Our mothers and grandmothers welcomed their babies into the world without having to think about Facebook etiquette, status updates or privacy controls. For many women today, motherhood is an experience we share online. Look at me—I’m currently writing about motherhood for this website!
While this phenomenon can be an enriching experience that connects, inspires, and educates, it can also be overwhelming and exasperating. After all, the internet isn’t exactly known for measured discourse. One need only bring up subjects like breastfeeding vs. formula, staying home vs. working, or composting your own garbage vs. disposable diapers to know the extent of the online mommy wars.
The stress of the internet is hard to avoid because our lives are saturated with technology. In a 2012 survey by Time magazine, 84% of respondents said they could not go a day without their smartphone. I, too, am guilty of always having my phone nearby. I’m a work-at-home mom, so I’ve perfected the art of working from my phone. I know I’m not the only tethered to my phone, but I’m concerned about it supplanting experiences in the real world.
While these figures may sound silly, they point to a problem I want to avoid. I don’t want to focus on taking pictures of my daughter at the dance recital — I want to enjoy her performance. I don’t want to Tweet about my life. I want to live my life! Remember life before the internet?
Our children aren’t the only one’s who need limits on screen time.
Beyond smartphone addiction, sometimes the internet can get too out of hand, and the best thing you can do for your sanity is to unplug. If I see a debate scroll past my newsfeed, I don’t feel the need to engage it. It’s not my job to fight people who are wrong on the internet. You also don’t have to defend your parenting choices to anyone online. You know what they say about toxic friendships? End them. So, too, you would be justified in removing yourself from toxic friends or spaces online. As the commercial says, “I unfriend you!”
A tech savvy mom, I use the internet for work and to consume media and information relevant to my work and life. I enjoy Twitter and Instagram because I’ve found interesting people on both platforms. Even so, I’m trying to be better about putting my phone away or stepping away from the internet. Our children aren’t the only one’s who need limits on screen time.
I had a professor in college who told us he only checked his email during business hours. We were surprised because we checked our email throughout the day (and night.) He said we should not feel the need to be constantly available. That was a good lesson and one that guides my use of technology and the internet.