3/4/09

WFMW- Time's UP!

Posted on Wednesday~March 4, 2009

Miles was eating at the kitchen table and I was standing at the counter staring into the vortex that is my laptop. I'm sure I was twittering or blogging when Miles said, "I miss Daddy."

I stopped short and looked at his cherub face. "I do too, sweetie."

"Yeah, for now Asher and me will just play with each others and you will do grown up stuff and we'll just wait."

I wanted to throw the computer in the garbage at that moment. Because he's right. I don't play enough. Daddy is the playing guy, so when he's out of town for work, there's a lot of boredom going on in here. And I do spend too much time on the computer sometimes, I know that. So lately I've been doing something new.

I'm using a timer. It sits right next to me. It's an old-fashioned one, you know the kind. It actually ticks each second out loud and then rings like an old school bell. I love it. I can spend time with the boys or do laundry or dishes or meals and take my ten minutes here and there at the computer without ten minutes turning into an hour. I set the timer, I read through a few blogs and I stop when the bell goes off. And the fact that it ticks the whole time, reminds me to finish up what I'm doing, knowing that I'll be getting off-line soon.

(Hat tip to my friend Debbie for giving me this idea.)
Maybe it's a bit sad that I need to monitor myself like this, but I'm just keeping it reals here, folks. Winter is long. There are lovely friends in my computer. I like to visit them. Too much.

I'm not able to keep up the way I used to now that I'm limiting myself more. But man, do I feel better. Especially when I see Miles' face light up when the timer goes off. We start a game of hide and seek, read a book, or play cars and it's good.

I wrote In defense of Mommy Bloggers recently and still whole-heartedly believe blogging can be a very healthy thing. And like I said there, every mom knows when her priorities are slipping. My little timer helps mine stay in order. And I needed that.

Now excuse me, I have to go. My bell just rang...

It works for me.


For more Works-For-Me Wednesday posts, visit Kristen at We are THAT family.

50 clicked right here to comment:

Annette Lyon said...

That's a really great idea.

Keyona said...

Great idea! Hey as long as it works for you and helps keep those babies happy!

LisAway said...

I sometimes do this too. Actually, my egg time is ticking next to me even as I type, but that's for the cupcakes I have in the oven. I also use the timer when I'm typing up articles. Hearing that ticking somehow makes my brain work faster/better/more focusedly and I can write one in 20 minutes instead of over thirty. Works for me!

I'm reforming my blogging time too, since just cutting back has proven really hard. I will mostly blog when the kids are sleeping. Either early in the morning, during Aaron's nap, or after they go to bed in the evening. Normally I just run to the computer to check if someone's posted something lately and someone always has and I just seem to be on here all the time.

So basically what I'm saying is that the timer is a good idea. And that I'm sorry I always seem to leave mile long comments on your blog.

Kristina P. said...

You always have great ideas for setting priorities.

Rach@In His Hands said...

I've been a timer gal for a few months now. I'm in love with that little ticker. It keeps me on task, not just at the computer, but in other tasks, too.

Works for me. :-)

Kazzy said...

Moms know their priorities, and somewhere in their is ourselves.

Mammatalk said...

Oh, wow, that's a great idea.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

I'm relating all over the place here. :) I need to get a timer. I'm not great at balance and will power and all of that crazy but necessary stuff.
Great idea!!

Kim said...

I think it is very interesting that you posted this today. I wrote about priorities on my blog today. They totally go hand in hand.

NorahS said...

I learned that little trick from FlyLady. Thanks for reminding me. I am SO in need of it right now.

Sue said...

Good for you. I think a lot of times we kid ourselves into thinking we're not spending as much time at it as we are. It's so easy to rationalize the time wasting. I'm a huge blogging fan (obviously) and I think there are many wonderful things about it - but I also think its incredibly easy to let it get out of hand.

A while back I reformed my bloggy ways - I make no more than 10 comments a day, EVER. Posting two or three times a week, max - usually only late at night after the kids are in bed. It was something I personally really needed to do, and I feel better now that I've done it.

Becky said...

Good for you! I feel like I'm in my bloggy groove - I write at night (when both kids are in bed) and comment in the morning (when Millie is still asleep). Riley knows I get about 45 minutes on the computer and then I'm done for the day.

It totally beats the just-ten-more-minutes-that-turns-into-another-hour thing.

Kimberly said...

I'm stealing this idea. Pronto.

imadramamama said...

I have this same problem. I just recently dowloaded some software that would help me limit my computer time. So far it's working...

LexiconLuvr said...

We use a timer for a lot of things. Our autistic twins get "sucked" into a project and literally don't hear us when we tell them it's time to be done. So we instigated a "timer" to help them focus and move on to other tasks. Pity I never thought to use it on myself. ;) I'll have to hop on that!

Jenn said...

I struggle with this too. The computer calls my name way to often. This week I started implementing more restrictions, because I feel that it is taking me away from my children and household duties way too much.

Abra said...

I so totally am feeling you. Everything in moderation right!?! Although, I logged in yesterday to get a new hair idea for Piper's hair and I accidentally left my computer logged on to the blog, and I'm SURE that when she looked on her sitemeter she was wondering why some chick from Alberta was on her blog for five hours... oops!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Great minds think alike! :) I actually have 3 timers on my current shopping list because I wanted to do the same thing. One for my computer. One for my kids' computer/Leapster time, and one for time-outs (I kind of get caught up in the quiet and forget they're in there!). The priority thing is SO important and a constant struggle to get it right.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Awesome idea!

