If you remember, I issued myself an “Unplugged Parenting” challenge a few weeks back. I promised to turn off the screen and social media unless my kids were taking a nap or having quiet time. I’m a little over halfway through the challenge, so I thought appropriate to give you guys an update.
The short of it? It was really awesome until I completely fell off the boat last week. And when I say completely, I mean it. I got sick last week with some weird bug, and spent the large majority of the time vegging out. I hurried through homeschool, put the kids in front of shows, scrolled through the smartphone unabashedly, and we all had a dreadful few days hooked on screens again.
Well. We could use a reset button, couldn’t we?
Before that, as I said, I felt that “going unplugged” on a long-term basis was really beneficial and enlightening. I can think of very few times in my life when I’ve had little or no access to screens, phones, video games, tv, computers, etc… However, each occasion where that’s been the case has been so rewarding.
As for the last three weeks, I’ve been surprised by how much more time we had. (Who knew? The internet is a time sucker!) We got more accomplished and played more together. I didn’t have that uneasy feeling that I had just wasted a perfectly good half hour doing who knows what on Facebook.
We were SO much less distracted. I didn’t “just check” this or that throughout the day- and so, I was present with my children. It sounds simple, but actually listening to, learning from, and being with my children without going down so many technological rabbit trails was a really beautiful thing. It’s amazing how much we can miss without realizing it.
We spent more time outside, played more music- and I would wager to say, just enjoyed real life more.
Consequently, we were also less grumpy. (Generally, of course.) I think that’s because we were spending more quality time together, and better tending to each other’s needs.
The best night was a night that we made heart-shaped pizza together. We made a TOTAL wreck of the kitchen mixing dough, rolling it out, using cookie cutters, and topping teeny Valentines-ey culinary creations. To make thing messier, we baked a quadruple batch of friendship cake at the same time. We ate by candlelight with the counters in complete shambles around us.
After dinner, my husband turned on Pandora, plugged in his bluetooth speaker, and turned up some music. My daughter stood by my side, “washing” dishes with me, while I handed my son a dish at a time to dry and put away. My husband chipped away at the countertop. It was a cheerful scene, reminiscent of Snow White and her animal friends whistling while they worked. The kitchen got cleaned relatively quickly and we ended the night with family reading time.
Now why couldn’t we live like that all the time? Undistracted, cheerful, hardworking, kind? Focusing on the relationships instead of all the screens that steal our time and attention?
I’m not fooled into thinking that removing technology will create a perfect world for our family. And of course, technology isn’t bad in and of itself. However- at least for this mama- removing it for a time definitely seemed to help us refocus our priorities.
So here I go again. I may have flopped and failed for a bit, but it’s time to just pick up where I left off and carry on for the rest of this challenge. I know I won’t regret it. <3