some things i am trying to do

Number one thing: reduce iphone contact time

Number two thing: follow a daily rhythm (and invent one first)

I have read a few books and other things lately, and a couple have stood out more than others.

One book that has left its mark is by Sara Avant Stover called The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. It sounds a bit self-helpy, but it really truly isn’t. Reading it has given me a great sense of clarity in my life. I borrowed it from the library, devoured it, yelled at the computer when it told me I couldn’t renew it and as such will soon be purchasing my very own copy.

One thing that was impressed on me by reading this book was, despite the keen awareness I have of my childrens’ daily rhythm, I actually have no sense of order or rhythm myself, to guide me through my mornings, my days, my evenings. As a result I often wake at different times, start my day in a variety of scattered and rushed and harebrained ways, and similarly seem to enter bed on the same note: a cacophony of washing, television, dishes, toy tidying, procrastinating and an overuse of my computer and iphone.

Which consequently leads me to my next realisation… or should I say, acceptance: I am addicted to my iphone. I love the damned thing and hate it all at the same time. But having any sense of rhythm just can’t happen with my iphone by my side. They completely counteract one another. I have realised that at night when I get into bed I think I’ll just check instagram before I read my book. More often than not I end up trawling the apps on my phone for over an hour before being too exhausted to read and too wired from my phone to sleep. I used to read so many books, and thanks to my iphone, it’s taking me months to get through one novel, if I ever make it to the end at all.

The first big change I have made to achieve the number one thing I want to do: turn my iphone off in the evenings and leave it in the kitchen until the next morning. YAY! I admitted to my mum the other day that I was doing this – and subsequently finding it really, really hard. That is when I realised that I was truly hooked to the stupid thing, when I was finding it tough to go to bed without it. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but it’s true. While you’re all sleeping lovingly with your partners, I’m spooning my electronic device. Mmmm cosy…

The other thing I watched that spurred me on to make this change was the video you can find here. While I don’t text and drive, I have a terrible habit of checking my phone at the [red] lights, constantly. When I watched the video, I felt such a sadness, that this is what we are doing to ourselves, and I realised I was only one step away from the people on the screen. There is nothing that can’t wait until you get home.

Aside from leaving my phone in the kitchen overnight, the other things I’m trying to do or have done are: leave my phone on silent, put it in the boot while driving, turn it off every now and then during the day, wait until I have my hands free before checking messages, let it go to voicemail if it rings and it’s not a good time, leave it on the corner bench of my kitchen, so it’s not sitting right there while I’m having meals with my family, playing with my girls… just generally trying to keep it further away from me than it usually is. I have also disconnected my email from my phone, which was just another thing to check all the time. Now I have to make a conscious effort to check my email from my computer, at a time that suits me.

As a result of keeping my phone [further away than] at arms length I am beginning to feel freer, believe it or not. It sounds stupid but it’s true. I am letting go of potential “photo opportunities” for instagram or other, I am finding I am less distracted and more able to live in the moment.

It also frees up SO MUCH mind space… wow, there is actually a mind in here behind my iphone. I don’t have to google to find a thought or an answer. Amazing revelations here today people!

Number two thing: a rhythm to my existence. With the iphone out of the way it brings me to my second thing. I’ve been really sick over the last few weeks, as a result of being a bit run down. I’ve stayed at home a lot more than normal, and although I’ve had a bit of cabin fever, I have also had the opportunity to create a bit more flow to my day. I’ve created a morning routine which works around the kids and includes a hot cup of tea and a relaxed breakfast without having to rush off anywhere first thing. I have also started to build some structure to my evenings now that the Pixie is sleeping a little more reliably at the moment.

It’s amazing what a difference just a few adjustments in the morning and evening have made to my life. The washing has been done, the house has been tidy and as a result I have been calmer and felt more in control. Apart from the other day, but we’ll just let that one slide… I’m looking forward to creating more rhythm for myself over the coming weeks. I’m a creature of habit, boring but true.

What are you trying to do less or more of in your life? What are you doing to make the change? Discuss!


my first unplugged sunday

Yesterday, we unplugged.

We ambled back to the city from our snowy mini-break.

We didn’t check facebook or twitter.

We didn’t look things up on the drive.

We didn’t refer to online maps.

We talked and sang and looked out the window.

We stopped at a park for some coffee fresh air.

I succumbed back at home – to look up a recipe for dinner. Not cheating? Hmm…

And then it was kind of over because I played my scrabble moves on my phone before I went to bed…

Ok, so I semi failed but 75% of a day is a start, right?


