As a “work from home” mom, I tend to be on my phone or computer often. Whether I’m checking my email, uploading new content to my website, or using Instagram during my workouts, I’m glued to that glowing screen and not as present as I should be.
A few years back, I was introduced to Behind The Mask––a Pure Desire workbook, used in a recovery group, that is geared toward young women ages 14 to 25 years old. (I was 26 years old at the time.) This workbook focuses on working through past trauma and learning how to live an authentic life—seeing what’s “behind your mask” and why we wear the masks we do.
Originally, I didn’t think I needed such a workbook or a recovery group, but as I began working through the material, I was confronted with my past. Through this process, I was able to come to terms with being molested and taken advantage of: something I had denied for more than 20 years.
I was able to identify the root of my acting out behaviors, recognizing the hold my alcohol and love addictions had on my life. Even though I was clean and sober, I had many other behaviors, that some would call “Christian addictions.” You know what I’m talking about––the things we do that help us cope when life feels stressful. Drinking too much coffee, checking Facebook every time you receive a notification, having that glass (or two) of wine every night...you get the idea.
Have you ever been scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, looking at other peoples profiles, wishing you could have their life? Or maybe you’ve looked up an ex-friend just to “see what they’re up to” and find yourself feeling angry and drained, yet still sucked in and can’t stop scrolling? Why is this?
As a mom, I have discovered that we often put our children, spouse, and our home before ourselves. It’s easy to forget about taking time out to recharge. I have also learned that, we as humans, are most vulnerable when we are tired.
When we finally get the kids to bed, the last bit of books and toys put away, grab our phones, maybe a glass of wine, and sit down in front of the TV, what is feeding our soul? What is influencing us during our most vulnerable state? Social media, wine, Netflix? Many of these things aren’t necessarily “bad,” but how we use them and lean on them can be unhealthy. These behaviors can easily become addictions and can control not only how we use our time, but also how we feel about ourselves.
What helped me have a healthier relationship with coffee, Netflix, and social media was to look at why I was drawn to them in the first place. For years, I had used alcohol and masturbation as a way of coping. It hurt my relationships and was ruining my body. Going through a recovery group helped me find my sobriety with these and other things. I now know that it is healthier for me personally not to drink or masturbate at all.
As I mentioned, I am a “work from home” mom. Most of my work is online and I use social media everyday. There was a period of my life where I used my job as an excuse to constantly use my phone. But in reality, I had become sucked in and would reach for my phone when ever I felt stressed and need to “check out.” I would scroll on Instagram or play a game on my phone for hours. Losing track of time, I would be completely zoned out, enjoying my safe little bubble that helped me numb the stressful feelings of my day.
Now, in order to be present in all areas of my life, I’ve given myself a schedule. During certain times of the day, I allow myself to be on my phone. If I’m feeling stressed, I make sure my phone stays out of my hands and I find a healthier way to work through whatever might be bothering me. This may include things like praying, reaching out to the women in my Pure Desire Group, filling out a FASTER Scale, and talking to my husband. All of which help me face the issue and work through it, rather than numb out and return to unhealthy coping behaviors.
My encouragement to you: evaluate the different things you do to cope with the stresses in your life. Do you feel recharged afterward or are they just a quick-fix to mask the pain?
I also highly recommend using the FASTER Scale. This tool allowed me to step outside of my own box and look inward. If I’m having a bad week, I’m able to see why everything seems to be going down hill. Patterns in my behaviors, began to surface. The more often I used the FASTER Scale, the easier it became to identify where my issues were coming from.
As I have continued to use this tool, I can now comfortably share my FASTER Scale with my spouse. We have such fruitful conversations; not only involving the FASTER Scale but life in general—discussing things we never thought to talk about and the things we intentionally avoided talking about. Now that we can talk openly and honestly about anything, we have reached a new level of intimacy.
I still struggle with my unhealthy habits, but they no longer have a hold on my life. Everyday is a new day, a chance to do things better. God gives me the strength to continue and guides me as I work to be the best mom I can be.
One day, if asked to describe their mom, I pray that my children can confidently say, “She is patient, authentic, and present.” What three words do you hope to hear your children use to describe you?
Sarah is a Regional Group Leader (Online Groups) for Pure Desire. She is a "work-from-home" mom who creates and distributes content weekly. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and desires to help others feel confident about who they are in Christ.