Going Dark Reflections 10/4/12

The first thing I noticed on my first “Going Dark” day was that my morning ran smoother.  I teach a story hour for 12-14 preschoolers one morning a month.  I have to get us out the door by 9:15 AM.  We were all ready to go by 8:45.  I actually had extra time to tackle some other items off my “to-do” list.  It was smooth and easygoing transition out the door and we do not always have that.

The day itself was a little atypical as I watched a toddler all day on top of my own three children.  I also watch a kindergartener for two hours in the afternoon.  The only stressful time was getting everyone ready for lunch, cleaning up the kitchen and eating area, and getting the younger ones down from naps.  Honestly that was a very tempting time to go on and check e-mail and facebook.  I think I turn to these as a stress relief when my day gets more chaotic.

In the afternoon I found myself getting more accomplished I have thrown to the wayside the last few weeks.  For instance there were over 400 photos on my memory card and not a single one edited or put on my computer.  I started this project and completed it.  I also finished a book, got some laundry completed, thank-you notes sent out for my daughter’s birthday, book orders for school completed, Hot Lunch menu filled out, and an article for the church newsletter written.  Normally I probably would have gotten some of that done, but not all of it.

The hardest time not using the Internet was after the kids go to bed.  I missed reading blogs, surfing Pinterest, and responding to e-mails.  I was too tired to do anything productive.  I managed to finish editing photos and start another book.

As I got back on the Internet today I saw only a few e-mails I had to return and no earth shattering facebook messages.  Which convinces me I do not need to be on the computer near as much as I previously was.

Moms are not more busy…we are too distracted.

I cannot even count the conversations I have had with others about “being busy” since I became a mom seven years ago.  We have had discussion whether our plate is too full and what could be portioned off.  We rattle off the twenty-five things that constitute our “to-do” list. Are we all TOO busy that we do not have time to sit and relax?

According to this article about leisure time by Po Bronson we have GAINED not lost leisure time compared to forty years ago.  Bronson says we waste half of our leisure time watching television.  I daresay us moms who watch very little TV can substitute the tube for facebook, Pinterest, Internet surfing etc.  Oh, I am so guilty!

So what’s the problem.  According to this article about our stress levels by Shanua Wright, there is a 10 – 30% stress increase for adults than thirty years ago.  Wright mentions that one of those pressure causing our extra stress is the difficulty of turning off information.  I do not truly believe we are busier but I do think this:

We are more distracted

My mom was a stay at home of the 70’s and early 80’s. She had the telephone and the occasional neighbor stopping by to distract her.  Now we have text messages, multiple e-mail accounts, facebook, Twitter, and the Internet in general.  We are “on call” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We have to take a quick glimpse at our facebook page even though we checked it an hour ago.  I do not think the Internet, e-mail, social networking is bad.  I use every and all of it for my writing job, ministries I’m involved in, and to keep in touch with extended family.  But there are many times that we need to learn to separate ourselves from it.  And that’s hard.

I struggle with this so much that I am trying something I am calling “Going Dark Thursday.”  Every Thursday (starting tomorrow!) I am not getting on the Internet which means no checking e-mail, no facebook, no blogging, no surfing the net, no Pinterest etc.  I will ONLY use the computer for writing, working on youth group lessons, or homeschool preschool…and even that will be sparingly.

I will share with you the impact this has on me.  I know of too many children (and I’ve worried this about my own) who will grow up and remember their mother as someone sitting at the computer.  My oldest and I were talking about the things we are good at.  She told me she thought I was good at running (which made me smile) and being on the computer (whatever that means!).  I have limited my computer time this fall and it has made a difference in the cleanliness of my home.  I think I need to set some strong unbreakable boundaries.

If you are nodding your head and saying, “This is me too!” and (if it’s not, you can probably give some great advice to the rest of us) feel free to join me on Going Dark Thursdays.  Or pick a day of the week that works better for you.