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Screen-Free Week April 30 - May 5, 2013 - Day 2: "Mommy, What's a Hypocrite?"
DISCLAIMER: This is a potty mouth post. If you read my other stuff you will know that this is not my norm. But I'm detoxing (or trying to anyway) from all things internet/TV/iPad games/Facebook/Twitter...and it's not easy. This post kind of goes off the rails there at the end.
So there you go.
Day 2. Hmmmm how do I word this so I don't sound like a terrible mother. ? I can't really think of a clever way so I'll just tell ya how it all went down.
Early Morning on Day 2 of Screen Free Week:
"Kids, mommy is really tired because I didn't get enough sleep last night so I'm feeling pretty fussy and sleepy (Side note: I had the most wicked insomnia last night. It's like I'm pregnant or something.) I'd love to sleep a bit more so I don't have a tantrum. If you please stay in here and snuggle in bed with me you can watch Disney Junior on the iPad for a bit while mommy closes my eyes for a bit longer. Sound good?"
"Awesome! We get to watch the iPad???!!!"
(...but is it really?)
So there's that. On Day 2. Of Screen Free WEEK - meaning a whole 7 days in a row without any screen time....and on Day 2 the kids started the day off with screen time.
Oh and then there was the time where I played the game of "do as I say, not as I do." Yea, that always goes over well. Kinda like when this happens:
Mommy: "Kids, it's important to eat something healthy for breakfast to start the day off right. Have some scrambled organic kale with melted kale and a side of kale. Drink up your kale kids, it's time to go to school."
Kids: "Uhhh...Mommy, are you having cold pizza and ice cream in your coffee for breakfast?"
Mommy: "We ran out of eggs and creamer.....??????"
So yes, as you've read I told my kids they can't watch TV or play the iPad because we're taking a break from it for the Screen Free Week Challenge. However, MOMMY was going to blog about our suffering the whole week. On top of that, I was blogging some paragraphs and notes for future Screen Free Week blog posts while the kids were waiting for me to get off the computer to go outside and do something fun. Nice.
Total Hypocrite Mom Fail.
So after I made myself a mid-morning cappuccino and cleared the fog from my brain I packed the kids up and we all piled in the car with our sand toys and bathing suits and beach towels and headed to the ocean for some very much needed fresh air. It was on our drive to the beach that I thought, "What the hell am I doooooing??!! I'm totally, 100% completely missing the boat here on what Screen Free Week even means. Blogging everyday for the whole- for what? For who?! No one is even online reading this right now because everyone is doing the Screen Free Week Challenge!...right?"
Maybe it was Miss Preschooler calling me out saying, "Mommy, we've been waiting for you!" to bang the final shitty nail into the shitty coffin of my shitty "screen time" guilt that did it. Maybe it was the need for other things to change and detox and get better in my life (like my overall health and well being) to make me realize we REALLY need to do this as a family and we need to do it right. It's not just the kids who need a TV/iPad/Netflix detox. It's mommy who needs a facebook detox. If all I did was blog, that would be great because at least I'd be creating something. But that is not all I'm doing. I'm wasting so much fucking time on facebook it's not even funny. Free time. Precious free time that mom's of little ones have so little of and how do I spend it? Scrolling through the facebook news feed. Now with a smart phone that has alerts and dings and buzzers and notifications you are constantly updated 24/7 to everyone in your friends list as well as all of the pages you "like" all hours of the day. "So and so just passed gas. Here's a link." As I'm sure you know since all anyone has to do is go to the park and check out the parents sitting on the benches with their heads bent over a cell phone to see that everyone has a smart phone now.
Realization: My house is suffering for it, my health is suffering for it. So basically, (and honestly) my life is suffering for it. It's time for me to look this square in the eye and face the facts about it. The hard cold, punch you across the mouth facts about it and stop trying to stay in denial because that isn't helping anyone. It's hurting in fact. Hurting a lot in many different ways. Mommy's not perfect kids - far from it and I'm sorry that I have let this stupid social networking site become the sun that we all revolve around, however I may try to justify it to myself. It needs to stop. I have to be honest with myself, evaluate this whole thing, weigh the pros and cons of being plugged in 24/7 and really admit some shit to myself, get real and look at what is happening and how it's crumbling. I know it's not just me. I know it's most of the free world that is feeling this way. I think many of us feel the walls closing in around us in some way while we try to hold on to some shred of privacy.
Reality: When you make the minute-by-minute decision to live your daily life online, there is no such thing as privacy.
Reflection: Is it worth it? Is this totally connected yet very disconnected life we've created for ourselves working in our benefit? Am I the only one who finds a conversation (in person) a bit awkward when it's with someone who in real life is just an acquaintance but on facebook is the exact same as everyone else on your profile from your spouse, and siblings, blood relatives, college friends, friends from childhood, work friends, former co-workers down to the friend of a friend's friend you just met at a party - these are all considered your "facebook friends" - it can be a bit strained and awkward though, no? I mean, you don't really even know this person, yet you know intimate things about them - and they know intimate things about you too. Most likely you've viewed about 1000 of their photos from the intimate childbirth photos to the drunken Halloween party with the girls in Vegas photos, you know that they just got promoted, you know that their child has been potty training and had an accident in the isle at Target, you know their grandpa just died and their car broke down, their 10th anniversary was last week and their sitter cancelled so they ordered take out. On top of that you know every single detail of their religious and political views whether you want that information or not - all via facebook status updates and pictures they've willing shared and posted- yet in person we all pretend we never saw it when they mention it in conversation to avoid seeming like a total stalker. Or maybe we were just an insomniac lurker at 2:30am combing through facebook profiles and never actually "liked" or commented on anything so we don't want them to know we already know! But you know that they know that we know. Everybody knows.
OK, I'll try to pull the nose up on this one.
So I've made some small steps towards change that I'm hoping will turn into a bigger impact over all in my life.
Taking Small Steps To Change: I've disabled all notifications and alerts and dings and buzzers on my smart phone. When I "wake it up" to see the date/time, that is all I see. So it's easy to shut it back off and put it in my pocket. I no longer see that someone updated their profile pic or that someone commented on something or "liked" a new page or whatever else is going on in the world that never sleeps - aka The Internet. In the past seeing 5-8 notifications on my very first screen of my phone could have very easily added a good 10-15+ minutes on to whatever task I was right in the middle of when the dings chimed to alert me to something someone did on facebook.
I love you, but I do not need this much information about you.
I'm looking forward to more small steps in the coming week of Screen Free Week. And who knows, I might just be brave and add a few days on the back end to make up for my stellar performance in Screen Free Week thus far.
Please Share! Misery Loves Company!!
Are you doing this thing too? How is it going for you and your family? Let me know I'm not the only one out there having a hard time but who's still trying to plug away at it.
Here's to celebrating the baby steps I've made the past 2 days and for trying to change my all-or-nothing way of thinking.
Hang in there!