Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Being Offline has Worked for Me

Works for me Wednesday is usually a time to share household tips, tricks-of-the parenting trade, or methods of increasing your blog traffic.

I've shared some good stuff with y'all in the past, like setting up the coffee maker ahead of time, my homemade personal planner, and preschool ideas.

I don't have any tips for you today.

None.

I will tell you what has been working for me, though -- staying off of the computer!

It started out as a Lenten sacrifice -- an embarrassingly difficult sacrifice for me. The first few days were brutal. My eyes would drift to the screen as I walked past; my fingers would graze the keyboard. When the computer was on for necessary tasks, I would find myself reading email and blogs before I even noticed the transition.

These slip-ups offered a great opportunity for prayer and reflection. Why was I online anyway? What did I gain online, and what were the corresponding costs? Over time, I found myself enjoying this break from the internet. It was calming, relaxing, and even FREEING. There was no longer an obligation to read through every post, no feeling of inadequacy that I wasn't doing enough. I also found myself being more attentive to the children's needs. There was more time for the here-and-now.

On Easter Monday (Dingus Day for all of you back in South Bend), I went right back to the computer with glee. I read the paper; I checked every blog.

Then, the next day, I heard a crash from behind me as I read "just one more" email. One of the children had knocked over a tray of tomato seedlings while I was distracted by the computer.

That was enough for me; I resolved to be more responsible in my computer usage. I am still struggling to find my exact limits, but for now I have started by abandoning Twitter, reducing blogging, and marking all blogs as "read" before I turn off the machine at night. I feel no obligation to visit every blog every day, or to post the minute details of our every day.

I am enjoying some time online, but nothing like I used to. The cost, however, has been the companionship that I had been getting online from other stay-at-home moms. I will try to build some time into each day for correspondence, because it is important to stay in touch.

Has anyone found a balance that really works for them?

10 comments:

Val, Mike and Brax said...

LOVED YOUR POST. i too am addicted to blogging/email/facebook etc, and i am trying to find that happy medium. i tell myself i'm going to just check one thing, and before i know it i have spent the entire evening after my son goes to be online while my poor husband sits alone it the living room. what am i doing?!!! you have inspired me... thanks!

Val, Mike and Brax said...

i meant after my son goes to bed...

Kaycee said...

Yeah this is a tough one. I don't do the twitter thing anymore, I only read blogs during down time at work and don't get on the computer at all after 8pm.

With my own blog I try to keep my posts short and give myself a 20 minute time limit. I figure if I can't write it in 20 minutes, no one wants to read it.

reprehriestless warillever said...

@Kaycee:

Setting a time limit is a great idea. Of course, knowing my perfectionism, I would need to set two timers -- one to stop writing, and a second to stop editing :)

reprehriestless warillever said...

@Val:

I know that feeling! That is the exact same time that I have had trouble with. My blessed husband puts the children to bed every night. In the past I have spent that time reading blogs; I have just started exercising during that. It is a doubly effective change of habit!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Amen!

:)

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Amen!

:)

Amy Ellen said...

Visiting from WFMW... great thoughts here. I am considering how to structure my online time to be most efficient and to leave enough margin in my day for the children's unforseeable needs.

Amy Ellen at HealthBeginsWithMom.com

wherelifebecomesart said...

I struggle with this ALL the time. I found getting my computer out from the main living area has helped a lot, but I'm still on it too much.

Kate in NJ said...

I am glad you have enjoyed your off line time, but seriously,
have you thought about ME at all?
lol I am all for finding balance,
but don't just drop blogging.;-)