The other week I was lucky enough to have my sister, her partner, our cousin and a good friend come to visit for a few days. There was one night when after cleaning down the kitchen I look at everyone sitting in the lounge room, the TV on, but no one’s looking at it. They’re all looking at their phones. At first I thought it amusing, but 10 min later, when nothing had changed, I found it a little…sad.
I have no doubt that they were all communicating with each other, but I didn’t hear a word. There were 5 people in one room each looking at their own little screen, held within a foot of their face. Sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie!
Since then I’ve become conscious to how much I’m on my phone. “Just ‘checking Facebook'”. Half an hour later…. How much time do you really spend looking at our gadgets, and not each other? Or your kids?
I am actively limiting myself with how much I’m ‘plugged in’ during the day now. Not that I was completely hooked onto it to start with, but it makes me wonder how of my own life I’ve missed because I’m too busy looking at what’s going on in someone else’s. And I’m asking myself, is it really that important? Am I going to remember who thought Breaking Dawn 2 was awful in a few months, or more importantly, do I really care? Have I missed a little exchange between my two kids because my eyes are focused on a screen and not their hands? I’m re-evaluating what my priorities are.
Even the other attention grabbing devices are being switched off. It’s amazing how much imagination Mr3 has when he’s not in front of the TV. And as any addiction, there’s withdrawls, but the rewards are so great that it’s worth it. He learns independent play, how to play nicely with his little sister, we read more, paint more, draw more and talk more. He learns more from interacting with other people then he ever would from any ABC2 show.
Yes, he still watches it. I need to go to the toilet by myself at least once a day, right? And it’s a great distraction when I’m putting Miss (nearly) 1 to sleep and want to keep his noisy self from the room.
The other week, I ended up yelling at everyone. ‘Get off your phone!’ Didn’t work. But it opened my eyes, showed me I needed to be a little more unplugged.
How plugged in are you?
What’s your escape?
As Mums, we sometimes forget to give ourselves a little break. There’s always something to do. Not only is entertaining and teaching our little ones a full time occupation, there’s all the ‘perks’ of the job too. Like the laundry. Grocery shopping. Bill paying. Dinner cooking. Floor cleaning. Vomit wiping and bum changing. Nappy washing. Time Outs.
In amongst all that a lot of Mums sometimes forget that not only do the kids need time out, but so do they. Being a Mum can be exhausting. And draining. And we, as individuals and not just parents, need to fill our bucket. You know, the one you’re constantly emptying by giving bits of yourself to everyone else. Your kids, your husband, your work, your family. What about you?
So, how do you fill your bucket when the little ones are at home?
Watch a movie together
There’s always an awesome kids movie out, and you’d be lying if you said you didn’t want to see it. Seriously. Noah and I watched Madagascar 3 the other day. All afternoon I was singing ‘Polka Dot, Afro Circus, Afro Polka Dot, Afro Circus…´
Be a little silly
Nothing makes you feel better then to dance around and be a little silly. Crank up your favourite tunes and dance around the house with your kids. I know mine love it. The neighbours, not so much.
Read a good book…
…when the kids are otherwise occupied. Like sleeping. Or playing outside. Stuff the housework dive into Christian Grey instead.
I love the gym. Because it has a crèche. I know I can always get an hour to myself and that my kids are safely looked after when I go to the gym. And I leave feeling better about myself. And the chocolate I ate the night before.
Do something you enjoy
Be selfish. Do something that’s just for you. For me, it’s cooking. Or writing. Or playing the piano, which my two love to help me with. What is something that relaxes you? Do that.
Remember to cool off when the hard days roll by and take time out for yourself. Escape. Fill your bucket. Both you and your kids will be better off for it.