So it turns out I am perfectly capable of living a normal life outside of social media, without turning into Gollum searching for The Ring. After the first few days, I actually didn’t miss it at all!
The other day I downloaded Instagram onto my phone again. I’ve clicked the app maybe five times in the last three or four days, as opposed to five times in an hour that I was capable of previously.
I can now sit down and think, my mind feels clear, my feet are on the ground.
I was sitting at the traffic lights during the week and I looked into the window of the car next to me. I saw a two year old in his seat, tapping away eagerly on a screen of some sort. This time spent away from social media has really made me think (again) about the place screens play in our lives. How seamlessly they slip, unassuming, into the fabric of our homes.
We bought an iPad last Christmas for KB’s work. I have used it a handful of times and actually forgot we had it until about six weeks ago, when the girls asked if they could watch ABC KIDS on it. They sometimes have a go on one at their Nan and Pa’s place, and surprisingly (or not?) they knew how to use it better than I did. Since that day they have asked to use it constantly, and being so bedraggled I started to say yes. Before I knew it they were having iPad time every afternoon and started to cry if I said no.
What have I done!?
I think it’s unrealistic while I’ve got such a small baby that I ban screens altogether (I’m actually just not willing to put myself through that right now… for better or worse) but I am so conscious and conflicted as their world is saturated with technology, unlike my own childhood… it just doesn’t feel right.
We’ve got some thinking to do, that’s for certain.
It’s been almost a week since I deleted Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from my phone and decided to take a break from the noisy world of social media. I’ve been monitoring myself and my behaviour which I’m pleased to say has changed over the past six days. Countless times initially I went to pick up my phone to check Instagram, or I thought of something I could take a picture of to post, or someone’s account I should go and look at. None of these actions or thoughts seem particularly sinister, but when I’m having them in the middle of doing something else (cooking dinner, eating, playing with the girls, doing the washing…) and would normally interrupt myself to act on them, I have realised what a disruptive role it is playing in my life.
On Sunday I was home alone with Peach. I sat on the couch to feed her and watched the entire sunset through the window. It made me feel grounded, real. It made me realise how being attached to screens all the time makes me feel flimsy and disconnected.
It’s interesting to sit back and observe sometimes. And funny that today I barely gave Instagram a thought. I do miss it, but I want to be able to enjoy it without the compulsion to be on it constantly. I hope that I can reflect on all this and decide how I want my relationship with social media and my phone to move forward. There is so much more I want to say on this topic but I am typing left handed in bed with a baby sleeping (finally!) on my chest…
On another note I’ve got the dreaded cough/cold large (again) and have this sitting on my kitchen bench. It will be ready tomorrow morning and I really hope it works! I’m also sipping away on ginger, turmeric, lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey tea. I pour it into my drink bottle to sip while I’m out and about. Any other (breastfeeding friendly) tried and true home remedies for me? I always like to add new ones to my list.
I looked down at Peach today and saw she was smiling at me. I nearly missed it
because I was too busy scrolling. Mindlessly scrolling through the depths of Instagram.
I couldn’t tell you what I was looking at. It was just one image after another, scroll, scroll, scroll, pause… like… scroll, scroll… then suddenly a movement on my lap caught my eye and there she was looking up at me, gums and dimples and all.
Then and there I decided to follow in the footsteps of some other friends on Instagram and take a break.
I used to take every January off Facebook in the days when I was quite addicted to it. It was amazing how quickly I forgot all about it, how quickly it was replaced by real live things: books, the newspaper, phone calls, conversation, writing. Thoughts that didn’t automatically translate into status updates. But sure enough February would come around and the habit would begin again.
I like Instagram a lot more than Facebook which is both good and bad at the same time. Good because I am engaging in things and people that truly interest me. I’ve connected with some wonderful people that I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. I’ve had windows opened towards me into other people’s lives. When you’re home with small children it can make you feel less alone to have a peek through those windows, to see what other people are up to. I’ve been inspired by creative people and learned things from other mothers.
