As far as the social issues of our era go, I’m pretty sure at this point that the integration (or lack thereof) of social media and family life is one of the hottest topics around.
Raising little ones in a time of screens, screen names, and unrealistic highlight reels is difficult enough. Whether you choose to submit to it within your daily life, limit it, or forgo it all together, it could be argued that its constant presence has changed the way we all interact with one another, well, forever.
So what happens when social media becomes a prevalent part of a parent’s working life, specifically as a relied upon source of income? Well, that’s what my lot is finding out at the moment.
I’ve been the proud (and rather sleep deprived) owner of a small online business for several years now, excitedly growing year over year and expanding to several social media platforms within that time span, each of which have allowed me to grow my earning potential and our monthly paycheck too. This all sounds like a trajectory that could do nothing but benefit a small family with big financial goals (hello debt freedom right on the horizon!), but like most things in life, I’m finding that it comes with a hidden cost.
Substantial growth on any social media platform takes substantial work, and more time than I could ever have imagined. We don’t have tablets in our home that the kids play on (though we do like a good TV binge if I’m honest), but that doesn’t mean that screen time isn’t an issue for us.
Regrettably the disconnection and the screen related distractions come from me.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ashamed of this fact, but I also don’t really know how to change this situation to meet all of the needs that are pulling me in so many directions. I know that family time and my kids’ needs come way before anything that could ever demand my attention on a phone, tablet, or laptop. In the same breath though, I want so badly to continue growing my business for both the benefit to my family and our financial goals, as well as for my own personal well-being.
I flailed for a while when motherhood first descended on me, wondering who I was now and how I was going to continue to feel purposeful outside of diaper changes and breastfeeding. It took a year, but I found something that made me feel like I was still contributing not only to my own family unit, but also to a community outside of myself, and my mental health began to flourish again. I don’t want to give that up, but I battle with the notion that those thoughts are just a different version of selfishness. Another potential stumble on the path of motherhood that I’m wandering along.
So how do I marry a career that is focused online, is essentially non-stop, and that grows in accordance to how much of myself I actually pour into it on a daily basis, with…life? I haven’t got a clue. Rules are in place already; late evenings are reduced in terms of workload, vacations are all but untouchable (we all have to switch off at some point, right?), but the in-between is still in negotiations.
I want my kids to think back when they are older and remember me as a mother who was driven, had grit and tenacity, and fed into them a work ethic that would one day encourage their own entrepreneurial endeavors (whether career related or not). I hope they think of me that way instead of just recalling a woman who carried her phone everywhere she went, usually had to be asked questions more than once before she answered, and took an obnoxiously long time to make a sandwich.