I don’t even remember how old I was when we got our first computer, but I know that it was followed by many arguments with my parents over many years about spending too much time on the computer. Now that I have my own kids, I often wonder if their image of their mom has a picture of an Apple centered underneath it. I tell myself that I’m just going to hop on for five minutes to “check my e-mail” and inevitably that five minutes extends to 50 and then some as I get sucked in to checking Facebook status updates, or chatting with a friend, or trying to catch up on the day’s deals. It’s not just the issue of my laptop. There’s my iPhone and my iPad. I admit it. I’m addicted to technology. I don’t intend to spend that much time hooked on electronics. I just have a hard time walking away.
In February, I attended a blogging conference in Nashville where Jon Acuff was the keynote speaker. He talked about the challenges of balancing family, blogging, and social media. I felt like he was talking right to me. One of the things he said that totally struck me was, “You can’t stop a private moment with your family to document it for strangers and not incur some cost in time.” He shared story after story that I could relate to. His daughter trying to get his attention while he was online so that he could help her study for a spelling test. His kids not wanting to take pictures because they didn’t want to be his “content” that day. It touched me and I vowed to change, but in the six months since I attended that conference, I still haven’t found an easy way to balance things or to just walk away from my online obsession.
Since I work in education, I’ve always looked at the start of school year as a sort of “New Year” for me. As my son is getting ready to start kindergarten and my daughter is getting ready to start third grade, I also realize that time is flying by and that I’m letting precious quality moments with my kids slip away. I don’t want that. I also am letting quality time with my husband slip away and that’s just as important as quality time with my kids.
So I’ve come up with some “beginning of school year” resolutions:
- Set blogging/online hours and stick to them! My intent is to do most of this in the early morning hours or in the evening hours when my kids are asleep, but also to leave enough evening hours to still spend some time with my husband.
- No social media (computer, phone, iPad, etc.) during “family time” I’m holding my entire family to this one and I’m implementing “fines” which will go toward a family activity for people who break the rule! I’m planning on introducing this one tonight during our family night. I got the idea from Jon Acuff’s post here–> How to Remember You Family is More Important Than Social Media
Experts say that it takes three weeks to create a new habit, so I’m sticking to this for three weeks and evaluating my progress once a week to see what’s working, what’s not working, and what I can try to do differently. I have friends who have managed to give up the internet, Facebook, etc. for extended periods of time and I am honestly in awe of them, but I’m SO not there yet and I don’t know if I ever will be.
How do you balance social media and family time? Do you have the courage to just walk away? What has worked for you!
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