Whole Parenting Family

Falling Into the Black Hole of the Internet; or How I Stay On Task at My Computer

triple trouble

The three amigos–my niece is in town and the three kid are having so much fun they don’t know what to do!

I don’t know about you (yes, yes I do because you’re reading this right now when you should be working dutifully, chasing children, doing laundry, or making important business phone calls), but I waste time with the internet. It’s like my computer & IPhone are time suckers. Or drainpipes. Or funnels. And my time runs down them whilst I assure myself I’m productively touching base with all my little spots in the electronic universe.

A few new resolutions have helped me, at home mom, greatly over the past few weeks, and I hope they can help you too. (What would probably help you best is just shutting.me.off.right.now.) Those of you at work, well, that used to be me, but now I have no advice for you other than to get your work done as fast as you can so you can veg on your screen in the off-hours. It always made my work day less productive, feel longer, and I’d be more sluggish to have all the extra stimuli of the outside world.

1) Have a goal in mind for being on your computer/screen/smart phone.

I make a quick list of what I’m going to accomplish in the X amount of time I have before I have to go on to another task. This is a sub category of my running weekly & daily lists of things to scratch off. I write things like “dink around on fb for 5” followed by “finish blog post” and “upload & edit pics” and “shop etsy for sis-in-law.” I don’t always stick directly to the plan, but I have it there to remind me of WHY I’m on my computer.

2) Treat your smartphone like a dumbphone.

Put your phone down. Away. Where you can reach it if it rings. Not to check the internet. When I find myself checking facebook during the kids’ breakfast, I have to check myself and think, Am I going to remember a fun dance-filled, blueberry induced breakfast? Or who has “liked” my dumb status update? I just confessed about this the other day. {No One Does it All: Confessions of a Housemom}. The narcissist in all of us loves social media as a gauge of our worth and approval. That is not a healthy or accurate representation of either. If someone really needs to get ahold of you, let them do it when you’re not interfacing with your small children. I mean, directly playing and talking to them. They see a screen in  your hands, they think it must be more important than them. Why else would you stare at it all the time? SweetPea will go and find my phone and walk it back to me. And then walk around with it herself, saying “Dada!!!” and kissing it. She thinks he lives in there.

3) Allow yourself time to browse without purpose, if that helps you use the internet more wisely.

It’s like eating junk food. The more you eat, the more your brain tells you it wants. Addictive habits are reinforcing. Putzing around on the internet to fill the down time of our lives becomes a powerful habit. If you know you get to have an unhealthy treat periodically, you are less likely to gorge yourself on it all the time in desperation due to your fear someone else will find your chocolate stash. Ahem. Wouldn’t know anything about a chocolate stash.

4) Leave your smartphone & screen in a different room from your sleeping room.

I found myself cruising the web one last time before bed, just having to look one more thing up, double checking my fav news sites & blogs from BlogLovin’ which is a great way to get all your fixes in one spot (you can add WPF to your list via the badge on the home page), not wanting to miss out on kid-free time–my opportunity for screen-free time. It meant I stayed up later and later, and my sleep was harder to sink into. Numerous studies have shown that the lights that come off a screen stimulate our brain and make it harder for us to fall asleep. Tell this to my sister who ALWAYS falls asleep during movies. Love you, Mo, but man when I see those glasses come off and you allege you’re resting your eyes a la Bilbo Baggins, I know it’s all over.

I’m buying a real clock. Something like this (see what’s wrong here?)? Then my IPhone can sleep near my computer, in the other room.


  1. […] constantly? Don’t play by themselves? Can’t be left unwatched so we can shower/screentime ourselves/poop? Because you can’t fry anything on the stove while holding your babe in the sling? […]