Chicago mom reflects on her own technology use

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the love/hate relationship I have with technology and social media. I know that sounds weird coming from someone who blogs and works in a field that requires (or does it?) dozens of emails every day.

However, now that my son is school age and in a variety of activities, I feel different demands on my time. I feel a greater pull to put down my phone, shut my laptop and be present with him. Not to mention my desire to be present in my own life instead of constantly checking Facebook status updates or photos on Instagram. It’s so tempting to pull out my phone to snap a picture of my son playing or of some amazing meal I made. But while I spend time selecting the perfect filter, what am I really missing?

I recently picked up Rachel Macy Stafford’s Hands Free Mama to help me dig deeper into what I’m feeling. I’m only a couple of pages in and her words have made me stop and think. She uses the term Sunset Moments to describe meaningful everyday occurrences that can slip by if we are plugged into things that don’t really matter.

Life’s Sunset Moments are glorious, rejuvenating and gratifying to behold–but when I’m caught up in daily distractions, they are carelessly missed…If my hands are too busy doing other things, I will miss them. If my body is present, but my mind is not, I will miss them (p. 31).

My son is only seven, but I’m sure I have missed some Sunset Moments because I chose my phone, tablet or laptop over him.

Welcome to heartbreak hotel.

As I move from reflection to action, I know that I need to set some limits on how I use technology. This is not to say that social media is bad, I just think that when it dominates how I spend my time I should step away.

Do I really need to check my email every time I see a notification? Instead of seeing what my friends are up to on Facebook or Twitter, can I pick up the phone or invite them over for face-to-face interaction? I recently learned about National Day of Unplugging on March 7-8. I’m so excited about the opportunity to make a public declaration about unplugging and plugging into the people and things that matter the most to me.

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