As an introspective person, it's not enough for me to identify that something isn't right in my life and then work to change it; I also feel the need to examine the reasons behind it. I feel like I cannot find the best solution for a problem if I don't look at what caused the problem to develop in the first place.
So I've been trying to identify the roots of my computer addiction. I feel comfortable calling it that, because it definitely has become an addiction for me. Obviously I need to spend less time online and keep the computer turned off most of the day, but I also need to find healthier ways to address the issues that have driven me to sit around online too much. Here are the reasons I have identified so far.
I crave connection with other people. As an introvert, though, it can seem so much easier at times to simply connect with people online rather than face-to-face. I need to work on building real, personal relationships with other people instead of relying so much on things like Facebook, message boards, and blogs.
I like to keep my mind busy. I often read things online that get me thinking, and I actually fear that spending less time online will cause me to miss out on important thoughts and realizations. Obviously I also like to write, and I fear that I will miss out on opportunities to share thoughts that may be helpful or encouraging to others. I need to remember that there will still be time to read and write-- just while the kids are napping or in bed for the night. And I need to remember that I can still exercise my mind, think and learn about new things, and encourage other people without spending lots of time online.
I get bored. As a stay-at-home mom, obviously part of what I do is spend time playing with my kids. But I don't want to spend all day long playing, nor do I think that it's my job as a mom to orchestrate and be involved in every single thing they do. They need to play independently, but when they are, I get bored sometimes. And so I turn on the computer instead of finding other things to do. I could read a book, work on a project around the house, finally learn to use my sewing machine, or several other things I have been meaning to do but never seem to get around to doing. And of course, I will need to watch carefully to make sure I don't let something else step in to fill the void of computer addiction. This isn't just about turning off the computer; it's about spending more time in the moment with my children and developing closer relationships with them.
Getting online is a great way to procrastinate. Sure, I need to clean the bathroom and do laundry, but logging onto Facebook is much more fun. I've already noticed that when the computer is turned off, I get a lot more done.
So those are the things that I think are at the root of my overuse of the computer. I'm happy to say that since last Friday, I have only been spending time online during Isaac's naptime and after the boys are in bed. :) I've been getting a lot more done around the house, I feel much more peaceful, and of course I have been spending more time simply playing and having fun with the boys. For someone who has never struggled with this, it probably all sounds silly, but the internet just sucks me in even when I intend to only get on "for a minute." It feels good to make these changes!