By Erin Odom

I finally did it. I pulled the plug on Facebook.

Well, sort of. Recently, I deactivated my personal profile and made a “secret” profile from which I will operate my blog page. And I won’t be accepting any friend requests there.

So what propelled this self-proclaimed, outgoing stay-at-home mom to remove herself from what is often her only means of communication with the outside world?

Lately, I’ve felt pulled in a million directions.

I have my church life. I have MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I have Lake Norman Mommies. I have writing, on my blog and in this newspaper.

And I had Facebook, with its endless rabbit hole traps and constant stream of messages.

I have my home life, which should be my number-one priority. If my husband and three girls aren’t getting my full and undivided attention, then something’s got to give.

My girls – my bubbly 4-year-old, my ever-cuddly 2-year-old and my cooing newborn – look up at me with bright blue and deep chocolate brown eyes and shiny red hair … and all they want and need is their mama to be loving, patient and present.

And when Mama feels pulled in a million directions, she misses things … important things … things that wouldn’t be missed if she weren’t so scattered.

Missing my little girl’s preschool parent-teacher conference when I was keeping a friends’ kids so she could vote? That was the last straw. The conference had completely slipped my mind.

So I decided that something had to go. It had to be a time waster, so it was Facebook.

Now don’t think that I’m saying Facebook is this horrible, sinful thing in which no one should participate. I deactivated instead of deleting my profile, because I plan on returning. It may be tomorrow; it may be next week; it may be next month. Who knows? All I knew is that I felt pulled, and I needed to give up something.

The next day, reality started to sink in and my presumed addiction to the social media outlet became apparent. Like an alcoholic reaching for a glass of wine that isn’t there, I reached for my phone, checked my emails and then slid my finger across to the Facebook icon.

But it wasn’t there.

And then, the reality of what I had done began to dawn on me.

More than 800 friends must think I’ve deleted them! The people pleaser inside – the Erin who wants to hurt no one’s feelings – started to squirm.

A few friends contacted my husband to find out where I was, and he posted a status about my social media hiatus.

A few days later, I realized that my birthday was coming up. Oh no! My birthday without Facebook? Without the hundreds of “Happy Birthday” timeline messages that long ago replaced birthday cards, phone calls and even texts?

Would anyone even know it was my birthday without Facebook to remind them? (I’m not sure I’d remember without it myself.)

I started squirming again. Should I reactivate now? Or perhaps just on my birthday?

Then it hit me: This was the perfect time to deactivate.

Those who really mattered got in touch with me on my birthday – even without Facebook.

Our lives center around a virtual world when there are real, living, breathing neighbors who never see us. So, for now, I’m focusing on my real-life friends – the ones whom I’ve neglected to keep up with my fellow Facebook addicts (many of whom are lonely stay-at-home moms).

Since I’ve deactivated, I’ve made Thanksgiving crafts with my girls, invited my doula over for a visit and had a pumpkin chai at Hebrews Coffee Shop face-to-face with a friend.

And though I plan on coming back to Facebook one day, I pray I’m not the same as I was before I clicked the deactivate button last week.

Giving birth to her second child in October 2010 inspired Erin Odom to become a better mom. She blogs at www.thehumbledhomemaker.com.
Spend time with the family

Last week, Mooresville Weekly published a list of ways to celebrate the holidays around Lake Norman. Since then, we’ve continued to collect events from Mooresville, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver, Huntersville, Troutman and surrounding areas. Our list has more than 50 events, including visits from Santa, theatrical performances, historical re-enactments of holidays past and opportunities to make Christmas-themed crafts. Go to MooresvilleWeekly.com to see our chronological listing or check out our online and print calendars.