Yesterday evening I totally screamed at my daughter. This may horrify those of you who don't have children, but anyone who has children will probably understand. We've been having some issues with her bothering her little brother, and I lost it after hearing him start crying for the third time in five minutes. However, my reaction really was inappropriate in proportion to her actions. Most of the anger I directed at her was really precipitated by my feelings about a thread on a blog I had been reading. I think I need to cut back on my internet activity a little.
A similar thing happened about two years ago and preceded my entry into the blogging world. When S-Boogie was about four months old I stumbled onto a bulletin board for LDS moms on a popular parenting site. I enjoyed reading and participating in the board for about a year or so. Then I started to get overwhelmed with school stuff and other things in my life. I also started to realize that my participation in the board was leaking into my life in unhealthy ways. I would start a thread or comment on a thread and then spend the rest of the day checking obsessively for responses. Usually people would ignore my comments or threads and I would end up feeling somewhat slighted at being ignored. I also found myself getting really emotionally invested in some issues and spending entire days mad at someone for their wrong thinking. It was hard to abandon the board, but I decided that it was best for me if I just walked away. I tend to get obsessed about things so it was hard to just leave it alone. But after a few months I realized that I rarely thought about the board at all and that I had truly left it behind.
Around that time I decided to start a blog because some of my friends had done it. I liked being in control of the content and I liked the fact that most of my readers stuck around because they liked me. I also have enjoyed my little blogging community that I have found with friends and friends of friends. I have no intention of giving up blogging or reading most of the blogs that I frequent. I usually use Google reader so I don't have to spend all day checking blogs for updates. Supposedly that should save me some time.
Over the last few months I have started spending too much time on the internet again. There are a number of good blogs out there that discuss issues that I find interesting. I have enjoyed reading them and the ideas have been quite intellectually stimulating. At the same time, I'm finding myself too absorbed in them to the point that it's getting unhealthy. I spend too much time stepping into my bedroom to read blogs and comments. I get too upset about things some people say or the fact that many of my comments get ignored. I think it's best for me to step out of the discussion and focus on other things right now. I have a lot on my plate as it is.
I'm also trying to improve two areas in my life that I feel are affected negatively by my use of the internet: listening and mindfulness. They are actually related--it's hard to listen to others if you are not practicing mindfulness. I have a problem with listening. I'm the person in the back of the class who always has her hand raised to say something. I think I comment every week in Relief Society. I feel self-conscious about this and I'm trying harder to focus on truly listening to and understanding others. I probably won't stop commenting in class, but I am going to try and stop spending the whole class focusing on finding a spot to interject my brilliant wisdom. That goes along with the idea of mindfulness. Part of the reason why I started spending so much time on the internet was the hours I spent feeding Little Dude or helping him go to sleep. In the first place, he's gotten too wiggly to want to sit quietly with me. The fact that he ripped the Control key off my laptop is a good sign that multitasking isn't working for us anymore. Tonight I tried sitting in the living room looking at books with him while he was winding down for bed. I think we both enjoyed the experience and I was able to really focus on him. I'm trying to improve my focus and spend more time slowing down and savoring the present. I think reducing my internet use will help with that goal as well.
So, this does not mean that I'll stop blogging here at all. I will probably keep contributing occasional posts to Northern Lights; I feel like I have a positive contribution to make there and do not feel like it is distracting to me right now. My readers won't notice a change in my behavior. Hopefully my children and my husband will.