I took a break

Right before Easter, during the Lenten season, I attempted to take a break from all electronics...more specifically from email and other internet related time wasters. I also imposed said break on my kids, and would have asked Marvin to participate except for the fact that he actually hates using the computer at all because he has to so often at work.

During the first week it was a little challenging. I was teaching a class to our local homeschool co-op at the time and I was trying to figure out how to limit my email access to only one day a week but still be able to adequately communicate with my students.  I ended up checking email only the day before my class, or checking once a day on my Kindle (which is small and makes it VERY inconvenient to send any reply emails).

I think it was about day three or four, when Marvin came home from work, raised his eyebrows and remarked how exceptionally clean and tidy the house looked.  The next week, he began to get a bit nervous as he saw bag after bag of stuff head out the door to be donated! At the end of that week, it hit me...

I was completely addicted to using the computer.

I remembered how vague and disconnected I had felt during the day from the kids, and how frantic I felt around 5:00 when I realized that my hours of the day had vanished and I couldn't be accountable for any of them. I had this sense of restlessness and hurry in the back of my mind to get accomplished normal daily tasks in what I felt to be not enough time.

I really and truly thought homeschooling was the culprit! How many times had I said to a friend, "Oh yes, I've given up on having a clean house, but at least we are eating healthy food and my kids will be well educated!"
And how silly I felt looking back on that, realizing that I had given my time over to a vacuum of useless internet searches and email rabbit trails.

At the end of the 40 day hiatus, I was extremely reluctant to end it! Sadly, I gave in to what is socially acceptable, and re-opened my email account. I had become so accustomed by then to redirecting my hourly thought of "must check email" to a thought of "no, no email, kids and house instead" that checking email felt foreign and strange.

Now, months later, I'm still unsure how this should look...me+the computer+my REAL life...what is too much? What is the bare minimum? Should I unsuscribe to all newsletters so I don't have as much email?

I have cut back on quite a bit, no longer going down rabbit trails, blog hopping, using Faceb*ok, or Twit*er...but I still do need to use email, and I still to quite a bit of research online. It's hard to find a balance with something that is so necessary, but at the same time not really!

I think the real issue for me is just simply getting distracted. I find myself doing something that I totally didn't intend to do and wondering how I got there! on a daily basis! Somehow I think that's no more than natural for a homeschooling momma of little ones...

2 readers took time to leave a thought:

Michelle Jamie September 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM  

I 1000 000% get this, I actually just did it with FB and find that it did exactly the same for me. I also blamed homeschool. Now I find that every spare moment FB has been replaced with any sort of PC connection. I almost feel like I'm at a PC's annomous meeting saying, "Hi, My name is Michelle and I'm a PC-aholic" :)

12arrows September 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM  

I have always been so nervous to allow to much computer in my life! I have always limited myself to 30 minutes a day. I usually don't even do that many minutes a day! (If it is to make copies for homeschooling, that is seperate!) Also, before I get on the computer for schooling, usually on sunday evenings AFTER the kids are in bed, I make a list on paper just as I do when I go to the store, of the things I need to search. It keeps me honest and on track so I don't veer off to the entertainment side if you know what I mean! :) It really is about habit! I also notice my older children making their own choices about how long they will be on and I do not let any of my kids have fb until they are 18 and even then, I get their passwords and check in often!! If they want to, they can use mine with me sitting right there! I actually am considering deleting that also only because I am getting nervous about privacy issues! But that is a WHOLE new subject! I appreciate so much Shelly, your obedience and honesty! It is so refreshing and you teach me so much!

Blessings to you my friend and thank you!

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