Disconnecting to Reconnect

**I wrote this post about a month or two ago but felt like it was still relevant for me to share**

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Ugh….even poor Ruby was feeling the affects of the phone-attached-humans!

We have become a little disconnected lately. Not too surprising with a rambunctious toddler in our midst, both of us trying to work, house projects, the list goes on and we all have one. I tried to think about things we could do to reconnect. The typical “one date night a week” idea has just never stuck so that idea was out. Then it hit me that one of our biggest problems is how much time we zone out on our phones. For me it’s Facebook and googling the heck out of everything and for Ryan it’s forums, researching hobbies, and Instagram. So with a little convincing we both decided to disconnect from those things for a week. No Instagram, Facebook, Google or anything involving the internet for that matter. The only exceptions were work-related things and responding to any messages someone might send us.

Day 1: Holy moly. I had NO idea how many times a day I instinctively picked up my phone and checked my FB news feed. I had to catch myself probably 25 times today. I had to be so conscious and stop myself from reaching for my phone periodically. It sort a felt like a craving that I was trying not to give in to. So weird. Going on my phone is the last AND the first thing I do everyday. But I did NOT go on FB once the entire day. We went to bed tonight and I started a book! Ryan read some of the magazines in his growing pile.

Day 2: Ryan cheated today. The rule was if anyone messages you on social media you can respond so that we aren’t being rude but NO browsing on either Instagram of FB. Ryan’s biggest issue was the internet and Instagram so when he was tagged in a photo on Instagram he went to view it and the temptation was too great; he “started to swipe” he guiltily admitted. I have maybe gone onto a website or two to research something briefly but I’m pretty impressed I have NOT gone on Facebook once.

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Taken BEFORE the no-phone week 😉

Day 3: It was interesting tonight when Ryan got home. He was playing with Eleanor and being so attentive. Then when she sort of wandered to the other side of the room and started to entertain herself, I watched him squirm for a second because that is when his phone would have normally appeared. But he resisted. Eleanor came back over to him and they continued playing. I just thought to myself “this is what it’s all about, this is why we’re doing this.” Not only for ourselves of course but for our family, for Eleanor. We don’t ever intend to delete any accounts or disconnect completely. Facebook to me is too valuable when it comes to staying in touch with family and close friends or being able to see big moments in their lives and watch their families grow. But we do intend to extremely limit our “Plugged-in” time and focus more on us.

Day 4-6 went off without a hitch! I think I’m getting used to the freeing feeling of not being tied to something …

Final day: I was actually not looking forward to ending this week. Looking back at the week I felt more relaxed, less scatter-brained and more connected with Ryan. With social media there is this pressure to keep up with your feeds so you don’t miss anything but in doing so you are missing out on so much real life right in front of you.

One of the first blogs I read when I was reunited with the internet was interestingly enough about a similar topic but in relation to mothering. (I sadly have not been able to find that blog post again to give them credit!) The basic gist of the post was about how mothers today are so self-conscious and questioning every little parenting move they make because of the overwhelming ease of researching as well as the epidemic of comparing and judging. The funny thing is mothers have never been so connected and so well-rounded yet they don’t even know it or they question it based on making comparisons with so many other moms. Think about being a mother before Google and parenting books. You simply asked your mom for advice and maybe friends and family if you wanted to pick up the phone and call them with each question. The internet is saturated with “do this” “don’t do that” “you shouldn’t cosleep” “cosleeping is wonderful” yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, what I basically took from this blog as well as this last week is that I’m doing the best I can and I’m a damn good mom. I will listen to others advice but I will only take it if it will truly be best for me and my family. I will also limit screen time with any media and connect more with my family without any screens. I highly recommend it.

Update 8/13/15: Well it has certainly helped that the second I take out my phone Eleanor MUST have it. I literally can not even have my phone anywhere nearby without it inciting a full-blown tantrum if she can’t play with it. It stays hidden on the counter while we spend time with Eleanor. So I have really kept my reduced phone use promise to myself. Ryan on the other hand…might need a little more convincing, maybe in the form of another unplugged week?!?

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*THIS* is what it’s all about.

Our Sunday 3-8-15

We had a wonderful family Sunday; I just had to share. It’s a shame that these types of days aren’t more frequent. We had made plans to go check out this indoor playground in Biddeford called The Yard. Our friends that have a 2 year old daughter recommended it and invited us but ended up cancelling that morning and we decided to still go just the three of us! It was a 45 minute drive for us and a little difficult to find but we made it. Here is a link to their page: http://www.theyardatthemill.com/

It was $10 for Eleanor to get in. I believe the age limit is 10 years old. Play shoes are required (no boots). It is in a large 7,200 sq ft open room and the first thing you notice is two large wooden swing-sets. The majority of the “yard” is covered with installed, soft turf. The whole vibe and decor is outdoor themed.

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Some of the many other things they had: a small stage and mirror, jump-ropes, collapsible tunnels and climbing caves, suspended rope for balancing, free-standing slide, a metal/plastic airplane see-saw type contraption, rocking horses, lawnmower push toys, a separate picnic table area if you bring snacks and drinks, 4+ baby/toddler swings, basketball hoop, bean bag toss, etc. I’m sure i’m missing some things but she was a little young for some of it.

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I would highly recommend this place, especially for a bit older kids that can really use the swing sets with climbing portions and larger slides. It was clean, rules were very clearly stated, spacious and fun! Eleanor was a little clingy considering she didn’t have any other kids she knew or really close to her age but we’d love to go back with a playmate. Of course now that spring is on its way we’d like to get her to play outdoors more but on a rainy or cooler day this place would be fantastic for a play-date!

Eleanor honed in on some soft little foam balls that were perfect size for her and did NOT want to let them go. After being there for an hour we decided it was time to go and planned our exit for the second following the moment we had to pry these balls from her strong little hands. She threw a pretty typical Eleanor fit and threw her head back in protest with the beginning of a tantrum. Luckily, there were so many distractions we were able to throw her coat on, grab her diaper bag and scoot without too much of a breakdown.

Sunday afternoon consisted of making some Crockpot freezer meals to have stashed away for future dinners. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile and always felt a bit overwhelmed with the whole process of finding the recipes, making the list, shopping, prepping the food, bagging it and finding room in the freezer. That is until I stumbled onto a site called New Leaf Wellness run by a Mom, blogger, writer, cook, wellness coach that had multiple meal prep sessions all worked out for you! I didn’t spend too much time on the site but found “8 Crockpot Freezer Meals in 35 Minutes) and when I saw how simple it looked to give it a try. Ryan went to the grocery store at 9:30 the night before (his favorite time to go grocery shopping so there is hardly anyone there) and when we got home Sunday started to assemble. The whole process probably took 45 (a rambunctious toddler is to blame for the extra 10 minutes than it claimed it should take) and BAM, 8 meals in our freezer! I will say that we have not tried any of them yet. But knowing I have those meals in the freezer ready to just plop in the crockpot feels sooo good. She also had a healthy crockpot meal prep session as well as a Whole Foods ingredient prep session. Here’s a link to her page: http://newleafwellness.biz/2014/12/10/8-crockpot-freezer-meals-35-minutes/.

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Hopefully they taste as good as they were easy to prepare! 🙂

We ended the day with a quick get together with my in-laws and aunt and uncle for burgers. Eleanor found a suitable party hat for the occasion.

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Here’s to more Sundays just like this, how truly blessed we are! It is so energizing to have a day to soak up as a family. We’re thinking maybe the Children’s Museum would be a good bet for our next family outing!