CNN recently published an article about how moms are at risk for Internet addiction. My husband casually mentioned the story to me, and my first reaction was, “well, yeah, I could see why that would happen.” As a stay-at-home mom, the transition from a fast-paced career in Manhattan to housewife in Suburbia was jarring. At my job I was on the phone all the time, talking to team members, vendors, and attending meetings. Suddenly, I was in complete isolation. Not only was I home with a new baby, but I was in a neighborhood that had been my home for only a year. I knew no one except the 70-year-old guy next door and his four dogs.
It started with pregnancy chat rooms. Hundreds of women, most of them also first time moms, all with babies the same age. It was a goldmine of information, camaraderie and support. I could complain about lack of sleep, lack of sex, or lack of time and I would get post after post of sympathetic responses. If my baby was doing something weird, I could post about it and twenty women would say, “My baby does the same thing!” It was a lifeline to the outside world and a handbook to the newness of motherhood.
As my firstborn got older and my second daughter was born, I relied more and more on the Internet for information and socializing. I started my own eBay business, so now the computer was not only a fun way to pass the time, but it was my livelihood. Of course, while doing business I would switch over to e-mail or Facebook, just to check in. I found myself sitting in front of the screen more and more often, leaving other things for later, such as cleaning or doing paperwork.
It was when my business taxes needed to be done that I realized just how deep in the hole I was. My business records were a mess; basically, I didn’t keep track of anything. So I grounded myself — no Internet of any kind except for business until my taxes were done. I gave myself a week. I posted a note on Facebook, Twitter and my blog, telling everyone that I was taking a social media vacation. And that was it.
In the week that I stayed off the Internet, I not only got my business taxes in order and filed, but I also:
— Filed away everything that was in “The Pile” — a monstrous amount of paper that has been sitting on my desk since before Christmas.
— Actually caught up on the laundry (that lasted about two days).
— Read the second, third and last books in the “Twilight” series (and loved them).
— Re-read “Twilight” — yes, it was that good (and a quick read).
— Took a NAP one day — bliss!
Decided that I wanted to write a novel
In general, I felt more in touch during that week than in the weeks prior where I spent much of my time trying to “keep in touch” online.
I think I have a good balance now. I’ve cut out Twitter altogether for the time being, and I try to check Facebook only once a day or so. I’m still a blogger, but I see it as practice for my writing career. And I’m still working on meeting more people in person. Maybe there’s a discussion board about making new friends …
——By Jennifer Nobile Colgan, NEW JERSEY MOMS BLOG
This is an original post from the New Jersey Moms Blog (http://www.newjerseymomsblog.com). Follow Jennifer Nobile Colgan’s adventures in parenthood and writing on her blog, Kids and a Keyboard (http://kidsandakeyboard.blogspot.com/).