I am ashamed to admit that on my honeymoon- yes, my HONEYMOON– I struggled to disconnect from the world…my job, social networks, incoming emails. There was no wifi in the (stunning) rooms and to connect I had to go to a small dark windowless office off the hotel lobby to log in to the resort’s guest computer. I sat in that little room more than I would like to admit. I hate being disconnected.
On my daily commute there is a period of my train ride, oh about 8 minutes or so long, where we are under the East River and have no cellular connection. And of course there’s no wifi on the Long Island Rail Road (one can dream that someday…). Even for this short period of time I get anxious. Not about the thousands of pounds of water just a few feet over my head but because I can’t see what’s going on. For 8 minutes I can’t just sit and relax with my own thoughts to entertain me.
My name is Terra, and I am an addict. For real.
The first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do (before kissing my sweets goodnight) is something digital. Check my email. See who pinged me on Facebook. See what tweets have come through or what breaking news is happening . While this is a great trait to find in a social media manager, it’s not perhaps very nice to be married to. Or the child of.
The reality is I love what I do, I enjoy it. I like to think I am pretty good at it too, which makes it all the more fun. So now, as the time is quickly approaching for me to shift gears for a little while to focus on the little one about to burst from my loins, I am starting to feel anxious. Yes, about the regular new-mamma stuff but also about what it will be like to not HAVE to check in to my social streams, emails and network 100 times a day for 12 whole weeks. To not have to worry about this presentation or that conference call. To not be spending my free time thinking about my projects and strategies. I think it’s going to be really hard to make that shift.
When I recently suggested to my boss that I set up a weekly call with the contractor coming in to handle my tasks while on maternity leave he quickly said, “No. Enjoy this time. You only get this opportunity once to bond with your baby. Don’t schedule any meetings.” He’s right, as usual, but immediately my heart rate went into overdrive. How will I know what’s happening? This makes me physically uncomfortable. But I am slowly realizing that this is important – the ability to disconnect with the digital and reconnect with the actual is something that I have to learn to do, and learn to enjoy. If I don’t figure out how to do that now, I may miss the good stuff. The real stuff happening right in front of my eyes.
How many days in to my maternity leave will I stop unconsciously reaching for my laptop and cell phone? Any guesses?