Archive | July, 2015

First Day

27 Jul

First day at the new job! Eeeeee!

Will first days EVER stop making me a bundle of nerves?

By the time this posts, I will be in the midst of my morning commute. Y’all wish me luck!

My Social Media Addiction

26 Jul

Before the new job thing, I had actually taken some steps toward changing one major issue in my life: my social media addiction.

I don’t use that word lightly. I think many folks picture addicts as salivating idiots, desperate for a hit of their drug (or technology, as it were) of choice. It’s entirely possible to be addicted to technology or social media, especially, I think, if one is prone to addiction anyway. There have been a few addicts in my extended family, so I imagine I’m predisposed to it.

A few months ago, I had a hard realization: I was paying more attention to my phone, iPad and computer than I was to my kids. It was an escape, a brainless, mind-numbing toy for the end of hard days. I think it started when I was on maternity leave last fall and often sitting in a dark room holding a sleeping baby for hours on end; it was a way to pass the time and stay connected. By the time maternity leave ended, I was pretty well hooked.

I’d always been a heavy social media user, but this was more extreme. I checked my phone constantly throughout the day. I left Facebook running in the background while I was at work, justifying it in my mind because I was in charge of a Facebook account for my employer. Every time a notification would pop up, I clicked over, and it wasn’t unusual for me to realize 10 or 15 minutes later that I’d been reading through my newsfeed without ever having intended to do so.

I decided I would quit. I had big plans of leaving my iPad at work, putting my phone on the charger as soon as I got home, sticking to a regiment of 45 minutes of work and 15 minutes of play (which I’ve read somewhere is a good habit?). That lasted a few days. I would even lay in bed and read on my phone. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I checked Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It was not healthy.

The kicker was when I was in the room with my kids and could completely ignore them in favor of whatever hot topic was trending. Or how I would spend a large amount of time capturing the perfect photo to show all my “friends” online how great things were.

Smoke and mirrors. That’s all it was.

Because as I was taking pictures of my kids, they were pleading for my attention – and not getting it. I would snap at them for daring to interrupt me while I was clearly doing something else.

I read something online (I think it was shared on Facebook, actually) about how parents who are heavy users of technology interact with their children. A study found that they were much more likely to be short-tempered and impatient because they felt like there were being constantly interrupted.

So I decided to do something about it. I had good motivation. I logged onto eBay and bought a used flip phone. I sold my iPhone. Bobby actually hopped on board and got a flip phone, as well. I culled my Facebook friends list from about 1000 down to around 250. I left a Facebook group that, while it was an awesome and supportive group of moms, was taking a lot of my time and attention. I left several other Facebook groups and hid many other groups and pages from my newsfeed so I wouldn’t mindlessly browse them. I also culled my Twitter list, though it wasn’t quite so extreme.

I wouldn’t say these changes have completely solved the problem, but they have helped significantly. Bobby has commented when we’ve been out and about with the kids how much more fun it is for me to be engaged with them instead of trying to post photos to Instagram. I sit on the floor and play with them instead of looking at pictures of other people’s kids on Facebook.

Over the summer I took a class on communication, culture and technology, and it was really helpful in being able to remember the good of technology. It’s all about balance. I love technology, and I don’t anticipate ever leaving social media completely. The decisions I’ve made in recent months have been decisions that were right for me and my family; they might not be right (or necessary!) for others.

When I start my new job, the company will be providing me with a smart phone. It’s going to be a test of willpower not to simply lapse back into old habits, and I hope I’m up for it. If nothing else, I am at least aware of the problem.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

25 Jul

So I got a new job.

After four years of working at a public university, I’m diving into the private sector. I will admit to being a little (OK, more than a little) shocked at the salary difference. The position is a step up, too, so of course that helped. (For anyone who is curious, I will be part of an internal communication team for a large company. I’m not going to name my new employer here.)

This change has such potential for our family. We have debt. We have some bad habits that we would like to change.

We are moving, most likely into an apartment. We’ve picked out a new day care for the kids, and we are incredibly excited about it (it’s a Primrose School — look them up if you haven’t heard of them, they are amazing). I’m in the process of upgrading my wardrobe, which I am admittedly rather clueless about. I got a haircut that may be my favorite haircut I’ve ever gotten.

A lot of stuff will be happening before the end of the year, which is when we plan to make the move to the bigger city where my new job is, about an hour from where we live now. We own our current home, and with the help of our Realtor friend, we are planning to rent it out rather than selling. Regardless, we have renovations that need to be completed first, and we have a basic game plan for that.

We also are realizing how much stuff we own, so we are planning a yard sale in October, and I’m selling at our local children’s consignment sale for the first time next month.

Our budget gets a lot easier now, and if we aren’t total idiots with our money, we should not be living month-to-month. We are hoping to save $5,000 by the time we move (half of which we anticipate using for moving expenses). We also want to start paying off our debt.

It’s a big opportunity for our family, and we are looking at it as something that will hopefully be a starting point for other life changes, like healthier eating and regular exercise.

I’m excited about what’s coming.