You are out with your family having a great time. You are playing at the park, swimming at the pool, or having a picnic. Something happens and immediately, you tell your husband,(who is the one with the fancy schmancy phone that allows you to do fun things) "Give me your phone so I can tweet this!". He does, you tweet it, and then get sucked into the lives of all your friends...and miss parts of yours.
After said event (or anytime you are out of the house) you get home get people settled (or if you are being totally honest, rely on your husband to get them settled) and you sit down to nurse the baby and check email. Although checking email quickly turns into reading Twitter feed, updating Facebook status, reading blogs and before you know it an hour has passed.
The kids are getting restless. There is fighting, you are stressed and don't want to deal with anything anymore. You walk over to the computer desk sit down and escape.
Sound familiar? It does to me.
My life was becoming fuzzy around the edges. I was feeling bad about myself, about my life, about...everything. I was worried if people weren't responding to me on Twitter. I was worried about the responses I was getting on Facebook. I was looking at my numbers far too frequently, and playing with my children far too little.
My kids were competing for my attention with my iPod and the computer. The baby was starting to cry when he saw me headed to the computer.
I knew something had to change, and quickly. No baby should be afraid of the computer!
For the last 2 days, I have been offline.
This wasn't easy. First, there were the logistics of it. With my new job, I had to research and write my posts for the next 2 days.
Also, I had to anticipate anything I might need online (hello maps!) and try to get it taken care of before I shut down.
Tuesday morning dawned and I didn't sit down at the computer. I got the kids off to school and when I would normally let Libby watch Sesame Street and I would catch up on what happened in the night online, I didn't.
I ate breakfast with my daughter. I played "family" with her. We read books, played Strawberry Shortcake, snuggled and giggled together. When the baby woke up, we went up together and played with him, changed his diaper, got him dressed and played some more.
My sister-in-law and her little girls are here visiting with us, so we were able to spend a great day together. I turned off the computer and tuned in to my little ones.
When the kids were tired and ready to rest, it was hard for me not to sit down and check my email. Instead, I sat and talked to my sister-in-law. I read an article in a magazine. I exercised different parts of my brain. OH! And I folded some laundry and did a few dishes.
When I got the big kids from school, I told my son what I was doing. He was SO excited. This is the boy who has always been able to articulate his feelings well. So there have been several times when he has asked me to stop being on the computer so much. During the Summer, he and I had a deal that I would only be on the computer when the kids were eating breakfast and lunch. This worked well...when I did it.
You see, this is my escape. This is where I hide when things get too overwhelming in my life. This is where I run to when I don't want to deal with whatever is going on in my world. I know this. I have talked to many a therapist about this at length. It is something I am cognizant of and something I work hard at changing.
This isn't the first time I have stepped away from the computer. I have done it when we have gone on vacations and I haven't had access to the internet. But, it is the first time I have done it when my computer was sitting right there on my desk beckoning me to "come, take a load off and let your mind wander..."
I didn't do it though. It is Wednesday night now, and all the kids (except the baby who is being stinker right now) are in bed.
It was hard. I found that my fingers got itchy to tell you all about the cute things my kids said or did. I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I wanted to ask Dr. Twitter about my 4 month old's insane amount of spit up. And if I said that I didn't want to tell you all how cute it was when, right after Libby threw up, she said, "Your yelling made me sick"...well, that would just not be true.
It was hard. But it was WORTH IT. The time I had with my family, is time I treasure. And this will not be the last time I go silent.
I don't have it in me to go silent for weeks or months. I like to talk too much. Writing is my therapy and I have many real and virtual friends in this space. To say I would walk away for an extended amount of time would be unrealisitic.
However, I have been inspired by this time, to take 1 day a week and sign off. This will be Sundays. Sunday is our family day. We don't have friends over to play, we don't watch TV or movies, so it makes sense that Mama doesn't get online.
I am going to play more board games, have more tickle fights, read more books, and be more present. My kids deserve it and so do I.
Are you inspired by my unplugging? If so, I want to urge you to take a day or two (or more if you're really brave) and turn off your computer. I would love to know how it works for you!
This post is part of the Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion
Campaign. I am lucky enough to be blogging for Hallmark the rest of
this year about different topics. This month's theme is inspiration, and I hope to inspire one (or more) of you to unplug from your online world and plug into your real one!
Be sure to head over to Hallmark's site and sign up for their newsletters. Who knows, I might even pop up in one of the newsletters! Also, at the bottom of the page, you can see all the Hallmark Bloggers and read what everyone has to say. It is truly inspiring reading!
While I am compensated to write this post, as always the words are all mine and can not be bought.