The Art of Multitasking

I am multitasking extraordinaire. I realised that last week, as I sat at the table, laptop in front of me, going over uni readings and formulating a response (started back off-campus two weeks ago), my right hand wielding pen, making notes for blog, my left steadying electric breastpump as milk dripped into bottle, eyes occasionally glancing up at the window to ensure I wasn’t frightening the neighbour’s children. The craziness of this situation was made somewhat worse by the ‘ee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo’ sound coming from the breastpump.

This picture is in stark comparison to Prince Charming who, when holding Baby automatically goes into helpless mode.

PC holding Baby: Can you please pass me that blanket over there?

Me: What, that blanket that is right next to you, as in the blanket that is right there, in arms reach, you mean that blanket that is over the other side of the room from me, meaning I will have to stand up, take my reading glasses off because I get dizzy looking around with them on, walk around the table, step 5 metres across the room, bend over, pick up that blanket that is thirty centimetres away from you, stretch out my arm and pass it to you, walk 5 metres back, dodge the table and the nappy I have knocked on the floor, put my glasses back on and sit down? Is that the blanket you mean?

PC holding Baby: Uh. Yes.

Me: Ok. (Feeling like an enormous nasty pastie)

The other night I was cooking dinner, standing on one leg. The other leg was rocking Baby back and forth in her pram, my left hand stirring something that looked scarily like poo, although it was meant to be dahl, my right hand attempting to chop up coriander.

The day that my multitasking skills failed me was the day I tried to carry my bag, my keys, my iPhone, a blanket, my sunglasses and Baby out to the car. As I neared the car my iPhone, yes – my IPHONE – came tumbling out of my grasping hands. My mouth gaped and a slow motion ‘noooooo’ escaped my quavering lips. It landed face down on the step. I went to the car and put everything down, strapped Baby in. As I walked back to the porch, I silently spoke to myself, breathing, calming, warning myself of what might be. I picked up the phone and turned it over. Sure enough, my shattered reflection shone back at me, the screen a thousand shards of glass.

It was that day that I saw a bottle of red wine by the microwave. It was midday. It’s lucky I didn’t have any spare hands.

My Stone-Age Baby in our Super-Sonic World.

You know when your baby starts crying and you’re not sure if she’s hungry or tired? Guess what? There’s an app for that. Yup, you can record sleep, nappy changes, breastfeeds, eating, baths, playtime… Anything ‘baby’. In fact, it’s called Total Baby.

I am currently about five days into my Total Baby Ban. I knew it was time to have a break from the app for a few reasons:

1. My husband (who has requested to be referred to on this blog as Prince Charming – after I denied his requests of Randy and King) commented on the amount of time I was spending on my iPhone, to which I was very quick to reply, ‘So what? You like supercoach right? You’re always on supercoach! Leave me alone!’ all the while clutching my iPhone to my chest and displaying a face similar to Bilbo Baggins when Gandalf tries to take The Ring back.

2. Baby was crying and instead of rushing to her aid I ran around muttering ‘where’s my phone’ so it could tell me if she was hungry or tired.

3. I started calling nappies ‘diapers’ because that’s what Total Baby calls them.

4. I could tell you down to the second how long it had been since baby’s last bath.

5. I was continually asking Prince Charming for detailed descriptions of baby’s nappies so I could record it on Total Baby (eg. BM – bowel movement, with note spaces for consistency and amount, W – wet, Dry – dry, etc). This became slightly awkward if we were out in public.

6. It was just making me feel weird.

So 5 days in I’ve begun to notice some things about Baby (when I can see her past the tick in my eye that has developed since trying to kick Total Baby to the curb). Everything she does relies solely on instinct and millions of years of evolution. For instance I read somewhere (probably on google) that the grasping reflex that comes naturally to babies is an age old reflex from when us mamas used to have fur on our chests and babies had to hold on. Pity I had my chest waxed as all Baby’s hard work just goes to waste.

She just really is a stone-age bub. She looks at me with enormous eyes and looks so cute when she cries that it just forces me to do something, anything! (See I do have some instints left). Baby just does everything she’s meant to do. Meanwhile her super sonic mama is running around relying on iPhone apps, google and Dr Phil to tell her what to do. This has got to stop! I feel so guilty and it’s time I connected with my inner-mum. No more Total Baby. No more google. No more Dr Phil! I can’t promise no more iPhone though because I’m in the middle of 4 games of scrabble on Words with Friends and it wouldn’t be friendly of me to quit in the middle of a game, no, that would just be plain rude.