My daughter sat on the kitchen stool chatting amiably as I chopped, measured and mixed ingredients for dinner. I thought of my own mom who’s a wonderful cook. In my mind’s eye I see her in the kitchen lovingly preparing gourmet dinners, homemade desserts and celebratory feasts. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made by her skilled hands taste better.
I am my mother’s daughter in that I’m quite capable in the kitchen. The problem is I didn’t inherit her love of cooking. At this point in my life I tolerate it at best – a necessary means to an end. In all things domestic, quick and easy is my motto.
I shared these thoughts with my daughter, “When I think of Nanny I picture her in the kitchen.” To which she agreed. Then, I asked her, “When you think of me, where do you picture me?”
“At your computer,” she replied without hesitation.
It’s no secret I love my computer. I use it to work, write, shop, correspond and more. All of these things require lots of B.I.C. (butt in chair) time. But hearing my daughter’s response makes me sad that I’m not giving her a cozier, more nurturing and more delicious version of a mom.
I struggle with how much time I spend on the computer and have tried to set limits, like no computer on the weekend, but that still leaves me sitting at my desk for many, many hours a day. Honestly, breaking away mid-thought or mid-project, is hard. Blogging and “social networking” can be a tremendous time drain.
Case in point, last night I came home from visiting with a friend. It was late, but I did a “quick check” of email before I went to bed and before my husband fell asleep. I saw that someone had written on my “wall” so I clicked over to Facebook to check it out. From there I read the updates which led me to a friend’s page which led me to their friend’s page which led me deeper and deeper into the ethers of Facebook. Forty-five minutes of cyber-stalking later, I headed to be to find my husband sound asleep and myself with nothing of value to show for my time.
Maybe it’s just me and I’m being cranky, but do these drive-by shout outs really improve our lives? Do we really keep up with our 36, 150, 326 or 912 friends? Are our relationships deeper? Do we feel more connected?
Yes, we might catch up with long lost high school friends, faraway family or rarely seen friends, but are these the foundation upon which we build our lives? Or do they steal time away from those that matter most. I think each of us truly want one or two deep, meaningful relationships and not dozens or hundreds of cursory ones.
When I look at my own life and my top three relationships—God, my husband, my children—I have to admit they haven’t improved one bit as a result of “social networking.” My close family and friendships haven't either. If anything, they’ve all received the last scraps of my time as I’ve gotten distracted online.
I’m not drawing a line in the sand where online is bad and unplugged is good, but personally I need to re-evaluate my priorities and how I spend my online time. Am I living each day to fulfill my God-given purpose? To love on the Lord and those He’s blessed me with? And to reach out to others in love.
Unless I change my vocation, I probably won’t be able to change my daughter’s perception of me at my computer. (And maybe I can teach her a thing or two.) But I do need to consciously and deliberately be engaged and available as a mom.
For starters, maybe I’ll make a few more gourmet dinners, homemade desserts and celebratory feasts.
Or maybe I’ll call my mom and ask her to.