As some of you may know, last weekend, the lovely hubby challenged me to a whole day without Twitter, Facebook, checking the blog, looking at e-mails….
And the whole thought was really quite scary. And that was also really quite scary, and really quite sad.
And it made me stop and think.
A year ago, we had a rubbishy old VERY slow lap-top, that would sometimes take nearly an hour just to turn on (I frequently wanted to throw it out of the window..) and I had a ‘dumb-phone’ (ie not a smart phone!) and I hadn’t even dreamed up the idea of My Make Do and Mend Year, let alone started blogging about it. Facebook was somewhere I logged onto every now and then to
be nosy catch up on what friends were up to, I had heard of Twitter but it never occurred to me to join, and I would check my e-mails at the most once a day.
I remember my mum telling me about an article she had read about mums who spend their whole days on their phones, and I can’t remember quite what it was called, but something like ‘benign neglect’. Apparently one toddler had resorted to biting his mum’s leg to get her attention. And I remember thinking how sad that was, and how I would never be like that and do that to my kids…
But then, we both got fed up with the very slow lap-top, and splashed out on a new (gasp! Before the start of My Make Do and Mend Year I hasten to add!) Apple Mac (other computers are available), which starts up at the touch of a button. I also upgraded my phone to a smartphone (not sure why now really), and we caved in and got an i-pad at the same time (all this seems very profligate in hindsight-in my defence it was before the idea of My Make Do and Mend Year was even born.)
So now, I am on the computer ALL the time. I have become one of those mothers. I check my e-mails, my twitter feed, my facebook accounts (I have 3…) at least every hour. I am feeling very ashamed as I write this. But I feel I have to be honest.
And if I’m going to be honest, then the brutal truth is that it has had a negative impact on our family life, and on the Smalls.
I justify it by saying it’s all about the blog, and promoting it, and getting involved in things, and responding to comments. Which it is. But I know if I’m honest that it has taken over my life, and I think it is not overly dramatic to say that I am well and truly addicted. I feel a bit like an alcoholic at an AA meeting at this point.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the blog (maybe a little too much!). I have started to realise that it is empowering me to do more and try and change the things that I previously thought were unchangeable. And I am constantly amazed at the power of social media, and the amazing people I have ‘met’ and all the things that have snow-balled from the blog, and from Twitter and the like…
But I have already admitted it has started to impact negatively on the Smalls, so I know I have to do something to curb my excesses. I am very much an all or nothing person. Which can be a good thing (driven and committed), but can also be a bad thing too!
I had read a blog post recently ( and I’m really sorry, I can’t remember where-if I remember, I will link up to it!) about having a ‘screen-free’ day (there is also a book a friend told me about, about a family who went ‘technology-free’ for a year-again I will try and find out what it is called!). I mentioned it to the lovely hubby, who challenged me to do it too…
So that’s how we ended up with Sreen-free Sunday last weekend. I was originally planning on it just being computers and smartphones, but then I thought hubby should suffer too (!) so I told him it was a TV free day too…
And we did it!
And do you know what?
The world kept on turning.
And what is more. People still looked at the blog. Even without me checking they were looking at the blog..!
Who would have thought it!
I’m glad we did it. I worry about ‘missing out’ (on what exactly, I am not sure) if I’m not checking Twitter all the time. And if I am really really honest, I think there is also an element of wanting positive affirmations from other people that they like what I am doing (I know that makes me sound deeply shallow and insecure, but I did say I was going to be honest…)
It has proved to me that the world doesn’t stop. That people will still read the blog. And it made me realise how much of a habit ‘just popping on the computer to check my e-mails/Twitter/Facebook etc has become (and I then end up sat there for at least half an hour..), and how often I reach for my phone, just because there is a quiet moment. I would hate it so much if my boys turned out to be like that, and I am sure I will constantly be nagging at them in years to come, to get off their phones/computers etc. So I need to lead by example.
Screen free Sunday looks set to become a regular event in our house. How about you?!