Jessica said...

I use our little timer for so many things:

1. time-outs for the boys
2. reminder for the boys that it's time to get ready for bed
3. computer time
4. cleaning time (seriously, I set the timer for 15 minutes and really hustle, then I sit for 15 minutes, and start over until my house is clean)

Thanks for posting about this. It's a great tool!!

Melanie J said...

I don't think it's sad that you have to do that. I think it's great that you think to do that at all.

BaronessBlack said...

Cool! We use ours to solve disputes when two kids are fighting over the same toy. One child gets to set the timer (usually to 5 minutes), and the other gets to play with the toy. Then when the alarm goes, the toy is handed over and the other child gets to set the timer. Very fair!

Jen said...

I like this. I do something similar. I can only blog while the kids are asleep. And I just don't do housework, period. ;)

Nina said...

I need to do that because it is the same in my house. Dad is the fun one and mom... not so much. A timer would do me good because it is so easy to turn it into an hour or more.

Jillene said...

Great idea Heather!! I have been limiting myself as well. Which meand that I miss posts and don't comment but that's o.k. We do what we gotta do!!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I sometimes use a timer, too. At any rate, I think whatever serves you and your family the best is what you should do. Your needs are important and their needs are important. Trying to balance the needs of everyone in the household has always been the mother's dilemma--just the details change. I love the thought of Miles' face lighting up! What a great thing he is learning from this--that he can be a priority and so can you!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Great idea! It lets the kids know they don't have too long to wait, either.

Motherboard said...

I love that you do this Heather! I have been doing the same thing. Its so easy to get caught up in our online friends and miss out the relationships right in our own homes!

You are amazing!

pam at beyondjustmom said...

LOVE the timer, for all things. It also works well for hubbys in the home office.
It's nice to come back and catch up on your goings on. I can totally relate to your dilemma about baby #3. I don't think we ever really know for sure, but I do believe that He does. It's a topsy turvy journey.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

You know this is a struggle of mine, too. I employ similar methods. And if all else fails, I turn the computer on hibernate and put it AWAY. I've done that a lot the last few weeks.

Kelline said...

That's why I try not to use the computer at home. I usually only blog on work days, at work....shh don't tell on me!

Kelline said...

That's why I try not to use the computer at home. I usually only blog on work days, at work....shh don't tell on me!

Lisa said...

Its hard to keep a balance. I work from home, so I'm on the computer a bunch for work, too. I don't want my kids to remember their mom for all the time she spent sitting in front of a black box.

BUT, I love the friendships and connections and "me time" that blogging gives me.

I guess I'm agreeing. Putting a preset limit on is a great idea!

Peanut said...

That's a genius idea! I'm so not the fun one... partly because I get bored too easily, but also partly because I get distracted too easily. I like the idea of having time limits. I love my online community and don't know how I'd survive without it... I get so lonely sometimes. But it is so easy to get selfish and want the extra time with my friends instead of my kids. So I'm going to try the ten minute rule and see what happens. I bet it'll work for me too!
(um, I'm out of the loop. Did Wfmw move?)

Rona's Home Page said...

It's a great idea to limit one's computer time. Great idea!

Debbie said...

I am so happy I inspired you!
And if I didn't set that timer, I'd be on here all day. I just love timers so much:)

Muthering Heights said...

That's a good idea! It's sooooooooooo easy to get sucked in...

minnesotamom said...

Great idea--I used to do that to myself with the microwave timer, but I have forgotten to recently and spent WAY too much time online.

Farrah from Wife and Mom of 3 said...

That's a great idea! So what's your time limit? Multiple times during the day or one time for so much time?

Farrah from Wife and Mom of 3
http://wifeandmomof3.net

Shauna said...

I am new here! What a great blog :)

Mrs. Dunbar said...

I do the same thing. Have to have a timer or else I'd spend hours reading the EO blog...

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Even if you are a Grammie that is a great idea ;0) Balance is what it is all about!

Becky said...

I love this idea--and will have to bring my timer in my office with me. My kids thank you. My husband thanks you. Even I thank you! Love your blog!

MoziEsmé said...

Love this idea!

I've actually started limiting myself to 1 hour per day checking out other blogs (unless I get unexpected free time) - because otherwise I am ALWAYS feeling behind and wanting to catch up. This way, when I'm done with my hour, I can check it off my list and move on with my life. Though I've having a hard time finding that 1 hour of uninterrupted time... I need one of those cumulative stop watches.

Rachael said...

i just read that you won the $250 gift card....congrats!!!

Alicia W. said...

I think I'll get me a timer at Target today. That's a great idea!

Eowyn said...

Speaking of timer, mine just went off for my bread and to pick up my kids from school!

That Girl in Brazil said...

Fabulous, fabulous idea.

Although right now all the kids are in bed. But TOMORROW I will use this fabulous, fabulous idea ...

Tooj said...

I am the same way. :) I don't have a timer, but I have decided to stop getting online when I get home from work until after the kids are in bed. That way, I get to devote 2 solid hours (yup, just two) to being with them. It usually involves cooking dinner, scolding somebody, telling another to stop crying, forcing them to stop playing to eat dinner, bathing, and hopefully a book or some lap time. Last night they got Daddy outside play time though. It's tough, but do what you gotta do...timer is a good friend, and we'll all still be here. :)

charrette said...

Balance is that perpetual, elusive quest. But this small step sounds like a giant step for womankind. Great idea.

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