The average American can spend up to 11 hours a day using technology including TV, radio, computer, phone, game systems, and dvd players. 11 hours!!! That is almost half our day! No wonder our brains are exhausted, we are constantly multi-tasking, forgetting important events, and missing special moments with our children!
Last week I had enough. My husband saw it coming. My level of stress had been pushed way beyond the threshold. I told him for Mother’s Day, I would be perfectly fine with being dropped off at a dead end road for the weekend, just be sure to come back on Monday to get me. Stress can do terrible things to a body. It can cause headaches, body aches, fatigue, blood pressure issues, stomach issues, menstrual problems, back aches and just create an unpleasant attitude! I am a busy mom, I have a lot on my plate. I can usually hold it all together pretty well (at least I think) but there always comes a time where we just need to unplug. That’s where I was…
Instead of dropping me off at a dead end road, my husband decided to take us all camping for Mother’s Day weekend. It was absolutely what I needed. Here’s what I learned..
1. Hold hands with your children. The little hands that used to wrap around my finger as we crossed the street are now growing to just under the same size as my own hands. They still grip as tight as they once did as toddler hands.
2. There is something so serene in walking through a bed of wild flowers. As young girls, my daughters would have picked a few to take back home and even put some in my hair. This time we just admired their beauty (and smell) and looked at how they were used. FACT: Bluebells used to be used as a diuretic. The sap from the plant was also used as an adhesive.
3. Catching a toad straight from the lake takes team work. Yet watching a 4 year old show that toad love, wanting to build it a home, constantly checking on it to see if it’s alright shows the love and tenderness his little heart already has.
4. Quiet moments alone with my husband don’t happen near as often as they should. We don’t have a lot of time for dates, we never have. Each year as our children get older, we find a few more extra minutes to be alone. This weekend the children snuggled together for a bedtime movie and as a couple, we just sat next to the fire enjoying the company. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like as our children are grown, but we need to make more moments with each other now.
5. I forgot my hair comb, bobby pins, skipped my normal shower day, wore a sweatshirt that smelled like campfire and no one cared! No one! Not even me!
6. We made more memories this past weekend than we could ever imagined. There is no evidence of them as they happened on Facebook. There is no hashtag associated with the pictures, there is no check-in’s associated to them, here is no likes anywhere, no tags. Just pure, raw memories stored in our own personal storage box. To be honest, it was nice to have people actually ask us how our weekend went versus liking or posting on an album of photos.
7. I have no idea what happened in other people’s lives that weekend. I don’t know what was trending nor any newsworthy information. When Monday morning came, I had no desire to go back and check either. I had enough excitement of my own, I didn’t care what was happening elsewhere.
8. I shut off my notifications…. and I survived! My phone does work without it constantly beeping, chirping, buzzing and lighting up! My battery level lasts a lot longer as well!
9.So much of what I do, we do as a society, is based on social media. My job is on social media, as are my customers, team, friends and more. I can’t give that away totally but I can control when I am on it, setting some limitations, and knowing when I’ve had enough. I do think there has to be a healthy balance. Shutting off during our busy evening routine, shutting off for meals, putting it away during conversations, leaving groups that you don’t participate in, unfriending/following people who you don’t actually converse with or that may be draining to follow are all things that can help!
10. Finally, my babies are growing up. They are becoming their own unique individuals with their own needs. One thing remains.. they need their mom at face value. They deserve my full attention, not partial. They deserve those moments with me. They deserve those deep conversations as they get older. They only get one childhood.
In closing, I’ll share a collage of how our “Offline” Weekend went. I encourage you to look at how you spend your time online and with your children. An offline weekend will be happening more often in our home. Maybe it is something you need to incorporate as well. Your mind, soul, body, and family will thank you!