Balance, Health

The Thin Line Between Addiction & Community

I really did want to be a minimalist parent... One of this week's online "finds."
I really did want to be a minimalist parent… One of this week’s “finds.”

In the last few weeks, I have joined a variety of local groups for moms on Facebook featuring information on everything from baby wearing, to general health, to buying and selling used items for kids. These “closed” groups are fantastic– with a few strokes of the keyboard, I can get moms to chime in on just about anything while also scoping out used baby items for sale in my neighborhood, (you know, the ones I swore I would not let clutter up my house but now provide an awesome midnight obstacle course).

There is also something missing. Sure I could be brave and go to the meet-ups that correspond with each group, and maybe I will, but it is so easy to just chime in remotely and continue to go about my day. And, I have to admit, I really did not need any more reasons to go on Facebook. It is already tempting enough, as I sit nursing, to reach for my smartphone and let time slip away as I keep up on whose kid just did what or who just got married or had a baby or took some delicious trip to a place I will not be visiting with an infant anytime soon.

That’s what I hate to admit. Since Eloise has been home, my Internet addiction has skyrocketed. It is just too easy with the Internet at my fingertips to overuse social media and get caught up in googling every question that crosses my mind, (What is the best size woven wrap for a new mom? Is yellow skin on the scalp craddle cap? Which woven wrap gets the best reviews for a first-time wearer?). I easily check Facebook and/or Instagram ten times a day, or MORE. I cringe to type that.

A recent picture I posted to Instagram. Instead of just enjoying a walk with Eloise, I had to immortalize it online.
A recent picture I posted to Instagram. Instead of just enjoying a walk with Eloise, I had to immortalize it online.

Then I start to question how this smartphone usage affects my daughter. Does using my phone in her vicinity hurt her development? Does the fact that she already reaches out to swipe my screen mean I am in trouble if I expect her technology use to remain at a minimum? Am I missing important mom moments because I am too busy trying to capture the picture for Instagram? Okay, beginning now, I will limit myself to only using my phone when she’s asleep. Oh, wait, but I need to check…

Welcome to my neurotic brain.

I assume people used to have to actually leave the house to meet other parents. I guess I should put that on my short-term-must-achieve list: leave house, meet someone new to talk to about motherhood. The Internet is just too perfect of a black hole for introverts. I get sucked in. I feel connected. I mean, come on, I even have a blog for goodness’ sake.

While there are definitely enough positives in these online communities for me not to drop out, I also need to do something about my addiction. My first attempts at a solution? Paperback books are going next to my nursing station and I am taking an Internet break on my trip to my mom’s this weekend. No, really, I am… She lives in a land where cellphones roam, (amazing those places still exist, right?!).

But don’t you worry, I am not leaving yet, so I still have time to obsessively read your comments:

Are you as addicted as I am? Do you have any tricks to keep yourself from relying on technology too much? When was the last time you got out and interacted with *new* people when you didn’t “have” to?