By Kara Eberle
In my professional life, I love learning new things.
I embrace new technology and the latest online initiatives.
At home, I’m the complete opposite.
When I bought my first car in 2000, it had to have a cassette player because most of my music was still on tape.
My husband gave me an MP3 player for Christmas last year, but I didn’t start to use it until May.
And I always wrote out my bills the old-fashioned way — with a pen, a checkbook and lots of stamps.
Several people told me I was crazy. That I should pay bills online. Technology saves time, they told me.
I resisted because my tried-and-true bill-paying technique never let me down. And I live by the rule: If it isn’t broke, don’t change it.
But I finally caved.
I gathered my bills on a recent Friday night and logged on to my bank’s Web page.
I paid one bill. Then another and another.
Before I knew it, I had paid a whole month of bills without writing one check or wasting one (ridiculously priced) stamp.
So I saved time and money. I was sold.
On the same night, I ordered presents for Mara’s fourth birthday from Amazon. I saved time and money again, because it would’ve taken hours to find the specific Dora the Explorer dolls that Mara wanted.
Earlier in the month, I booked Mara’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s online. Time saved again.
So I’m starting to think that technology isn’t so bad after all.
My favorite part about doing things online is that I can do it any time, which is important to me because I have lots of demands on my time.
If I’m not at work, I’m focusing on Mara. If I’m not feeding, bathing or cleaning up after Mara, I’m tending to the house.
This means that I get time to myself around 10 each night.
And I have to deal with my “business” after “normal business” hours.
I’ve often thought that “normal business hours” is a silly phrase. Normal for whom?
When I worked nights for two years, I frequented 24-hour stores because I had to buy diapers at 2 a.m.
“Normal business hours” also didn’t apply to me when I was a new mother, awake with my daughter at all hours of the night and day.
And now that I work during the day every weekday, I still struggle to get my errands done on my lunch break or in those precious few hours before I put Mara to bed.
So I turn to technology.
But, I’m not quite ready to embrace all of the latest gadgets.
I doubt I’ll ever own a Kindle. Reading the printed page is just too fun. Plus, I love the smell and feel of a new book. (Who doesn’t?)
Although I have a subscription to the electronic edition of the newspaper, I still unfold my York Daily Record on the dining room table each morning and read it while I eat my cereal.
Plus, I value my time away from my computer, my cell phone and my e-mail. Even though people can reach me anywhere, anytime, it doesn’t mean that I want to be reached.
I guess it’s just another balance I have to strike in my life.
For now, I’m learning to love technology as a tool to make my life easier so I can spend more time with the people I love.
Kara Eberle is editor of Smart. Sign up for a free subscription to the magazine at www.smartmamapa.com.