are glaringly bad, but we excuse those that are seemingly innocent. We try so hard to fill our souls with all kinds of junk, but what we really need is Jesus!! (And hey, your caps and no spaces were very entertaining. ;-))

  • Elizabeth

    Wow, this could not have come at a better time. I was just praying this morning asking for forgiveness for my distracted living!
    A few months ago I completely gave up Facebook, and cut down my other social media time (Pinterest, Instagram, and such) and was amazed at what extra time I had for my family and my house….
    That being said, texting has been a tough one for me! I’m am so thankful you posted this and that I’m not alone. Thank you for the encouragement to put the phone away and live!!

    • Jennifer Ebenhack

      Hi Elizabeth! I hope you saw my reply yesterday. I somehow just left a separate comment instead of an actual reply to your comment. It’s just a little lower on the comment stream, FYI. 🙂

  • Jennifer Ebenhack

    Hi Elizabeth! I’m so glad this could encourage you today! Sounds like you’re already doing a great job of being aware of this. And that’s a big part of it. It’s so easy to just go with the flow of our generation and live distractedly without giving it a second thought. May the Lord continue to open your eyes and mine as to how to be present in real life and give our families the love and attention they need!

  • Cindy Howe

    Ok ok I get it! Lol. I’m so guilty and is been in My mind a lot.I know exactly what im trying to escape, the overwhelming job of being a mother. I need to reevaluate my priorities. I’m not being a very good mom lately.

    • Jennifer Ebenhack

      Yeah, Cindy, my mind kind of went there too… of COURSE we’re trying to escape the overwhelming stuff!! 🙂 But I continue to be reminded by the Lord that only HE can refresh our spirits; social media is never going to be able to do that!

      Don’t be discouraged by “not being a very good mom lately.” Christ’s mercies are new every morning. He gives you a fresh start each day. 🙂

  • Edward

    My wife shared this link with me, admitting that she is totally guilty. I am so grateful for this article you shared. I have been struggling to try to get my wife out of this media-addiction, and have very little success.

    In fact, I have had an idea that I want to implement through my own very inactive and dormant blog, but I think it might not be a bad idea for you to try out, since you seem to be much more successful in blogging. My idea is to create a simple graphic with a quote and/or a challenge every day (or every other day) and share it on facebook. The graphic should tell whoever sees it that “If you see this now, please put your device away, or turn off your computer monitor, walk away, and do ….”

    The thing to be can be “read a book to your child”, “put the laundry away”, “meal planning”, “play with your kids for 10 minutes”, “read a chapter in the scriptures”. The list can go on and on.

    So many people are deeply hypnotize by social media and they have almost lost the ability to think when you challenge them to do something else, instead of staying online. They might like your idea, but they simply can’t think of anything better to do.

    I am a guy, so I am not sure how much my idea can resonate with many women. I just hope that more people’s lives can be well spent. I’d like to conclude my comment with a quote by T.S. Elliot: “Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

  • Jamie

    I am terrible about this. I realized that I usually do it for adult interaction. Seeing and “liking” what other grown ups are doing makes me feel llike I am interacting with them a bit. I don’t know any SAHMs to make play dates with during the day and as our kids are getting older my working mom friends seem very busy in the evenings, so getting some true adult interaction is difficult at this season. My sister sent me a link for a bible study group she participates in and has encouraged I join for spiritual and social reasons.

  • Sarah McDonald

    This ones for me today! God has been seriously pressing on my heart to see my media addiction for what it is. And praise God, here is the wonderfully written truth I needed to hear! I am SO distracted by social media, much more than I would ever like to admit. I love your challenge to ask Jesus what I am escaping. Funny, I’m wanting to escape the mess that’s been created while I waste time on my phone. How ironic. We must look pretty sad to God watching us abuse our time all day and then complain about the house being messy or kids acting up!! Well this has just been a total revelation for me, thank you Sister!! I’m off to clean up downstairs and get things done for my garage sale on Saturday. God willing I will be ready by then!! Thank you so much for writing this, God bless!!!

    • Jennifer Ebenhack

      Hi Sarah! Well, I’ll say one thing for you… you sound incredibly teachable. 🙂 And what more does the Lord want from us than a spirit ready to hear from Him and follow His leading?! Praying that you find freedom and joy as you tear yourself away from media and focus on Christ and your family! 🙂

  • Anime e Manga Forum

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with
    the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  • Jude

    Such a timely post, thanks for sharing. Social media has drowned the important things in my life like homeschool planning, reading and blogging. Must be more intentional in keeping social media off for a while or permanently 🙂

  • Christine

    “Ask Jesus… ask a trusted friend… What am I really escaping?

    And when you know, ask the next question… How can I meet that need instead of just escaping from it?

    When our souls are at rest in Christ, our media addiction just might give way to lives and homes reflecting inner peace.”

    You really hit the nail on the head for me. I deactivated my Facebook account two weeks ago and that has been such a blessing. But I do find myself still visiting pinterest. Now I am challenged to meet the need and rest in Christ instead of escaping. (I will keep pinterest as I use it to save homeschooling and homemaking ideas.) Texting can be a big distraction for me, too. Thanks for encouraging me!

  • sarah

    I deactivated my Facebook account 2 years ago, best thing I ever did. It took months and months of nagging conviction before I finally let go. For me it wasn’t just a time issue, but a heart issue. I was becoming more judgmental, gossipy, and proud. All bad things. I would feel good about myself when my life was better then others, and worse when there’s sounded better. I wasted so many hours that were meaningless, all so I could supposedly stay in touch with friends. The only true friendships withstood the transition, and we had even more meaningful conversations. I have been off pintrest for about 6 months because I would waste so much time. But even still I have to fight spending too much time on the internet, checking emails, blogs, homeschooling resources, you tube, etc. I am certain that it is destructive to my relationship with God. I know that I use it to prevent myself from being lonely, especially when my husband is gone for his 2 weeks at work. Time that I should be spending with God, and learning to reply on Him to be with me. This has convinced and convicted me, I have been wanting to do an internet and tv fast, and I think its time. I’m going to get all my homeschooling planning finshed this week, then the next 2 weeks my husband is gone do a complete fast. I know its something Gods been wanting from me, no more excuses. Thank you for this post.

  • Jennifer Ebenhack

    Hi Sarah! I’m praying that your media fast is a great blessing! What an encouragement and challenge to the rest of us too. Thanks for being sensitive to the Lord’s leading and being courageous enough to face the issue head-on. I know God will use and bless your desire to use your time for His glory!

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