I quit working to spend more time with my kids, but another benefit has been the ability to untether myself from what had become a suffocating case of information overload. I was a slave to email, and the churn of messages in my inbox made my head spin. My smartphone and laptop were always within reach, and I felt a constant need to check for new messages – always in fear I would miss something.
I felt like my email owned me. It was a gravitational pull, always sucking me back in.
SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHLLLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRR (this is a huge sucking noise)
It has been so liberating to disconnect from that side of life and regain control of some of my time.
But now that I’ve been home for a few months, I’ve noticed a transference of some of those work ties to other demands. There’s always another load of laundry that can be done. The house is never clean. I swear within minutes of drying the last dish the counter is filled again with more. And perhaps most unexpected – I have a new and different relationship with technology as I’ve dipped my toes into Twitter and this here blog.
The social media director at my job was so frustrated by my failure to use Twitter. But at the time I felt like my brain was already so maxed out, I truly could not open one more stream of information to manage.
Now that I’m using it for personal reasons, I’m enjoying it. Useful parenting tips, smart women who inspire and motivate me…not to mention last week when my daughter’s daycare was on lockdown with a deranged gunman on the loose nearby, I got the fastest updates by following it on Twitter.
I have also learned new words like “Amazeballs,” and have a new tendency to say “BOOM” when I want to emphasize something. Very handy.
However – all of these new demands, including the Twitter, can feel like they are pulling you in a million directions in any given day, let alone the needs of the two children you are supposed to be spending more time with.
Some days I have started to hear it again …. sucking me ….
So yesterday morning when I started following @Submommy, I clicked on her blog and had a much needed face slap. The first post I read was this one – Play With Me Mommy? – a sweet recap of how she prioritized time with her son. It hit so close to home that I immediately shut off the computer, turned off the TV my daughter was watching, and said to hell with the mess in the kitchen.
We proceeded to have a fabulous craft party where we made a robot suit and hand puppets. That was followed by a scrumptious tea party where we built a train of desserts. And then a dance party where she laughed far too hard at my moves.
It was probably only 45 minutes of play until the baby woke up and we were then on the go, but for those 45 minutes she had my full attention and I could tell she loved it. As did I – it was actually easier to enjoy playtime when I had chosen to focus on it.
So thanks @Submommy for the reminder about what is important (surely there is some irony in me finding inspiration online to get offline, but whatevs).
I realize I need to put more intention around how I manage my new set of life demands. Stop trying to clean every mess as I pass it – set a specific day or time to do it. Pick a day where I focus on household bills and organizing so it’s not always hanging over my head. And be OK with staying in the JV league of Twitter users, using it when time allows, but not at the expense of quality time with my kids.
In short, YOU WILL NOT OWN ME, TWITTER – I WILL OWN YOU.
Because in the end, will I wish I had read a few more funny tweets, or will I wish I had enjoyed a few more tea parties?