Who Moved My Fountain of Youth?

I am having a midlife crisis. Don’t laugh. I am.

After waking up and being shocked that, yes, that old, plump person staring me in the mirror was actually me I decided right there on my 38th birthday to change things. For Gods sake, Madonna is 50 and look at her!

So I went to the gym boot camp thing. I hurt my ankle and had to readjust that goal of losing 25 pounds in 12 weeks to trying not to gain in 12 weeks.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg….

I started researching face creams….don’t laugh, you know you have done it too, or will at some point.

Not me. Picture from about.com

Oh YES! StriVectin seemed like just the right cure. Did you know it is better than botox??? So, I am completely confident that once my face stops looking like the poor girl on the right, I will have a flawless, lifted , and sculpted face. What??? Stop laughing. It is going to happen. It says so right on the $139 bottle!

It was time to look inward as well and so I added a whole new slew of vitamins and mineral and organic, natural somethings or others. Have you seen how healthy the people that shop at Whole Foods look? It is as simple as a few extra acai berries I am told. Once my pee stops being orange I am sure that my body will have cleansed itself of all those awful free radicals that made the StriVectin necessary in the first place.

I still haven’t found a bottle that will stop the kids from growing closer to leaving everyday. I asked at Whole Foods when I picked up the orange pee pills. They seemed baffled as to why I would want to stunt my children’s growth. To be honest, sometimes I am too.

In my quest for the fountain of youth I have gained many things: an orthotic boot,  hydrocortisone , benedryl, and an unsatiable urge to pee orange.I have not gotten younger, thinner, or less toxic.

I give up. Please start forwarding any future snake oil purchases to Garden Grove Nursing Home.

PR Monday: Balancing Act

UGH! It is 5 pm on Monday and I still don’t have my PR Monday Post up. I usually write it on Sunday but we spent the weekend unsuccessfully furniture shopping. This AM I ran to Boot Camp, then ran home, picked up one kid for an appointment, dropped him off, turned right back around and picked up the other. Spent almost 4 hours at the eye doctor and ordering glasses for them both. Looks like the youngest is blind as bat. I feel like a great mother. I swear his eyes were checked two years ago. Then it was off to grab something to put in their growling stomachs and back to Barnes and Noble to get Romeo & Juliet in a version Con could half way understand and A Tale of Two Cities, both need to be read ASAP for K12. PHEEWWW! I am exhausted just typing all that and I still have dinner to make. Which brings me to why Dustin’s guest post could not be more timely!

Spending Too Much Time Online? 5 Tips to Master the Virtual Balancing Act

If you are reading this post, it’s probably safe to assume that you enjoy spending time online. You’re probably a busy parent, and you may even be a fellow blogger.

Do you sometimes feel like maybe you are spending too much of your time on the internet? I know from my own experience how difficult it can be sometimes to find a healthy balance between your activities online and your other responsibilities back in the “real world” of a busy family life.

I certainly don’t have all of the answers. However, as someone who spends a lot of my time blogging to try to provide practical and motivational marriage advice at Engaged Marriage, I do have a lot of experience with this struggle. On top of my online work, I also have a wonderful wife, two little kids (and one on the way), a full-time professional career, a good deal of community service and a lot of other demands for my time.

Sound familiar?

5 Tips to Help Find a Healthy Online-Offline Balance

Whether you are a blogger or just an active reader and member of the online community, it is easy to let your internet time impact your family life. We all know this is not what we want, but what can we do to be proactive and make sure it doesn’t become (or remain) a problem?

Here are some tips that should help keep your spouse happy and your family supportive of your online activities:

1. Make the “Real World” Your Top Priority

I love blogging, and I also love interacting on Facebook and Twitter.

However, you really need to take a step back and make sure you have your priorities straight. If you have a family (and you like them and would prefer that they stick around), you cannot let your blog trump your love and attention to them. Set your priorities, communicate them clearly and then let your actions confirm your good intentions.

2. Set Healthy Boundaries

The best way to stay true to your priorities is to create some boundaries with your time. For example, I have established a “no computer time” rule for myself where I don’t use the laptop (or my smart phone) between the time I get home from work and when we get the kids to bed. By setting up this boundary, I free my time and my mind to enjoy my children, play outside or help my wife out with dinner each evening.

Tell your spouse about your boundaries and encourage them to let you know if they see you slipping and not holding true to your commitments. Your family should be your best accountability partner, and they’ll know better than anyone when they feel like you’re not keeping them your top priority.

3. Sacrifice Personal Time, Not Family Time

Whether you are playing Farmville or running an online business, it’s important that you don’t let your family time suffer as a result of the time you spend online. The best way to handle this and keep a proper balance is to limit your internet use to your own personal time. Maybe you write a blog post instead of watching T.V. or taking a nap, but you shouldn’t be missing your date night with your spouse or your daughter’s soccer practice to play around on Twitter.

4. Set Aside Time to Talk

Aside from our “no computer time” each day, my wife and I have found that setting aside a little time to just talk to each other has been a tremendous benefit to our relationship (which also makes us better parents). Honestly, if you simply commit to spending 15 minutes per day “being a couple,” it can have a meaningful impact on your life together.

I just released a “marriage mini-course for busy people” called 7 Steps to Reclaim Your Couple Time, and it’s totally free if you want to learn more about this idea.

5. Spend Some Online Time Improving Your Offline Life

One of the best things about the internet, and especially the blogging community, is the availability of really high-quality information to help you improve your life. Whether you are reading here at Elementary Spirits, checking out my site or spending time on any of the thousands of incredible sites in the blogosphere (and beyond), you have an opportunity to learn and get inspired to do better in “real life” with your family.

In fact, you are doing that right now…well done! :)

What Additional Advice Do You Have to Share?

I hope that you found these tips helpful in your efforts to find a healthy balance between the time you spend online and offline. I really believe that with the right boundaries and a positive approach, you can enjoy your time online and also have the awesome marriage and healthy life that your entire family deserves.

So, what additional tips would you like to share on this topic?

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Engaged Marriage

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage as source of marriage advice for young couples who want to have a happy family life. Please sign up for free updates and check out the Marriage Time newsletter to become part of a thriving community that is working together to improve everything from their spirituality to their sex lives.

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