Day 3: Keep Calm and Carry On. This is todays mantra.
Day 3 of hardly any TV/iPad/internet was the first time I've felt some clarity and calmness in a very long time. True calmness felt deep down in my soul that wasn't going to be easily shaken by a toddler wobbler, a random car cutting me off, a mid-day traffic jam or two fighting kids while I'm trying to get dinner on the table. My breath matched my heart beat as I cleaned the kitchen and put away the dishes lost in my own thoughts of writing projects and how to fix our little world. Slow, steady, easy. I throughly enjoyed the sounds of my kids playing together, sharing, chatting with each other, teaching, learning and making big plans of what to do next.
My thoughts were not preoccupied with something negative I had just read online or with something negative someone wrote on a message board or put as their facebook status. Negative words read somewhere carry over into our daily lives long after they were written or even read. There have been many times I'll be lost in thought doing some mundane mom task like folding tiny kid socks, washing out pots and pans or looking for that darn puzzle piece and my mind is racing with thoughts of negative words and images that are swirling around in my head taking up precious positive energy.
It's hard to stay positive sometimes as a mom of little ones. Our days do not really belong to us anymore. Our time is not our own and a free minute is few and far between. So when I do have a few minutes where my brain can shut off to wash dishes while hubby is giving the kids a bath, or do some laundry while they are all outside playing, it's frustrating that my mind can sometimes fixate on something negative I read online. Sometimes I'm thinking of what I'm going to say as a response or a defense to a comment I made or a comment someone else made or sometimes I'm just replaying information and images over and over again of some terrible thing that is going on in our world like the recent Boston Bombings and the need for the media as well as everyday people to share every single detail about it regardless of how disturbing the image is or how disrespectful it might be to the victims and loved ones involved.
I am and have been since the day I was born a sensitive person. This has worked both in my favor as a compassionate human being as well as been an inconvenience during other times in my life. But this is who I am and despite my best efforts to "not let things bother me so much" (something I've heard my whole life that is quite annoying) there is a part of that I can't really control. It's in my DNA. So for me I'm torn because I love how facebook keeps us in constant contact with friends and family but the flip side is also that it keeps us in constant contact with friends and family... and sometimes it's too much like I mentioned in the Day 2 Recap. Especially around voting time or anytime there is a lot of political stuff swirling around - you're going to see heated conversations and rude behavior and comments made that show someone's character way too much and sometimes you wish you really didn't know that much about that person. And these are the people you know and consider friends and some you even love! LOL! Don't even get me started on how absolutely rude, judgmental and cut throat some mothers can be towards one another on a mom's message board full of strangers debating hot button issues like: labor/birthing choices, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, letting baby cry it out vs. rocking to sleep/co-sleeping, circumcision vs. keeping the child in tact, home birth vs. hospital birth, cloth vs. disposable diapers, vax vs. no vax, homeschool vs. traditional school, even organic vs. non-organic food we buy! It's absurd!
Anyway, I'm going off on a terrible tangent and getting way off track.
The bottom line:
Since I'm not going on the internet right now to read any of this useless, negative crap, my mind was free to wander about different writing projects I wanted to start, vacations we want to take, friends I want to get together with, things I want to do with the kids, seeds I want to plant in our farm, projects to do on the house, family I want to try to go see, recipes I want to try, and as always various charities I want to start. Someday I'll do them!
It was a calm, beautiful and magical day spent with family completely submerged in nature and then off to a yummy lunch. We went to our morning class at the nature center and sat on a bench and enjoyed the bustling stillness of dragon flies, hummingbirds, butterflies, birds and our own quiet thoughts. For a few minutes anyway. I do have a 2 year old after all. So he was off and running the entire length of the 1/4 mile walking trail and stopped long enough to squish some bugs with his feet. Shhhhhh...don't tell Lil Miss Nature Girl that her Baby Brother was squishing bugs! She'd never forgive him.
I only got one request all day long to turn the TV on at 3:36pm during our funky, end-of-the-day transition time where mommy needs to make dinner and the kids need to start picking up their toys. But once I reminded her of our "no TV/no iPad challenge" she quickly forgot she even asked me to watch something and was off on another adventure to discover some long lost toy in the toy room. Huge change from the funky, end-of-the-day transition time of Day 1 of Screen-Free Week.
We ended the day with a quiet dinner for 4 at the dinner table that was completely cleared off as opposed to other times where half of it is littered with crafting stuff and papers to go through/bills to write, etc., that have just been pushed to the side to make room for dinner. Also the dishes and pans from making dinner were already done before dinner and cleaned up and put in the dishwasher making after dinner clean up a snap.
After dinner we went for a walk around our neighborhood meeting new cats, collecting sticks, flower pedals and tiny rocks and we even met a little girl down the street the same age who will be joining us at our new school very soon. Plus she has a baby sister the same age as baby brother! Had we been in the house preoccupied with the TV and games on the iPad we would not have met our new friends.
Oh and did I mention that the kids really didn't fight today?
First of all we were out and about for most of the day which always helps and when we were home they played as opposed to fighting over who gets to choose the next show or iPad game. And yes, we play educational games and watch educational shows and Getting Ready For Preschool and Kindergarden type of DVD's too and those have their place for sure. My preschooler was counting by 10's up to 100 the other day and didn't miss one and I have to say I was completely shocked because we haven't really been covering that lately. I asked her if dada had been teaching her that and she said, "No, I learned how to do that by myself from my Getting Ready For kindergarden DVD." It's always awesome when the TV is a positive influence on your child every once in a while. We try to encourage those DVD's most of the time but even I need a break from a heavy documentary every once in a while to watch some mindless reality TV show like The Bachelor or something. I don't expect my kids to be any different.
But today we didn't have any fights. Score!! We did have one electronic game though. At 2:30pm on our 30 minute car drive home I glanced in the kid mirror and noticed my preschooler starting to drift off for a nap and I was going to try anything within my power to stop it short of pulling over for frozen yogurt! I grabbed my smart phone and said, "here you go Birdie. Wanna play Rocket Bird?" "YES! Woo Hoo!! This is AWESOME!! YEA!!!" You would've thought by the way she was celebrating that I gave her the keys to Disneyland and told her that we had the park to ourselves and that she could go on all of her favorite rides without waiting in a single line. (How cool would that be btw?!) She was great when we pulled in the driveway and I told her Rocket Bird was done. She let him crash and she said, "Bonk! I crashed" and laughed and gave me the phone back no questions asked. Shocked.
Another plus today, hubby told me it seemed like I was in a better spot and for the first time in a long time I am.
Day 3 Screen Free Detox complete without a scratch. Looking forward to tomorrow's adventure!
|Every step of the journey is the journey. - Zen saying|