Somehow, whether it be Mercury in retrograde, a fluke or an omen, our FIOS was knocked out while a crew replaced a telephone pole in our neighborhood a few weeks ago. Yup, you heard it, two whole weeks, and just our house--noooobody else in the neighborhood. This meant no Internet, phone (land line or cell) or cable. Poor Nick had just moved into his “bus of dreams” and, wham, was pretty much shut down day one.
Frustration has been building as numerous phone calls have been made pleading with Southern California Edison and Verizon to send out a crew. Workers have been sent out to appease us and out of desperation we have even played the cancer card, all to no avail. We still are unplugged. What they heck are we to do? We have work to do, people to call, homework assignments and shows to watch.
Blessing or curse, or perhaps blessing and curse, or perhaps just blessing? I am starting to feel like more blessing than curse as the days go on. I am taking time to write this so I can remind myself how I feel now versus the more frantic, frenetic, distracted mama I had become.
Distracted to my children and husband and always with phone on hand, I was trying to keep on task posting the appropriate number of instagrams, tweets and FB posts all while trying to make sure I appropriately hash tagged everything, sent it out at the right time, and had the perfect picture. I often heard myself saying I felt like a dinosaur trying to keep up with this social media thing.
It’s not even like I have thousands of followers waiting for my every post. But I had this pressure to stay on task, build up my brand and stay present out there in cyberspace. At 41 I am learning that what takes a 20- or even 30-something—and definitely a millennial—five minutes, takes me double, triple or even quadruple the time.
Was this really “Living Yum Yum”? If so, I think I wanted out. There had to be a better way.
I was being present in cyberspace, but wait, what about being present here in my space—my little nucleus of people that did follow my every move and depend on my presence? Had I forgotten about them? Well, looking back it feels as though maybe I had…a bit.
Not completely, I mean I still managed to be a cheerful mom, do homework, cook meals, make school lunches and get the kids off to school on time (although we did just get a notice that our tardiness is a bit unacceptable). But that carefree, present mama who takes a moment to play cat’s cradle, watch a movie, play a card game, snuggle in bed for longer than usual, had somehow morphed into a more distracted, harried version of me.
Am I proud to admit it, no. But I think a lot of us moms must feel this way, especially those trying to work--it’s demanding and can pull us in several directions. In the “plugged in,” world—where there is so much at our fingertips and, let’s face it, it’s addicting for adults and kids—how do we unplug?
Would I have noticed this if I did not have the forced scenario we are in right now? Well, I knew I was feeling it, but I didn’t know how to change it. The memory of life before the Internet was slipping away, and the demands were persistent. But my “aha” moment has presented itself and, like food, once you learn there is a better way, you can’t “unlearn” it.
I have snuggled for longer, watched movies with the fam, read books to my kids and myself, played cat’s cradle, finished knitting projects, gone to bed early, turned my phone off and truly unplugged. It feels good…really good. Of course I have pings of oh shoot I forgot to email this person, I never called my Mom back or it’s getting late and I have not posted yet, but then I think, well, it will just have to wait. After all, I have no choice.
I wake up more refreshed as I don’t spend an hour under my covers at night staring at my screen trying to make posts for the next day, and I don’t wake up trying to send out posts, scroll through other posts, “like” and engage in conversation all before making breakfast and school lunches for five. They say the blue light from our screens disrupts our melatonin and a good night’s sleep, and I knew this yet still did it.
When I think back to how people used to go to bed with the sun setting, or shortly thereafter, and here we are staring at screens until the wee hours of the night—it’s not good. When we sleep we heal and we reboot. When we sleep we are nicer the next day.
How long since I have had a good reboot? I was starting to settle for 5-6 hours of sleep a night, which is not nearly enough for this mama. Since we have been unplugged I have been averaging eight to nine hours. How cool is that?!
Trips to the library are more often, so that we can plug in, return emails and make some phone calls. But they have often turned into family trips where everyone gets homework done, checks out new books and perhaps a family movie is chosen for the weekend.
So as I enter a new week still unplugged, yet most likely the week we get plugged in, I am cautiously optimistic that I can maintain this new normal. But before I plug in I want to note my new goals.
Organization has always been my downfall, but I am a beautiful multi-tasker and manage to get lots accomplished in my day. So how can I discipline myself to allot certain times for certain tasks and then call it a day? If I can make a plan and stick to it, then maybe I can maintain this “unplugged” level of bliss in my life.
I am vowing to:
- Not turn on my phone before the kids are off to school—8:30— unless I awake early and get work done between 5:30 and 6:30.
- Make a detailed plan to attack social media at specific allotted times while kids are at school.
- Take some me time in the day to unplug and connect with friends and nature.
- Turn the phone off after school until a quick post at dinnertime.
- Set myself up so a post at dinnertime is ready to go, and I just need to press send.
- Allot 15 minutes after dinner to check in and respond to anything I need to do, and then shut it down. Kid time, family time, me time and sleepy time.
- Most importantly, if I screw up to forgive myself, reflect and reboot.
Did I say “Living Yum Yum” was easy? For sure no, but as we become more in tune with what is real and what is important, priorities shift and positive change is made. To me that is “Living Yum Yum,” a goal I strive for every day.
After all, we are not perfect and this ever-changing world we live in is not slowing down to wait for us. But that being said, it’s a choice, a conscious choice, to hit the gas or the brakes. So, thank you, Southern California Edison for knocking out our FIOS and thank you, Verizon, for taking two weeks to fix it because now, I know, I choose breaks!
So guys, see how it feels to hit the brakes and “Live Yum Yum” with love, gratitude, forgiveness and a good night’s sleep!