Switching off and Logging out. 

The era of technology has taken over.

And I’m fighting back. 

Before I start this post, it needs an explanation, a disclaimer perhaps.  

The TV is on in our house pretty much all day, and it’s rare that I don’t have a phone or ipad in my hand.  Even at the dinner table. I know far, far too much about the residents of Adventure Bay (canine or otherwise), and can identify each of My Little Ponies by their cutie marks alone. 

I basically suck at being with my children without technology. 

But, the increasing anger of my 3.5 year old is concerning me. And my observations show that she gets the most angry when she, or I, are plugged in. 

So we are going off grid. A bit. Just a tiny bit. In fact not off grid at all really.  Just switching stuff off for a bit. 

We’ve always done ‘stuff’ as well as watch TV, but it’s usually been on in the background.  This week it hasn’t.  

In the middle of the day my phone is put in another room and the TV is turned off and I engage Mummy mode.  Full mummy mode. I mean obviously, I’m always a Mummy, but I’m usually a wife, teacher, friend, person in my own right at the same time. 

It’s about being in the moment. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to give it my full attention.  Be that playing a game with the big one, singing songs with the little one or having a conversation with my husband.  I’m going to be in that moment, and only in that moment.  

It’s early days, the moments are short.  But they are increasing. 

And, do you know what?  It’s bloody hard work! But do you know what else?  I’m enjoying it. More importantly, so are my children.  Tensions with my eldest are lessening.  I’m shouting less. So is she. 

“Mummy, it’s been a lovely day.  Thank you” 

So, the experiment continues.  Can we get our TV viewing down to once or twice a week? Probably not. I need it.  Paw Patrol allows me to wash up and Ben and Holly provide a chance to make dinner. But can we stop watching TV when we could be doing other things together? I hope so. 

The morning rush. 

Daddy left for work an hour ago.  We have snoozed and snuggled in the big bed too long.  You watching cartoons on the tablet, me drifting between sleep and feeding your sister.

We have to get up.  Now.  Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, get in the car and drive to nursery.  

Our morning is routine only in it’s lack of one.  I rush you into your bedroom to get dressed.  You get distracted; by a new Christmas gift, a sticker that has made its way upstairs on someone’s sock, by a dragon, a dinosaur, a teeeny tiny fairy, by your own imagination.  

I shout.  I shouldn’t shout but I do.  Eventually you are dressed, your sister has her nappy changed and she too is dressed.  Somewhere in this I have, miraculously, manage to dress myself, and, with me still nagging, we make it downstairs. 

You are telling me a story, about a game you want to play, I have to ask three times what you would like for breakfast. Your sister plays on her mat, watching you, with those wide eyes and the smile that she reserves only for you. Breakfast is on the table while I stick washing in the machine, pack bags and de-ice the car. I’m ready to load the last two things into the car. My children.  But you haven’t touched breakfast, instead you are deciding which of your toys you would like to take to nursery today.  Which item will receive the honour of being shown to your friends.

You have no concept of time, my increasingly more frantic and pleading voice means nothing to you.  So what if we are late?  What does late mean anyway? 

Nothing.  It means nothing.  

You teach me so much. There is plenty of time for rushing later.  There are alarms and clocks and deadlines galore in your future.  Now, this small window, of no work, no school, no expectations, this is our chance to slow down.

Slow down. Lie on the play mat.  Fight the dragons.  Tell the story.  Play. Laugh. Love.

Time: right now we have it.  Let’s not rush it.