single mom

Technology Time Out

Just a quick glance at my Twitter feed will tell you all you need to know: I spend a lot of time on social media. It’s as much as personal choice as a professional necessity that HootSuite runs in the background at all times, no matter what I’m doing. From 7:30 am – 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday I run not one, not two, but six social media accounts and yet I go home and stay connected because it’s part of my life. But it’s not just Twitter and Facebook. I come home from work, throw F the iPad so he can play Angry Birds and we turn on the TV and zone out.

If it was for an hour that’d be one thing. But it’s not.

So yesterday, I turned it all off. The phone. The iPad. The TV and the computer and even the radio and I declared it an 8-hour challenge for F and I. And a challenge it was, believe me. By noon, F was begging for the iPad and my fingers were twitching with the absence of my phone and that’s exactly why I did it. 

But it turned out to be easily one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.


F’s first request for the TV came about a nanosecond after he spotted it upon arriving in the living room this morning. I probably explained that it was a “no TV” or a “no iThing” day two thousand times, repeating over and over that I felt we were spending too much time in front of the various screens in our house. So I pulled out the crayons and brought F’s easel into the middle of the room and we drew shapes and wrote letters and then he got tired of that. So he played with his trucks and I arm-knitted a scarf. We ate breakfast and lunch together and for a long time, I just sat and watched him play.


And then I got more cleaning done in an hour or two than I ordinarily would in a week because there was nothing to distract me. You would never know that this if you saw the apartment before I left this morning, though. Life without technology is real messy. 


And then we dug out the window crayons and decorated the window in the living room. And then we read a story. And then we bundled up as warmly as we could and we shuffled down the stairs and into the car and we drove to the Frog Pond for two hours of fun in the sun and the snow. Somewhere between setting the head on our snowman and breaking off twigs for his arms I realized how busy I’ve been lately and I felt ashamed of myself for sitting next to him while we each stare at our own screen and calling it “together” time. 


One day without technology doesn’t make it all okay, but it inspired me in more ways than one. From now on, we’ll observe a technology time out for a little while every day – even if it’s just me putting my phone away for a few hours at work and letting my laptop sit undisturbed on the table until after the dinner dishes have been cleared. What seems like a small, harmless habit proved to have a big effect yesterday and I know both F and I will be reaping the benefits of our technology-free day all week.

And then I think we’ll do it all again!

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