Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

My Life…Unplugged

No, I’m not talking about my limited acoustic guitar-playing skills.¬† ūüôā

We recently returned from a long trip that had its share of amazing scenery, convicting lessons, cherished family time, and “limited e-mail access.”¬†¬†Yes, there were hotel¬†lobby computers available and online access at the home where we spent much of our time on our trip, but I stayed away.¬† In two weeks time, I did little more than check my Facebook home page for a few minutes, once.

With the habits I had developed over the last year of using a borrowed laptop from the comfort of our living room to check e-mail, create work documents, write blog posts, look for information, or anything else that crossed my mind, I was afraid being offline may be difficult.  I made plans to buy a new laptop so I could continue these behaviors without really thinking about the wisdom of that approach.

But, my somewhat-over-analytical decision-making process was too drawn out, and that purchase hasn’t yet been made.¬† With me being to, um, frugal to buy a replacement battery for my older laptop, that means our computer work is now limited to our home office, a room that is rather off-limits for our little one due to the horrible disarray (okay, disastrous mess), so I can’t be online and also with her.¬† The speed of this older¬†computer is also sometimes a deterrent as the delays make us question if our inquiry is really important enough to sit down and wait for the answer.

Sometimes I marvel at our cordless society.  I grew up with land-line telephones with cords.  I remember getting up to change the TV channels (channels 2-13 since we lived in town and had cable).  Laptops were not yet available.  (Had they been imagined yet?)  Cell phones, when I was in college, were kept in large bags and were usually used in cars or, in the house where I lived, by the girls to talk to their boyfriends long-distance for free after 9 p.m.

With all our wireless options today, though, are we not even more tethered to our devices? 

I was refreshed by stepping away for a while.

I didn’t obsess over my inbox or how many people were or were not visiting this site.¬† I didn’t worry about taking two weeks away from posting.

Instead, I¬†talked with our family that lives out-of-state.¬† I tried to help with the work that we had gone out there to do.¬† I visited with a dear friend across her dining room table while¬†our toddler ran in a circle around her house, entertaining us.¬† I talked with and hugged my mother-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer’s.¬† I discussed Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar with my 15-year-old niece while she worked to complete her homework.¬† I even washed dishes.¬† ūüôā

So, the lessons for me have been:

  1. I need to be intentional with my time online.  Am I letting these resources distract or really help me accomplish what is most important in my life right now?
  2. The constraints we have in place at our house are not necessarily bad.  They may keep help me be more disciplined and focused on the tasks and people who are much more important.
  3. I need to limit my computer time, regardless of when it takes place. ¬†What I’ve been finding the last couple of days is I’m still getting sucked into spending too much time on the computer, though it’s after everyone else is in bed. ¬†The danger in that for me is I am not able to wake up as early or as refreshed as I need to be in order to be in God’s Word before I start the day with little Clara. ¬†When I’m tired, my patience is shorter. ¬† And, when I’m still not getting other things accomplished (Right now I have a LOT of sorting and organizing to do before Baby comes.), I get more stressed and frustrated.

I do hope to be able to write a post each weekday, but I’m not going to let it be my top priority right now.