Once upon a time, in a season of self doubt and struggle, I was feeling overburdened with homeschool FOMO (fear of missing out). Comparison was hurting my pride.
I needed to remember that there is a simple solution to my Instagram Envy and internet overwhelm: unplug.
Super simple, but a reminder I need from time to time. I unplugged and within a few days I could feel the knots untangling and my confidence returning.
Maybe you need to hear it, too? Are you feeling like your homeschool doesn’t measure up to the picture perfect images we are bombarded with? Are you doubting your abilities?
Or perhaps your doubt isn’t homeschool related. Is there is something else troubling you and giving you pause about your own worth and abilities?
Before you quit (homeschool, baking, photography, writing, painting, whatever it is), try this:
No Facebook group.
No email newsletters.
None of it.
Those things can be lovely and inspirational and informative. Networking, learning from each other, being genuine fans and appreciating each other in this wonderful, wide internet can be a very positive thing.
I know this. I live this. I love this! (well, most of the time)
The last thing I personally want to be to any of my audience is a source of discouragement. In fact, that is the opposite of why I am putting myself and our homeschool out here.
I’m here because I want to inspire, to encourage, and to show that if messy, imperfect me and my messy, imperfect family can do this then you and your family can, too.
I sure do like a pretty picture. A well composed blog post is my pride. I’m selective about what I put on my social media. I love playing with filters and light and color.
Advances in technology let many of us amateurs play around with professional looking results. Looks can be deceiving.
Quiet the electronic hum
I’m a social media creator but I’m also a consumer.
And as a consumer I speak from experience when I say that the moment those pins and images and essays and memes and resource lists start becoming the impossible ruler you measure yourself up against – you vs. the entire internet – the moment you start comparing yourself to that booming collective voice … unplug.
Disconnect from the outside influence, judgement, and comments.
Quiet that electronic hum, mute those groups, unfollow folks that make you feel less than.
Close the curtain on the virtual window, stop taking in all the visuals of other people’s work and lives … and give yourself time alone with your craft, your skill, your family’s homeschool.
Take that time for just you and your writing. Your painting. Your THING. Let yourself and your kids simmer in those things. Take a true break.
Shut everything out and measure yourself against … yourself.
And then see how you feel afterward.
Right now you want to quit.
And maybe you should. There might be some legitimacy to that feeling you have.
But ask yourself, be honest, WHY do you want to quit? WHAT is telling you to stop?
Once upon a time you loved this.
Once upon a time it was a perfect fit.
Perhaps that has changed.
Or, perhaps what has changed is that you’re spending too much time watching and viewing and not enough time actually enjoying and doing.
Or you’re doing, but you feel like the entire world is looking over your shoulder, judging and trolling. Don’t forget you’ve got some control there. You can turn it off.
Apples and oranges
I think we also need to be careful not to compare our oranges to someone else’s apples: don’t compare someone else’s photography talent with your ability to homeschool in real life. These are two different things. Yes, a person can be great at both, but it’s not fair or accurate to judge those separate skill sets against each other.
For example, my husband is a fantastic cook. I’ve been happily eating meals he makes for almost half of my life. However, a food photographer he is not. He just isn’t very skilled at capturing the beauty and deliciousness of the plates of food he makes. It wouldn’t be fair, or accurate, to call him a poor cook based on his photography skills.
Don’t measure your success this way, friends. It isn’t accurate.
Everyone else isn’t doing it all. I promise.
Unplug. Step back. Focus just on creating and learning. The internet will still be there when you’re ready to come back.
In the meantime:
Because I have a hunch that maybe part of what is going on here is just good old self doubt. And self doubt is really hard to be rational about when you’re faced with dozens and dozens of images and words and messages of EVERYONE DOING EVERYTHING.
And you know everyone isn’t doing everything, right?
It just looks that way because the internet is one big collective voice highlight reel.
Maybe you’ll still need to quit, to let this particular chapter of life go. That’s okay. You know your life and your family better than anyone else. And in the internet free quiet you’ll be able to hear your inner voice better when and if you make changes.
You’ll be able to make the decision from a clear, comparison free place.
Maybe once you’ve cleared out some of that digital clutter, what you’ll find in those free spaces is exactly what you need to keep going.
If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s newly released book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.