But it can also take away from real life, if you let it. Just like it did today, when I almost missed the sweet and fleeting smile of my baby. I’ve misheard questions and comments from Birdie and the Pixie because I’ve been on my phone, ignoring them and not being present. I don’t like the example I am setting them, losing myself in cyber space while I should be reading them a book or listening to their ideas, or just observing, thinking, watching, sitting. I find my attention span is becoming more and more limited as my thumb flicks from here to there, not fully engaging… and it’s not just Instagram, it’s my phone in its entirety. I remember the days I used to scoff when I heard people talking about phones that had cameras on them. I have a camera thank you very much. Ha!
So bye bye Instagram, and while I’m at it: Twitter and Facebook too… I’m off on hiatus for a week or so. Destination: Real Life.
If you’re thinking about it too, check out this video, it might give you the motivation you need!
I had no time after Christmas to post a little update. Four days post the big one we were packing and cleaning and packing and tidying and packing and trying to get organised. It felt like groundhog day trying to get us and the kids out of here. On the 28th we were finally On. Our. Way. down to our family’s little country hideaway. We got back today and we are lucky enough to be heading off again on Thursday in the opposite direction to spend time with the other side of the family on the coast. I feel blessed to have these little hideaways that our parents generously allow us to visit. Without them we would not be in a position to have a holiday for a very long time.
Christmas came and went and for us is always spread out over a couple of days with the various groups of family we have. It was the first year that our biggest kid really got into the spirit of it all and went to bed tingling with thoughts of Father Christmas, reindeer and surprises to open the following morning. I remember those days so well and am reliving the thrill of it all through her big brown eyes.
Like I have spoken about before, I am very conscious of not have a house full of discarded toys, but instead having meaningful and well loved things to play with. The biggest attends Montessori once a week so much of our play is inspired by the beautiful Montessori setting, but I also really love Steiner environments and philosophies as well. I am not qualified in either and what we do is just a mix of things I have seen, liked and feel comfortable with.
She was given a lot of lovely gifts on Christmas Day, which I predicted, so at home that morning she just had a few simple presents to open, the main one being a secondhand doll’s house that I found on a local Buy Swap and Sell group. Well worth checking out on Facebook to see if you have one near you! I was so thrilled to find this secondhand as I feel uncomfortable about our throw away society, and like to re-use things where possible and instill this value in my children. I couldn’t care in the slightest that my child is getting something that isn’t ‘brand new’ and if anything I think it adds to the character and value of many of the things she owns. The well loved doll’s house in the picture above is a perfect example of this, I love it, and I think I am having more fun playing with it than she is!
This Christmas was probably the most joyful day I have had, the build up, the advent calendar, the excitement… I really am loving Christmas again and am so pleased to be starting new traditions with my little family. I should probably admit now that at 11pm on Christmas Eve I realised that I didn’t have anything for the littlest as I had spent so much time focussing on the biggest. Bad Mother Alert!!! Luckily I had a few things in the shop that I could wrap up at the last minute. Sorry darling baby.
What traditions do you celebrate with your kids? Do you celebrate traditions that you didn’t as a child? I’m interested to know as we started celebrating Winter Solstice last year which is something we never did as kids in my family. This year we will also celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day to show our friends and family how much we love and appreciate them (puke, sorry.)
* Does my littlest not remind you of a tiny wee possum? She is such a little pixie.
Week before last when I was in study fog, I mentioned I had been passed the baton of the Versatile Blogger Award by Pamela at the ripple effect. There are a few rules that come with this game, including sharing seven random facts about yourself, as well as passing the award onto other fellow bloggers. In the same day (my lucky day) Michaela also shared the Reader Appreciation Award with me, which has some specific questions to answer. Thanks again to both these lovely bloggers for thinking of me. It really did make my day. I decided to cover them both in this post, as I’m not sure how many of you would stick with me if I wrote two posts in one week answering questions about myself!
