Hold on to your handbags, darlings - today's post is a difficult one for me to write, since I'm admitting some stuff here that doesn't put me in the Prettiest of lights. We're all about the Pretty here - and totally inappropriate uses of the royal "We" too - and I count honesty
That post I wrote last week about finding balance in your social media life is a topic I've been chewing on ever since, trying to get why this hobby of ours (or job for a lucky few) can grow so all-consuming at times, to the detriment of family and friends, and steps we can take to keep it in healthy balance. I confess I've so enjoyed writing and interacting with you all so much lately that I'm not always totally present when I'm doing my day job of caring of Master P. Not that I'm parked on Facebook or what-have-you all day, but I've had moments of being preoccupied while thinking over a post or checking my phone when the wee CEO was wanting my attention.
Granted, we all need breaks, whatever our jobs, as well as time to pursue our own interests and hobbies. Being the spiffy French parent I apparently am, I also believe in giving Master P a small amount of (supervised) time to himself during the day while I tend to things, be it housework or "me" work like this site. It's just that the extent to which I was "breaking" bothered me.
Turns out I wasn't alone in my musings about this; in addition to the excellent comments you left me last week, please check out excellent posts by Imaginary Internet Friends Amy, AP, and Meg on similar topics, all of which I've found incredibly helpful in coming up with my approach here.
[In lieu of photo, insert irony here of my blogging about too much time with social media - maybe I'll log off here and Tweet / Pin / Facebook / carrier pigeon this too for good measure?]
In case it's helpful to any of you sorting through similar issues, here's a few helpful questions I've asked myself & steps I've taken to feel like I'm more in balance with my social media life and my, uh, real-life life.
If this is a hobby, why are we feeling like we "HAVE" to do it all social media wise (or with any hobby, really?)
Is it keeping up with the Miss Joneses? Addiction? Loneliness? Type A Minus overachiever-tude where I secretly feel the need to be fabulous at everything? Or just, you know, enjoying the heck out of something after years of doing the wrong job, so much so that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to stuff it all in?
For me - and me alone, I speak for no one else here - there's probably a bit of all of the above going on. With the exception of that "finally having fun with my life" bit - finally! - talk about un-Pretty. Ugh.
The trick with the Jonesing and the competitiveness, those ugly things, is of course that we don't know the details of how someone else manages to be an excellent writer or Twitterer or whatever day in & out, when we ourselves can barely find the time to take a shower. We can only know what works for us individually, and how we can best keep this all in perspective for us individually. As for addiction, I'm no expert but figure I also have some plain ol' bad habits here that need breaking.
Here's what I figured out - some day I hope to have more time to devote to getting every post or Tweet where I want it - heck, I'd settle for just marginally decent and less typo-strewn - and maybe even looking into freelance writing. Ya know, for a paycheck and stuff. For now, though, I can only fit so much into a day, and my Mama day job comes first, happily so.
Steps to Keep it in Balance
Here are some changes I've made over the past week, which have helped me keep doing this social media stuff I love while prioritizing my "day job" mom work. I'm not - NOT, you can't make me, nanny nanny boo boo! - claiming I have this entirely figured out yet, at all, but so far this is working well for me:
Setting a Writing Schedule for the Day
Inspired by Amy, I've started getting up early to put in some computer time before Master P wakes up. I sometimes check email & Twitter during the first 20 minutes or so when the wee CEO first arises and prefers to play independently - then I'm off the computer again until nap time (unless it's one of my two babysitter mornings), when I like to do the bulk of my writing in addition to all the other Real Life Stuff that gets squeezed into that 1.5 hours or so. Once he's up, I try to stay off again until after he goes to bed.
My goal is to shut down my computer & iPhone by 10:30 pm each night - thanks for that idea, Hopsy. I have an iffy record here - Pinterest, you are a jealous mistress (mister?) - but I'm working on this.
Lesson learned: this will come as a huge, HUGE shock to you - I know it did to me - but there is nothing I have to say that it can't wait until the morning and/or when Master P is asleep. There just isn't. What a humbling, mortifying moment it was when I realized that I'd been operating under a different premise.
Changing Phone Settings & Setting a "Check In" Schedule
You know that mom at the playground whose nose is so deeply buried in her phone that she misses her kid dangling haphazardly off the monkey bars? There's always one, and I fear I was slowly moving in her distracted direction.
I wanted to find a way to keep my iPhone use in check, speaking of jealous misters. Especially when Master P was wee & nursing, it had been a lifeline to the outside world. It was & is mostly a wonderful thing, but it's also something that for me became too easy to constantly monitor instead of being present in the moment.
Shutting off my "commercial" email address, the one constantly pinging with sale reminders and such, was a great first step, not only with this but with my Lenten no-shop resolution as well.
I've also turned my phone to vibrate and am trying to check in only once per hour versus constantly hovering over it; I also don't carry it around with me anymore when I'm home unless I'm expecting an important call.
Prioritizing Where I Spend the Limited Time I Do Have
I figured out that ye olde blog here and Twitter are my original loves, and where I feel I want to check in regularly; it's also a priority to me to respond to comments when I can and read what you all are writing, though I wish I could do much more on both fronts. Whatever other social media stuff is going on, much as I may enjoy the Pinterest, etc. and learning about whatever new kids come on our tech block - at this point they come second.
Phew . . . not Pretty. I'm reading over this again and wondering if we (ok, I) need to set up meetings with 12 steps, over-sharing, and stale coffee?
Anyone else struggling with this? More importantly, who's in for these meetings - any volunteers for VP of Entertainment (ie, bringing wine)?