I had the realization about a month ago that technology was STEALING my mothering joy right out of my heart and right out of my home.
I realized that when I walk into a room and see one of my children on some kind of technology I often have a reaction of either
- anger (because I’ve told them time and time again to get off of it)
- guilt (because we could be using our time so much better)
- hurt (because they are not obeying me)
- fear (because of what they might be exposed to or what habits they are forming)
- angst (because I realize technology is only going to get more and more prevalent. It ain’t going nowhere and it is already out of control)
- disappointment (because I want them to have more self-control and I want to have firmer boundaries)
- or frustration (because I don’t know what to do!)
The prevalent emotion depends on the
- hour of the day (the earlier in the day the worse I feel)
- the day of the week (the earlier in the week the worse I feel with Sunday being the most guilt ridden day of all)
- and the time of the month (need I say more?).
It really doesn’t matter what my kids are doing on the technology. They could be saving the world. But something about an electronic device in their hands or their eyes on a screen, steals my joy.
I am not saying this is a rational response, but I am saying this is how I often feel.
Contrast these negative emotions to when I walked into my main living area of my home last month. One son was drawing; the other was engaged in pretend play. One daughter was reading from an actual book and the other one was doing school work. In that moment, my heart swelled with joy.
THIS is what I want to see more! THIS is what I want to feel more! THIS is what I want my family to experience! THIS is joy!
After this revelation, I started to note when my joy came and left and it was usually around an electronic device or screen time of some sort. Not to mention all the fights, tantrums, mood swings and disobedience I traced back to those dang things!
So if there is a problem, my nature is to solve it rather than wallow in it.
And the logical conclusion is, if technology steals my mothering joy, then get rid of it or restrict it or monitor it better. Or even simpler, if I want to feel more joy, use technology less.
Another answer might be to change my perception and expectation of technology– change my reaction to it and get with the times or just simply lighten up.
Well, I wasn’t ready to lighten up just yet. ‘Lightening up’ in many situations is dangerously close to ‘giving up’. Furthermore, letting my children spend significant amounts of time in front of a screen goes against my childhood, my personal constitution, my gut, my heart, and my common sense.
It also goes against what research is telling me. I read a couple of articles about what technology does to us and they helped me feel like I wasn’t crazy or super uptight. Here are a few of the articles that I read:
Screentime is Making Kids Moody, Lazy and Crazy
Managing Screen Time Increases Family Joy
Screen Addiction is Taking A Toll on Children
I also read about a family doing a technology detox for a month. It resonated with me and I wanted to try it.
So I introduced the idea of a detox to my family back at the beginning of August. I gave them time to process the idea and let it marinate in their hearts and heads. Everyone was surprisingly on board. Well, mostly, anyway.
We start today! We will go until the end of September.
I will outline the preparations we took and the rules of our particular detox in future posts. (There is no right way to do this. It is up to each family to set their parameters.)We are still deciding how blogging fits into our detox, but we are making exceptions for school and work related technology uses and blogging is in there somewhere.
I’m actually excited! The thief is in jail for 30 days. And I am on a mission to steal my JOY back.
2 thoughts on “Stealing My Joy”
I totally understand. I have these same emotions when it’s happening at my house with adult children. It all may be totally legit but it feels rude, unncaring, self-indulging and inclusive. I used to feel the same about TV and the experiences it robbed my children of having. It is also creating impatience and separation in our already angry and uptight world. I hope your month is sucessful!
This sounds perfect…I would love to hear how the detox is going and some lessons learned.
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