Electronic Distraction


I co-sleep with my MacBook.  You think I’m kidding? I dream in status updates and podcasts.

In so many ways, my laptop is a total blessing. I got it before my senior year of college, and I was able to be a good mom and a good student because of it.  It fit perfectly in my diaper bag, so I could take the kids to the park and work on a paper while they played. I rode the bus to school and could keep up with my writing during the hour-long trip. I was able to record my professors while taking notes that would synch up with the recording to catch any tidbit I missed.

When I was confined to bed rest during my last pregnancy, I was able to keep family and friends instantly updated via Twitter and Facebook on my latest prayer requests, praise reports, and cries to come take my kids out of the house!  When my husband woke up in the middle of the night with a killer headache, my computer was literally right next to my bed for me to look up his symptoms and diagnose meningitis before we called the ER (and yes, that is a blessing, because I’m usually a “go back to bed” kind of nurse).

Since we’ve moved out to the desert, my laptop has been my lifeline to friends and family: a way to stay connected with the people I love and who care about my family and I.  It is also where I go to write, and contains pages of my musings, imaginings, and creativity. I use my iCal to alert me of my weekly chores, so it cheerfully pops up at 9am Saturday morning to remind me that it’s time to scrub the shower.

However, my computer is also the biggest waster of my time.  First thing in the morning, I pop open my computer and see who’s sent me email, who’s baby slept through the night, what drama I may have missed while my eyes were closed.  TweetDeck notifies me when anyone posts to Twitter or Facebook, and I find myself clicking, commenting and connecting with people for whom I really do care, but honestly don’t have the time.  My husband makes fun of my daily, sometimes hourly, status updates. A few minutes here and there turns into a few hours by the end of the day.

I may have sat down intending to “just check” something, but invariably, I spend more time in front of the screen than is good for my family. I have children to teach, a home to run, finances to manage and, oh yeah, a husband to adore.  So while I love the blessings and convenience my laptop gives me, I know that I am totally out of balance with the amount of time I spend “connecting” with my friends.

In 1 Timothy 5:13-14, Paul writes to Timothy concerning young women:

“…they learn to be idle, going about to people’s houses; and not only idle, but also full of words and curiosity, speaking things not becoming.  Therefore, I will that younger women be married, and bring forth children, and be housewives, to give no occasion to the adversary for reproach”.

I’ve got the second half of this passage down: I got married at 20, I have 3 kids, I’m learning how to be an effective housewife, and I’m sure I don’t give Satan a chance to pick on me.  But the first half? Well, I need to work on that.  Although I’m not physically going over to my girlfriends homes a lot, I do spend a lot of time checking in on their lives, chatting with them on their latest news or blog or video post. It isn’t that I am “speaking of things not becoming”, but I’m not using my time wisely.  If I’m going to do a great job being a wife, mother and housekeeper, I’m going to have to cut back on my Facebook time. That’s all there is to it!

I’m not sure how that’s going to work out exactly in my life.  I was talking to Mary on the phone the other day and she says that she gives her self pretty strict time limits for social networking, like when homeschooling is finished for the day or when the kids are in bed.  I know of some YA authors who “go dark” on the weekends: no Twitter/Email/Facebook on the computer, just writing.

How are YOU doing at balancing computer time between idle fun and practical application? Have you set limits for yourself?

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About daniellaindie

I'm Anthony’s wife, and mother to Jonathan, Hannah, Joshua, and Isabella. When not making PBJs and cleaning, I like to write, immerse myself in a good book, play my piano, or plan epic couponing trips.

Posted on October 4, 2010, in Mothering, Time Managment, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Well, I deleted my Facebook for a while, but that didn’t work for long. I also developed outdoor hobbies, in places where going online isn’t an option. Beyond that, I’m pretty bad at disconnecting.

  2. disconnecting? i don’t understand. what does that mean? (is that a word in English or…?)

  3. Well, you already said what I do. I have STRICT time limits. Especially as of recently :-). I have time slots for everything simply because my words and time tend to speak two different languages…what my mouth values and prioritizes, my time displays differently. Kind of cool though — I’m getting more done, more efficiently, and with more sanity to spare. Weird.

  4. I’m shopping for a laptop now, but my desktop is already a massive time-waster. I decided to keep an electronic prayer journal in the form of a Word document with a standout icon on my desktop so that, when I sit down at my computer, I see that on the desktop and do that FIRST. Technology can do so many things to help enhance our faith, but at the same time it can be SO detrimental in the form of sucking our time away.

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