Monday, January 3, 2011

Disconnecting to Connect

This is one SERIOUSLY wired society, obviously. We here at The Good Letdown are pretty wired, though Mama Christa and I are significantly MORE wired than Mother Hen...but it's only because of our cell phones. Obviously we spend quite a bit of time plugged in. We browse for blog ideas, contribute to other blogs and fan pages with comments, support eachother and other moms through the web, play around on facebook, text with friends, browse the web from our phones, etc etc etc.... You get the picture.

There have been many articles about the impact of our wired society on how we raise our kids. How many of us have been at the park with the kids, sitting on the bench watching them playing and reflexively picking up that cell phone to check to see if you missed a call or text, or to text someone and start a conversation, or browse the web, or make a phone call. I know I'm guilty. I'm also guilty of browsing and texting while I"m nursing...afterall, Chase is not a great conversationist. But why the almost COMPULSIVE need to be "connected" all the time?

Texting while momming? 
Habit, most likely, it's become habit after two years of being home with my children, I often feel disconnected from other adults and I crave adult conversation, even if it's not face to face. Then one day as I was texting or NAK (Nursing At Keyboard) it occurred to me that one of the reasons breastfeeding is such a bonding experience is because of eye contact with baby. If I'm NAK or texting or browsing or or or...clearly I'm not LOOKING at my sweet baby. Granted, he's looking off into La La Land himself, or staring at the backs of his eyelids, but shouldn't I be more engaged in what I'm doing? Shouldn't I be more "plugged in" to my baby? Yes, for heaven's sake, I should be. I'm a stay at home mom, let's face it...if I don't pick up my cell phone for the next 6 hours...Mama Christa is probably the only person who will notice (we text chronically...it's a little embarrassing to be honest). If I don't check facebook every 5 or 10 minutes...what's going to happen? Nothing. I'll probably get some dishes done or have a nice coloring date with my two-year-old. The thing is, this stuff is almost compulsive, I do it without thinking...I "drive-by" facebook all the time. Because my laptop is often down in our dining/living room area, I often stand, browse, walk away. Then the next time I pass by it, I do it again, then get distracted, browse a blog, putz around, decide to play with some pictures...next thing I know, I'm instant messaging with a few people, on my second cup of coffee, and half an hour or an hour has passed.

So my New Year's goal (hate that term resolution) is to disconnect so that I can connect with my kids more. I'm going to unplug so i can be more plugged in with my little ones. It's going to be a hard habit to break, but I need to break it. Not only do I not spend enough time interacting with my 2-year-old who desperately needs me to be plugged in right now, I'm not paying a lick of attention when I'm nursing...I wonder how this will impact our nursing relationship...I need to engage Chase more at the breast, talk to him, meet his eyes, and play with his little hands. Afterall, who wants to have their face stuffed in a boob, right next to an armpit if no one is making it enjoyable?

How am I going to accomplish it? Well, it needs to be measurable, I need to make steps. So first off, the computer is going back upstairs where the boys nap....not downstairs where we play all day. This will reduce the drive-by-get-distracted facebooking I'm so guilty of. Since I won't leave Aiden downstairs for more than a few minutes at a time, that makes it enforceable...my toddler is effectively holding me accountable. As far as the cell-phone, I'm not going to take it to my nursing chair anymore. It can stay on the counter or table while I"m nursing so I don't have the temptation to browse the net or start texting when I should be talking to Aiden and plugging in to Chase. Computer time will be limited to simultaneous naps, which means Facebook is going to see far less of me, my doula board will see far less of me, and my e mail will see far less of me...but my KIDS will get more of me, the more of me that they deserve. What will I do instead? How about the dishes? A load of laundry (I could easily do 1 to 2 loads a day, if I have diapers, most days of the week) perhaps? Dusting? Coloring with Aiden or playing with his trains with him? the list goes on. This will make me a better mother I'm sure.

My concern is that part of the reason I do it is to connect with my friends...so to remedy this roadblock, I'm going to insist on more playdates...rotating homes is a great way to prevent constant huge messes, get out of the house, and get some mom-time while the kids get some kid-time.

What do you think about disconnecting to connect or unplugging to plug-in? What are your goals this year as they relate to your children, your life, your spouse, your home?

6 comments:

  1. Well as you know, in my personal situation, a lot of the time the only connection i have to the outside world is through text and FB because of my preemie at home. Playdates often aren't an option because of Ella's compromised immune system. I can't really be around friends with unvaxed kids, I can't ever be around sick people and in the winter, that's a big issue. Everyone is always sick. I am guilty of this but I do try to spend lots of time with both girls as well and have started not spending as much time on the laptop.

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  2. I am so glad you wrote this! Today has been one of those days were I have been sitting on the computer and the kids have been "neglected". I was just thinking about how I needed to go play with them. Thanks for the reminder!!! Off I go to unplug:) Hope you can keep it up, I am committed!

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  3. I have been thinking ALOT about his lately. ALOT. I've resolved (sorry, I know its the root of your hated synonym for he word goal ;-P) to put the phone down when I nurse unless there is something I need to do. Someone I said I would get back to on a certain thing, a task phone call to make, etc. Although, sometimes I will falter, and I think that's ok, probably even good for me. After all, I was not "wired" with my first, and although I was a self proclaimed breastfeeding enthusiast, I regretfully supplemented on occasion because I felt a little chained down. :/
    The digital age is a blessing and a curse. I think the key is to use it in moderation and use it consciously instead of idly.
    LOVE THIS POST

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  4. Very timely! I just deleted my Facebook app from my iPhone & the television is on a music station during the day. I'm not getting on the computer until after my son goes to bed (unless we Skype with a grandparent).

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  5. I'm also online to connect with other adults since I'm a stay at home mama. But you are so right! I need to plug in with my babies, not my laptop. I bet I can limit myself to the times they're playing quietly together, or napping together, or like now, when they're in bed. Thanks for the kick in the pants post. It's a great one!

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  6. If Woman Uncensored really comes back online I have no promises about limiting my online life. LOL. Mayhem with her and the smurfs is what got me online so much in the first place!! Well, that and breaking my kneecap leaving me useless for 10 weeks. :)

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