It is springtime here in Missouri. It has been raining now for 13 straight days and the weather forecast is calling for two more days of wet weather before the sun is predicted to shine! Although I will be ready for some vitamin D by week’s end, I am finding the dark clouds rather cozy.
Currently, I am sitting indoors at the little coffee shop around the corner from my house. I am preparing to write for the first time in three weeks! I recently experienced an almost complete “un-plugging,” from technology.
My total un-plug was not intentional, not at first, anyway. We moved houses and it was just so overwhelmingly busy! There were not enough hours in the day to keep up with my moving to-do list (packing up one house, remodeling, and and then un-packing). Between the move, work, and family obligations, I simply did not have the spare time to post on social media, watch television, or sadly, write. About two weeks into my electronic holiday I realized that although I was very ready for my life to resume some normalcy, I did not overly miss my media devices. (We are still without television until this Thursday, much to my poor husband’s chagrin as Monday night was the Final Four National Championship game.)
Like most millennial moms, I am not typically un-plugged from electronics so I have a few family rules surrounding our family devices.
Number one…. no electronics (EVER) at the table. I strongly believe that meal times are for conversing. If you are eating alone, daydream. Look out the window, reflect on your day, enjoy your food!
Number two…all electronics go inside the laundry room at 7:30 pm. I recently slept with my toddler who was frightened by the thunderstorm in a new home. All night long I could hear beeping and dinging as her older brother’s iPod touch made noises through the bedroom wall. I had no clue what the noises meant (Were people texting him? Was it a video game?)! I realized I was in the dark, literally, about these nighttime alerts. I wondered what else he was doing on his device that I was unaware of…
Number three…no electronics before school. I would find myself frantically running through the house screaming at a bunch of motionless zombies staring into the screens of their gizmos and gadgets while no one was getting ready for the day! When we finally made it out the door everyone was irritable and crabby.
And yet, despite these ground rules for my own children I rarely give thought to how much time I am personally spending on electronics. Between pinning recipes, working on blog ideas, and catching up with other people’s lives on social media, I am wasting so much time! I know it is important to model a healthy relationship with technology but I am still breaking the rules. The rules I created! Three weeks into a busy life event forced me to realize that once disconnected, I did not combust into thin air. In fact, I felt amazing.
In order to stay more present in my everyday life I have created a list of things I can do to remain more connected to the real world:
- Pick up the phone. I have tried calling friends more often as opposed to exclusively texting. Old school, right?! Sometimes I simply prefer to hear a friend or family member’s voice. Sometimes we all need more than a text message.
- Schedule an in-person visit with a friend. We are all busy, but good relationships take time. I know I feel better when I make a personal connection with a good friend. Kill two birds by going for a run or doing yoga with a buddy and then having coffee. Turn your ringer off and give your company your full attention.
- Plan a family night with one other family. Have a girl’s night out. Go on a date with your husband. And leave your selfie stick in the car!
- If you are with your children and can afford to leave your phone in the car for an entire day, go for it! Look at the life happening all around you, converse with your little people, be present.
- Go on vacation and un-plug for part of each day you are on holiday. The adventures you have while disconnected from your device may serve the as your best social media content, yet!