I’m awful at building community my own home.
There. I said it.
I love offering it online, encouraging women to connect, responding to tweets, Facebook messages, answering questions about community and teaching others what I know.
But it comes at a cost. One that I hadn’t counted until recently.
My daughter and my husband get my “community” left overs. They get the distracted mommy who spends hours of the day getting a thousand women connected online. They get the inattentive wife who will pick up her phone to answer a text before she’ll look her husband in the eye and pay attention to how his day went, or how his favorite team did in last night’s game.
My little girl is at the age now where she can tell me when I’m ignoring her, pushing my phone out of my hands and saying “no “hello” mommy. play with me.”
It breaks my heart.
So I’ve been praying about it, because I love what I do online. I love how God has brought me to this place and I firmly believe that He is calling me to serve Him in this space. So I won’t give it up. But I’ll put boundaries on it.
I’m limiting the time I spend on social media in the evenings and on weekends, especially during the hours my daughter is home, awake, playing, etc. I’m waking early to do some things that need to get done so that I can have extra time to snuggle with her – and not be attached to my computer. I’m putting the phone away and not picking it up until after dinner and bath time and bed time are finished.
I know it’s not going to be perfect. I know I’ll still be distracted, and there will be seasons of community chaos that will take more of my time. But I want my little girl to remember me for playing with her, not for being on my phone. I want my husband to know that I care more about him than the latest email that just came through my inbox.
It’s not worth losing precious time with my family to build community for others. So I pray for balance, for grace when emails or tweets go unanswered. For peace when I have to say “no” to a request because it’s not what’s best for my family. I want my home to be a place where my family can feel safe to be themselves, to know they are loved, valued, and cherished. That they all take priority over my jobs, that I’ll stop what I’m doing to look into their eyes, to wrestle and giggle and run in the rain and make memories.
I don’t think I can continue to be a successful visionary, community builder, encourager, writer, or live out any of the other callings God puts on my life if I don’t first take care of the community that means the most to my heart. So we’ll try boundaries. And pray for grace.