Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My life called, it wants my full attention back

My family needs my full attention this week. And the week after, and forever. I decided they did.

I decided in part because facebook is way too distracting for me and I spend way to much time online during week days and nights. Last night I abruptly decided I'd go the rest of the week, Tuesday the 17th through Sunday the 22nd, without logging in once.

My decision was so abrupt that today I asked my hubby to log into my account and let friends and family know they can reach my on email only. I made the decision last night when I got bummed out that I had too many unfinished projects. I went to the basement to look for a can of paint -to start another project- and realized what a mess the basement was becoming again. I had Halloween stuff still piled in a corner waiting to be packed back into bins, Easter eggs lay dumped from a basket, winter clothes were everywhere, and Christmas stuff now blocked all those things. Winter clothes were sticking out of plastic tubs as a sign that pretty much anything we needed from the past 6 months hadn’t made it back into it's neat and tidy mold proof containers. Sometimes I feel so defeated by life. I try so hard and I work so hard towards an organized and tidy home that I get bummed when I see a sloppy lazy mess like that. So last night I started cleaning up the storage corner and repacking everything away. In my frenzy I realized that I can not expect to do everything I do with as many distractions as I seem to have by getting online. I made the decision right there to do the things I really want to do this week instead of numbing my mind on the web.

I use the internet to "check out" during crazy kid weeks and hectic but boring days. My mind numbing outlet is internet consumption, like lots of people do with TV or video games. I spend almost no time watching TV so most of my screen time is the internet. On any given day between about 7am and 11pm I’ll spend 3-5 hours reading facebook related posts. This includes news stories, health stories, funny cartoons, funny websites, watching youtube videos, talking to friends via posts (I don’t chat), reading blogs, and searching for any other interesting things I learn about along the way. That time frame probably applies to email use, Pintrest and maybe even writing some blog posts. (All of which are not huge time sucks for me.) Email is quick for me, Pintrest I’m in and out easily even though I LOVE it, writing blogs I enjoy and are beneficial because they are written for our family. I love writing. I love documenting our life. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t day dream about my kids and their kids’ kids and their kids’ kids reading about our life. (Technically writing is computer usage, not internet usage. It only takes a second of internet to post.)

So, I was pondering over why Facebook is such a time suck for me. The constant changing, constant newness and never ending entertainment pulls me in. It’s like all those projects I start up and eventually finish, but only after I start 15 more at a time. I’m not content. The attention deficit, talkative Aries in me loves the constant change as well as interesting surroundings, people and scenery. I truly want to know what my friends and loved ones are doing, but I also want to know everything else in between. It’s part entertainment that I can get on any given day and at any given time and it’s part procrastination -when I’m just tired of washing 10 loads of laundry throughout the week with a biting, cranky teething baby on my hip I just wanna sit and rebel against it!

Ahh procrastination. How I love thee.

Not really. Procrastination makes me feel yucky. Not only am I not getting something done, that cranky baby is often times a really happy baby.

I stopped to think all this over and asked myself what I was trying to avoid. Sure I get tired of certain things, everyone does no matter what they do or how much they love it. When I avoid things I get concerned that I’m “avoiding life” and/or I’m procrastinating because I’m not happy with my life. In short I had a talk with myself and I’m happy... I love staying home, cooking, baking, keeping house, playing with kids all day, homeschooling, I adore my husband, I love being a mom... I just need to get my priorities straight.

Most important priorities: Husband/ kids, school, house. According to this formula internet should never be the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning.

So I asked myself what I should fill my morning with instead. Coffee. 
I’m kidding (mostly). Seriously though, I came up with things I say I never have time for: exercise, stretching, shower, pedicure, plucking my eyebrows, getting dressed, curling my hair, ironing my apron (yes I just said that -I have this one apron that is so cute but it comes out of the wash looking like crap).

Magically I realized all of those things have to do with … ME. Taking care of myself. What an amazing self discovery!

What I mainly realized is it’s just a bad habit to check facebook and stay on reading things...and then to go back and check it again and again. Just a habit. When do I check it? When I first wake up, after breakfast, when I nurse the baby, before lunch, after lunch, nursing baby again, in the evening for *just a minute*, and at night when everyone is in bed. Each and every time I nurse the baby I stay on for a half hour or more. Instead while I nurse Everett I could be checking the kids’ school papers, reading to the the kids, writing something of real substance (like blogs!), OR laying down with the baby for a moment of being still and quiet. It’s okay to be still and quiet. I'm a go-go-go person, I want constant stimulation it seems like. I may have the brain of a 3 year old.

Today I was on the internet for about 25 minutes total, not including tonight while writing this. Most of that was spent printing up worksheets for the kids. My life feels better already and I have no idea how I could have spared another second of time for anything else today. I didn’t even spend as much time with Penelope and Sebastian as I wanted to. (But we made BIG gingerbread boy cookies together at least.) It was a long, busy day. Dinner was even served late (I made ginger-honey-chicken with broccoli and rice).

I want 3-5 hours of my life back, I have a lot of use for it.

Lots of changes ahead.
This is just the tip of the ice berg though, big change I need to put on paper tomorrow... (no not a baby!)

Follow up to no facebook for 6 days. Posted 1-23-12

When I wrote the first sentence of this blog post I had no idea how true that statement was

"My family needs my full attention this week." 

Soon after that Layla stated public school and with it a whirlwind of events and emotions trickled down. Cutting out facebook from my daily routine is the best thing I've done in a long, long time. It changed my life. My focus was on my household, my husband, my children and my writing and logging of day to day things I like to record for our memories. 

I miss everyone on FB but it's over shadowed by how I miss Layla right now so it makes it easier.

Today is my official day I'm "allowed" to log back on to facebook and I don't desire too. I desire to see my friends, but I don't desire to lose the time. There was a time that Sage, 12, couldn't play video games. It took his attention from too many other made him agitated, and scatterbrained. It made him unhappy more than it made him happy. I saw that pattern with how much I used facebook. It's so good for so many reasons, but it's bad for me for lots too. The only real thing I've decided is that I can't spend any daytime hours logging into it. It's just too time consuming for me because I have the computer at my fingertips all day with homeschool stuff so it's just too easy for me to get on and stay on. 

My husband recently told me he is only checking his work email twice a day. He was in the habit of checking it as emails come in or every half hour... it was really distracting to what he was already doing. This is exactly what I was letting myself do with facebook. If I was checking: the weather, had a recipe to look up, needed to look up a medical question or a history question, if I had a kids school worksheet to print up or a learning site for the kids to log into I did it all while "peeking" at facebook "real quick." Sometimes it was real quick, other times (many times) it wasn't. It was so distracting. 

My life, my focus, my happiness, my routine is 100x better when I do not have that distraction! 

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