My 4-Step Recovery Program to My Online Addiction
My husband likes to say that my vice, and quite possibly my only one, is Twitter. I do tweet…a lot…and have in the course of 3 years sent out over 70,000 tweets. At first I didn’t really understand what the big deal was. But, I have come to realize lately that too much of my face time is spent staring at my phone and not at my kids. It’s not always Twitter mind you, a lot of it is also time spent replying to emails. As a mom who freelances and works from home, I was starting to become the mom who couldn’t hear her family anymore because she was too busy listening to her clients. And though, to my husband and my teenage son - and ok, my 5 and 6 year old too - it seems like all I do is tweet, I swear that I am also seriously working, without boundaries.
I haven’t missed major events with my children and my husband, but not all significant events in our lives, the ones that bond us, are major. Sometimes it’s the little things, like looking into my husbands eyes from across the table, or listen to my children as the recount their day or play with each other, or looking at my teen to see if he is happy or sad or worried in anyway. Sometimes it’s just about being quiet, sitting there and being present.
I have taken what my children and husband have insinuated (“mommy works too much” “mommy is always on the twitter”) and I have developed my own steps to breaking away from the awful habit of being constantly present for the wrong people.
Set a time to work and stand by it
Granted, though I do work a lot, I am not always working when online. Though I doubt I will completely stop taking the time to send out that quick tweet or Instagram pic, I am learning to stick by the schedule I’ve created to work and tend to the most attention-draining responsibilities while my kids are not present.
Enjoy the moment off-line
This is SO hard, right? We see something, even when it comes to our kids and we want to share it NOW. I am learning to take the picture, if I must, but then put down the phone and the camera and be present to share the moment right then and there with my family. As I travel, I have already learned to put the camera down and breath in the beauty of my surrounding and take the time to absorb it before shooting away. This has helped to ground me in the experience, and make me really develop long lasting emotions that help me in my writing later on.
Keep it to myself
As much as I share about myself and my family, you would be surprised to know that there is actually quite a bit I don’t, not because it’s incredibly private or personal – though we have those too - but because I want to make it so for us. There are moments that I want to hold on to that only we’ll ever know about. I am finding comfort in our little bubble, despite realizing that it would make a kick-ass blog post.
Work hard, play harder
I left my job to be with my children, and then my ambitions distracted me. It was getting in the way of our time together. I have been given a gift: to be with my kids and play with them and enjoy them as much as I want. I have to trust that on any given day I delivered my best professionally and be willing to shut it down and just be mom all the way, no distractions, no interruption.
I guess in the overall scheme of things, being a twitterholic, or workaholic or whatever you want to call it isn’t the worse thing that a person can be. But missing out of my time with my family is a huge price to pay for it, and I just don’t think it’s worth the risk of missing out on precious time with them.