Over the course of this wonderful summer I took a break from sewing and from social media.
The former was enforced as I was out of the country for a lot of it and therefore separated from my sewing machine. I'd been on a bit of a sewing bender in the Spring, which I thoroughly enjoyed, made some fab garments which may or may not make it to these pages, but was a bit all consuming and not conducive to any type of organisation in the rest of my life. I needed to take a break.
And the latter just kind of happened.
But I think there was a bit more behind it than that. I made a conscious decision to be fully focused on my children. Of course as a stay at home mum (in part thanks to the epic amount of time it is taking for my green card to be processed - approaching 3 years now), they are pretty much my every focus anyway, but being with them for 11 weeks solidly with no school, and only a little bit of camp, I saw as an opportunity. I think it stemmed from a slightly naff but thought provoking meme I saw that said, "You only have your kids for 18 summers. Make them count."
I usually ignore all such 'inspirational' messages but I couldn't get that one out of my head. And I think for the first time this summer my kids are at an age - 7 and 5 - where we could really be free to explore and experience things together. No naps, generally few tantrums and a lot of curiosity and fun-seeking makes for excellent summer companions - albeit utterly exhausting.
So somewhere along the line I just stopped looking at my phone. I literally used it to take photos and message friends and family to organise whatever visit / excursion we were planning. Didn't even check my email ... yeah well maybe shoulda done that.
In fact when I did go to look at Instagram I'd scroll through the first few posts and feel either totally overwhelmed by inadequacy or just 'meh'. Mostly the former. And I realised that whilst I often find the posts I see and accounts I follow (almost entirely sewing or independent fashion related) inspirational and motivating, it also often has the opposite effect of making me just want to give up on everything.
One of the reasons I started a blog and my Instagram account (I don't tweet and am desperate to give up on Facebook but I live so far away from so many of my friends and family that I feel that it would be cutting a lifeline, oh and Snapchat - what?) was to build myself a community that I didn't have when I first moved to the States, didn't know a soul and was very much in the somewhat isolating throes of baby and toddlerhood.
And what a community I found. I am so grateful and happy to be part of it and I love how the relationships and the accounts and blogs I read have evolved over the last few years.
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, and I'm not really saying anything that hasn't been uttered by many people. And I suppose like everything in life, balance is the key, but it was so freeing to step away and not feel drawn to my phone at every opportunity.
As the kids go back to school (my baby just started Kindergarten, sob ...) and I spend more time by myself, I think I need to remember to use my phone and social media consciously and limitedly (if we can make that a word for these purposes) and not as a crutch to fill time.
Lift my head up and soak in the freedom I have.