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Sunday, August 16, 2015

signing off the grid - letting go of technology for some summer fun!

Recently I went on vacation with my family and I went off the grid. It was family time, our first real family vacation for five days away, just the four of us. My husband made a big deal of planning it, surprising us, really wanting quality time together. So I made a big deal to forget everything else and really enjoy just being together, nothing else interrupting us.

It was amazing!


This vacation did NOT have:
Facebook
emails
phone calls or text messages
calendars
schedules
time checks
obligations
appointments, doctors visits, bill paying, dance class
responsibilities
job expectations

We let all of that go. It was time to unplug for once.

We are so connected to the world, social media, Web sites, news stations, radios, emails, work expectations, etc. I have a blog and Facebook discussion group and Instagram and Twitter and a zillion work emails. I get it. I'm in love with being online. I don't deny that. But sometimes it's too much. Sometimes it is distracting from priorities that mean something to us, or that used to.

This vacation was about getting back to just us. Minus the technology.


We still had our phones, which had Internet access. My husband scrolled Facebook a few times and read the news. I posted pictures to Instagram daily, which instantly went to Facebook, but I did not scroll Facebook one single time in a week. Not once. That's ridiculously hard for me, and yet it was NOT hard on this trip. I was too relaxed with a book to read, or too busy in the water with my kids. I couldn't care less about Facebook, I didn't miss scrolling my newsfeed or seeing the notifications or checking the Mommy Stories Facebook group multiple times a day like I typically do. 

I thought giving up the discussion group would be really challenging for me... but it wasn't. Not at all. I did not see it ONE time the whole week! That is amazing. 

Of course, I felt a zillion times better about leaving it since I had my sister in charge of making sure nothing went wrong, answering questions, etc. allowing me to totally unplug, but still it was so freeing to know I could be away and nothing bad would happen. 

It taught me that I want and need a break from the blogging and discussion group mommy world a few times in the year. I intend to plan out some weeks this year where I won't be ON duty for Mommy Stories. I plan to take scheduled breaks, because I find that I need it. I didn't know I needed it until I was away on vacation, but now I know that everybody benefits when I take breaks.

All moms need to remember this, don't we?


I didn't even have an iPod for running in the mornings! This one wasn't planned, I honestly just forgot my iPod when packing.

But this one was a blessing in disguise! I loved running each morning just listening to the birds and my own thoughts and breathing, hearing my feet hit the pavement, and reminding me I was doing something great for ME by taking time each morning - even on vacation with the fam - to just BE ME. We moms need that! To just be.


Here's what I did more of in the absence of commitments and technology:
  • sleep
  • run
  • READ
  • laugh, giggle, play
  • relax
  • eat
  • talk, really listen well
  • flirt with my husband, be friends like we used to when we were dating 
  • notice how cute and tall my kids are, how they are growing
  • have one-on-one time with the kids
  • did I mention eat and read?! lOVE it!
  • swim


Without commitments or my mind elsewhere, I was able to really be the mom I want to be: focused, energized, supportive, thoughtful, sweet, helpful, kind, patient.

I know I'm a great mom. I know I do many good things for my kids. I know I'm lucky to have them and they are lucky to have me. It's a beautiful life. For sure.

But it's also insane. It's chaotic and busy, overwhelming and stressful at home with dishes to do and laundry to turn over or fold and when we're searching for the other shoe when we have to leave 10 minutes ago for work! It's crazy.

It's nice to take a moment. Breathe. Not feel annoyed that they are having a tantrum, but instead just snuggle them (like these pictures after my 3 year old had a huge fit because she wanted to keep fishing after she told us she didn't want to fish anymore!).

It's nice to just be.




It was nice not to rush. To take life slowly. To really slow down, embrace what was important. To eat slowly, to finish a meal! We're always rushing to the next thing. When do we moms ever just slow down?!

Vacation allows you to slow down, obviously... but how do we bring some of that vacation mentality into our homes, into our busy mom lives? Just a little bit? Could we pledge to eat breakfast slowly one day a week even? 



Slowing down made me appreciate my life more. 

To realize that we're in a phase, a crazy difficult parenting phase of demanding kids and toddler tantrums and school starting and just crazy stuff... busy... but it's a phase, and at the end of the phases and developments we're going to have four of us, together, still, loving each other and hopefully laughing along the way.

We need to remember that even when it's tough and it's crazy busy. We need to remember what matters. The dishes and laundry and busy-ness of life, the bills, the never-ending demands and responsibilities - they can wait sometimes, not all the time, I get that, but sometimes.

You can let some of it go. And the world won't end, in fact the world, your mommy parenting world, will be brighter, I promise. Just try it. Breathe, and try it. Let it go... 



We need to take time for our families, to show them how much we appreciate them, to focus on them, to listen to them and hear their concerns or wishes and dreams.

We need to feel like great moms, like we're rock stars at all this parenting stuff.

We need to listen more to our partners, actually hear them after a day of work woes.

We need to ignore work duties sometimes and instead curl up on the couch and watch TV just because we're tired and we want to.

We need to not feel guilty taking time for ourselves to run or hang out with friends or read on an afternoon instead of washing the floors.

It's OK to be human, to not be perfect, to realize that time is fleeing quickly and we only have today. Let's make it count.

Slow down, moms. It's worth it, you're worth it. 


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