There’s this commercial where an interviewer asks kidlets what’s better – doing one thing at a time, or two things at once. Here, take a peek:
This breaks my heart a bit. May I share a secret with you?
Sometimes I want to completely unplug and run away with my family. I want The Boy to grow up on a farm on the edge of woods, with a creek running through it. I want to lie in bed with Husby at night, the homespun curtains gently fluttering with the breeze, stars twinkling, crickets chirping. I want to paint, write a book, bake bread, and call my friends & family from a plug-in-the-wall phone in the kitchen. No Twitter or Facebook or keeping up with blogging.
That sounds totally extreme for a social media manager and blogger. But doesn’t it also sound absolutely fantastic?! Really, deeply think about it. No incessant noise coming from all electronics. No easily comparing your life to the next mom, the one who edits hers using a rose-colored filter before posting. None of the stress that comes with the joy of this media-centric world. And much, much less doing more than one thing at a time.
My boss, Paul, has challenged me to think about the other side of media use. Honestly, I haven’t been able to give it much thought beyond, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea.’ But his charge, along with the twang in my gut when I see that commercial, makes me think that something may be changing in our hearts, in our brains. At times, it’s physically difficult for me to do one thing at a time, and that scares me. How will I raise my son to focus on a project, read a book, write a paper, or listen to a friend well, if I’m unable to? What is happening in my actual grey matter when only doing one thing can make me twitchy?
Now, lest you think I’m a total addict, be assured that it’s the presence of the impulse that’s unsettling to me, not the actual inability to focus on one thing at a time. But I think back to my college days, when I would read thick books (including a few by the guys I now work with!) and write pages of term papers without the distraction of Facebook or Twitter. My mind was sharper, my hands calmer, my heart less tempted to compare.
I want that back.
The liturgical season of Lent is upon us. I didn’t grow up in a tradition of giving something up for Lent; however, in the last few years I have tended to add something. A specific book to read, a prayer practice, something of that sort. This year my focus is on nursing my son. I am still nursing my 14mo Boy a few times a day (usually three times), and I’m realizing that it won’t last forever. Any feeding could be his last – it’s up to him. When I was exclusively breastfeeding him (8-10 times a day until he was nearly 7mos old), I watched a lot of seasons of TV on my phone, read books, or popped in a movie. Lately I’ve found myself using our nursing sessions to check in on my medias, especially Instagram and Twitter.
My Lenten practice has been to stop. To do nothing but nurse my baby. Because he won’t be a baby for much longer, and he deserves my attention. Because I’m becoming more and more convicted about what I want to model for him, and twitchy hands ain’t it. Because I don’t want him to end up on that commercial someday, sure that two things at once is better.