My name is Slummy Mummy and I’m an internet addict: the tale of a mousewife

How can you tell if you’re an internet addict?  Is it by the amount of time you spend on the internet, or is it ok if you’re using it for work?  Is it by the number of times you hit the refresh button, or is it a more physical measurement – does the tidiness of your house fall in direct relationship to your increasing number of clicks?  Whichever way you look at it, I think the advent of social media specifically, and the internet in general, play a major role in making me the slummy mummy that I am.

I recently stumbled across the term “mousewife.”  What a great word!  It really conjures up all sorts of images.

The Industrious MousewifeThere’s your industrious mousewife – the one you find running on the wheel each day staying fit and trying to make the most of her time in the cage.  She works hard, six hours a week, to earn some much needed cash in what may otherwise be a one income household in a two income world.  Selling goodies she no longer needs, completing market research, writing reviews, she works hard for, on average, a little over an hour a day to provide a little extra for her family.

The Well Balanced MousewifeThen there’s the sleepy mousewife, lying dormant through the day but sparking into life at night when she noses about all over, looking for some juicy titbits.  She’s struck a balance where she uses the internet for socialising in the evening but is also perfectly capable of running a normal life in her other waking hours.

Internet Addict MousewifeBut my favourite is the furtive little mousewife, compulsively checking her ears, wiping her face, rubbing her paws, keeking out of her hiding place all day to see what’s happening, who’s watching, and making sure there’s no chance that she’s missing anything.  The one who has five internet tabs open, minimum, to make sure that she keeps:


  1. instantly up to date with all her favourite tweeps (probably people who are equally hooked on the adrenaline rush from a reply, retweet or, wow!, a DM!),
  2. an eye on the wee flash that tells her she has a new notification on Facebook, because Heaven forbid that she should not reply instantly and perhaps leave someone hanging for a response about whether they should do their washing or eat a biscuit for more than a second.  What a buzz when she realises that she has replied practically before the sender has entered their comment!  And she can’t run the risk of someone being offended that she hasn’t “liked” every single one of the 237 photos of their visit to their granny.
  3. her finger on the pulse of every page view, click and comment of their stat page for their blog, ready to approve a comment and throw a party when there’s a new follower.
  4. herself involved in every forum post of her favourite website, trying to formulate a “witty” reply which will, in turn, make people reply to her posts.
  5. the facts at her finger tips with Google at the ready to search for anything new that crops up because of the other four pages that are open.  She cannot miss an opportunity to learn something new after all.

I think she’s my favourite because, if I’m honest, she’s me.  But this furtive little mousewife, for all that it’s easy to laugh, may well be in the grips of an internet addiction.

Imagine she was secretly, compulsively eating junk food – stuffing wrappers down the side of the couch to be dealt with when no one is watching, eating entire packets of chocolate biscuits then dashing to the shops to buy another packet to replace it before anyone notices (and then eating another couple out of the new packet so no one knows it’s a different pack), finding ways to cram bingeing in at every possible moment, all the while maintaining the appearance to the wider world of someone who just nibbles on apples and bananas all day.  If we knew someone living like that, day in day out, then we’d probably be worried they had an eating disorder.

Or what if they were drinking at all hours of the day, ignoring the other jobs that need dealt with in order to sneak those little sips, or maybe down the full bottle?  We’d be supportive and try to help them realise that they have a problem.

Perhaps we should be as supportive and understanding of those who seem to be permanently online.  Those who must have little ridged home key indents in their index fingers from being ever ready to update/post/comment/tweet.  We need to help her realise that her time spent online has reached the unhealthy stage.  We need to show her that twitching for her smartphone after a five minute absence from her laptop is not a good sign.

So, after taking a long hard look at my internet tabs, the size of my ironing pile and the state of the kitchen I can see that I don’t have the balance right.  It’s time to take steps (and maybe make myself a timetable…) to beat this monster that I am becoming. They say that the first step in recovering from an addiction is to recognise that you are addicted.  To realise that you can’t control the compulsion to update your Facebook status.  So, right here, right now I stand before you and say:

“Hello, I’m Slummy Mummy and I’m an internet addict.”


19 responses to “My name is Slummy Mummy and I’m an internet addict: the tale of a mousewife

  1. Great post, I like to think that I’m the industrious mousewife but in reality I tend towards the furtive mousewife, and it’s got a lot worse since I started blogging! It’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re on the computer, and how much you can get done if you just switch off for a short time.

    • I like to think that, too. A quick glance around tells me that’s not the case though. Maybe one day… Fingers crossed. I find that I get totally sucked in – what starts as 2 mins of work becomes so much lost time.

  2. Hello Slummy Mummy. If you are reading this I suspect that you may have fallen off the wagon. Please do not beat yourself up about it. Just step away from your computer and erm, go and have a meeting with yourself.

    My name is Bibsey Mama and I (too) am an internet addict. It has been less than a day since my last blog post. I think that your post will resonate with the vast masses of bloggers, tweeters and fb addicts. Good luck with not being furtive.

    • Lol, I’m reading this because I spotted an email about it… but I would probably have checked it soon anyway! It’s just so compulsive but I’m managing to get better – in fact, I’ve had panicked phone calls from my parents because I’ve not been on Facebook as much (which also says a lot a out how much they’re on)! I’ve written lots of blogs in my head but I’m trying hard to limit what I do online – not just because it can’t be healthy but because it’ll bore the pants of everyone.


  3. Oh god. That’s terrible. How dare you write about me like this without my permission.
    Noooo! I’m trying to be witty now and you’ve got me on that too!!
    GREAT post. I am particularly addicted to my smart phone and am trying to tone it down now. New blog was everything for the last two months, but now I’m slowly weaning myself off the stats page. Look forward to seeing more from you 🙂

    • So glad it’s not just me! I think it’s my smartphone that made everything worse. I try so hard to give up checking but, like eating chocolate, I can only resist for a day or so at most. So sad.

      As for looking forward to seeing more, that’s now so much pressure. If it tickled you it was a bit of a fluke, to be honest. I keep my fingers crossed though…

  4. Oh dear, I’m heading that way too! Was a healthy sceptic until three months ago when I fell into blogging and because of the blogging I fell into Twittering and these, coupled with an unwholesome fetish for the Met Office online weather maps, means that the house is uncleansed, the fridge empty and we’ve run out of loo roll. Have stooped so low as to commit to a once-a-month cleaner, having told my husband I have too much work (am actually too busy checking stats/tweets/snow forecasts). Unlike you, though, I’m all slummy and no yummy!

    • The internet is really sneaky about stealing your time. It starts out with a random status update, then one day you have several profiles running at once and you can’t leave the laptop/smartphone alone for compulsively refreshing. I’d love a cleaner but we’re too skint. And trust me – there’s no way you’re slummier than me.

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