Since I started working part-time from home almost two years ago, I noticed a disturbing trend: I’m constantly on the computer.
I turn it on first thing in the morning after snuggling with my kids, then sneak a peek at Facebook, my three e-mail accounts and breaking news stories several times throughout the day. It’s become part of my “multitasking” way of life – as I care for my kids, cook, clean and earn a living all at the same time.
It makes me insane because there are days when there are no distinctions between my work life and my home life. Although I don’t watch television, I certainly zone out enough in front of my computer screen.
That’s probably why I couldn’t help reading this CNN story, “Why moms are at risk for Internet addiction.” Here’s an excerpt from the writer, Rachel Mosteller:
I'd heard about Internet addiction before, but always assumed it was something limited to socially challenged guys who played too much World of Warcraft. Now it seemed my Internet "habit" was slowly but surely crossing the line. Sometimes I found myself up into the wee hours of the morning, surfing the Web while my family slept. I read the news, kept up with friends, and looked up answers to endless questions. I wrote my personal blog and read dozens of others, just for something to do.
It turns out I'm not the only mama who plugs in and zones out. Coleen Moore, coordinator of resource development at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery in Peoria, says that she's seeing more and more women coming in for Internet addiction. They're young, they're often new mothers, and they're addicted to blogs, message boards, and Second Life, she says.
... Online, you can pay bills, order diapers, upload photos, and look up possible causes of your kid's constipation. In fact, you can almost accomplish too much online.
"Ticking items off a to-do list is intoxicating when you feel like you don't have much control over other parts of your life," says Parker (and what's more uncontrollable than life with a newborn?).
Diane Anderson, mom of a 7-month-old in Memphis, knows the feeling. "I started following coupon sites and became so engrossed in finding deals that I neglected the important things, like time with my son, for a while."
After the Internet, real life can seem, well, unproductive. "When I play with my boys, I feel like I should be getting something done," says one mom of 18-month-old twins in New York City. "I almost get antsy just hanging out with them, and I take regular breaks to check my e-mail, respond to a Facebook friend request, or order photos from Snapfish. I'm addicted to online errands."
As I write this, my kids are coloring on the floor next to my desk so I should probably get off the computer right now so we can spend some quality time together… What’s it like for you? How much time do you spend on the computer/Internet?