:: What is your favourite colour? Green.
:: What is your favourite animal? Hard to say. I have two dogs and a bunny, and love all of them! I think all animals have something to offer a fan. I love cows. I just find them beautiful to look at. And birds. Whales. I think animals are just great.
:: What is your favourite non alcoholic drink? Chocolate milk.
:: Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Both have good points and bad. Twitter I love because I can keep up to date with broader things I’m interested in. Facebook helps to keep in touch with people I know personally. I try not to spend much time on either though, because they both have the ability to devour so much time and sometimes – usually – make me feel a bit mindless.
:: What is your favourite pattern? I find this a strange question probably only because I don’t know the names of lots of patterns I might recognise. I like paisley type patterns and florals. I like modern, minimalist patterns too that are fun and bright. I especially love all the designs that Melissa over at tiny happy creates on her material.
:: Do you prefer giving or getting presents? There is something delicious about both! I try to make most of the presents I give and I love thinking about what to create for special people in my life. For some reason I also love wrapping presents too, I never ever buy wrapping paper, but love to recycle paper I am given, use Baby’s paintings and combinations of newspaper and other random things. And of course, everyone loves getting a present. I can get embarrassed opening them in front of people though.
:: What is your favourite number? I have a few, for different reasons. Four for Baby’s birthday, twenty for mine, ninety-nine for the house I grew up in.
:: What is your favourite flower? Gosh I am hopeless with this one. I love flowers, but am not tops when it comes to knowing the names of flowers. Actually though, I do know one of my favourite trees, which comes with flowers, so maybe that will count – the silver princess gum.
:: What is your passion? Being a good mum. Learning things. Creating things. Making things. Natural things.
:: Seven random facts:
1. Sometimes my internal dialogue gets so noisy I accidentally answer a question I am role playing in my head out loud. Yes, this has happened in a public place.
2. I am a redhead and a Taurus and can be cranky determined.
3. I don’t like getting out of bed in the mornings.
4. I have a very vivid imagination. When I was younger I thought I would grow up and not be scared of things (like the dark/aliens/monsters) but I still get the creeps.
5. Nothing in my life has ever given me more pleasure and joy and amazement than being pregnant and subsequently being a mummy and playing a role in my own little family. Nothing.
6. I fell over on our main street about eight weeks ago. Tore my tights open and had a big scab on my knee. Was running late for work. Kept walking while crying at the same time until Prince Charming picked me up in a sobbing mess. Baby, who was in the back seat, is still talking about how Mummy fell over and “wied” (cried).
7. I can’t stand that sound that people make on the radio when they are either old or nervous and have a clammy mouth – like a salivary, subtle, tongue-leaving-roof-of-mouth-sound in between their words. Eugh. It’s so unreasonable, and I am fully aware of this, but it actually makes me feel angry when I hear it. And guilty at the same time because, damnit, it just isn’t their fault! Clammy mouthed lip smackers have feelings too!
I’d like to pass either or both of these awards (depending on how much time people have!) on to some of my favourite bloggers and their blogs:
I don’t just ‘think’ anymore. I think in facebook status updates. Instead of: Gee am I having a great day today, it’s: Is having a great day and is really looking forward to the weekend. Is cooking up a storm. Is sick of being woken up by the possums on the roof. Feels like toast. Etc. Just this morning I was thinking: Is achieving so many great things today and it’s only 10.30am. Nappies washed, bread cooking, kitchen floor swept and mopped, Baby sleeping. Mother showered, hair washed, hair dried, AND dressed. Dinner planned, walk booked in with motherly friend this afternoon. I resisted the facebook app on my iPhone (I’ve changed) and flicked on the computer.
Then it hit me.
I am a domestic goddess! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be able to do all of those things by 10.30am with Baby. I think I have left the fog of newborn behind me, finally! I must be the only mother in the world that kept calling her baby ‘newborn’ when she was actually nearly four months old. That was me yesterday. This is me, today!