Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Revolution

Hello and welcome 2014!

A new year just wouldn't feel right if you didn't have at least ONE New Year's Revolution [no that's not a typo, they should be called New Year's Revolutions because they seem to revolve and return the following year, like a boomerang, having done a full revolution but getting nowhere - eat less, exercise more, drink less, blah blah blah... but I digress.....]

My revolution for this year is to do better than last year and make healthier choices for me and my family. As much as I hate all this natural cr*p, there are such strong links between additives, preservatives and chemicals to the increase of so many illnesses that I can't ignore it anymore. I have to do it for the sake of my kids (especially Tomato) and myself, so that is my plan, I'll keep you posted on my findings, shock horrors and irritation of not using the convenient stuff (boy I love the convenient stuff *sigh*).

Last year I was chatting to a friend of mine in Australia on Skype. We both use a LOT of words so after about an hour and a half chatting away, we suddenly realised that it was something like 1.30 in the morning for me! We discussed how we are both obsessed with media and information and basically using screens to connect with the outside world and that got me thinking......  [always a problem when I start thinking]. So, without thinking it through, I ludicrously blurted out the suggestion to her that we make a pact to not use any screens for the first week of January between 7pm and 7am. Google was taking over our lives and reducing our communication with real people and we were both sleep-deprived due to our addiction! Well, not to be small, I got all excited and said something even more stupid [as you do when you get really excited and are not thinking clearly at 1.30am] I challenged her to not only the first week of January, but the first week of EVERY month in 2014. What the hell was I thinking???

It was late early so we said goodbye and that was that. [no it wasn't].  2014 was months away. [no it wasn't].

The new year loomed and the little voice in the back of my mind was whispering "hypocrite" every time I took the iPad away or turned the TV off and told my children "you've had too much screen time today." So I decided (and of course when I decide, Hubby gets thrown in with my hair-brained schemes) that we're always limiting screen time for the kids,so we should put our money where our mouths are and do the same - eeeeek!!!

Let me clarify what "screen time" means - ANYTHING with a screen e.g. PC, laptop, TV, cell phone, iPad, iPod eeeeeek again! To garner support from my friend, I texted her to remind her of the deal and she seemed hesitant, her hubby was not keen. "Not keen" was an understatement for my Hubby the super-geek who spends every waking moment glued to a screen of sorts. He gave me a pained expression when I laid out my not so well-thought out plan, but the good sport that he is, he agreed to go along with my latest scheme. But wait, he had a condition...... no fighting!  Haha was that all? No problem, we hardly ever fight, game on!

Now the only problem that I have, is curiosity. [Ok so that's not my only problem, but let's not go into that here!!!]  So I knew that I was really going to battle with the *pling* of my instant chats, knowing that I was not allowed to look at them the instant that they sounded. That was going to really bug me. However I did not tell family and friends beforehand because I have a large group of depraved family and friends with a warped sense of humour (you know who you are)  who would love to torture me by sending me constant messages, knowing I was being driven crazy by the unanswered *pling* and the tormenting little red BlackBerry light [yes I am a slave to the little red light! There I've said it OK???]

Of course there had to be some ground rules. We were only allowed to use a screen to enter appointments into our calendar, look at the time (my BB is my watch) or if we had urgent, unexpected work that we were unable to complete in the day due to spending time with the family. Oh yes, and of course, no fighting.

Day One
Heated debate (not a fight, a debate)
We both started reading books! Like the ones made out of paper - seriously!

Day Two
Full on BIG fight (oops!)
In bed by 11pm

Day Three
Too tired to fight, in bed by 10pm!

Day Four
Sat chatting late into the night

Day Five
I had to work for an hour and then we went to bed early

Day Six
I had to do quite a lot of work so hubby got to read

Day Seven
Had to change from 8pm to 8am as Hubby was working late and we needed to text each other to see what was happening. Once home we sat chatting for hours until we realised it was 1am and went to bed.

The Result
The first week ended last night and it has been a huge eye-opener (someone moved my cheese) but after a day or two I wasn't chomping at the bit to check my emails and messages. As a matter of fact I even forgot to check them in the morning after 7! To be fair it is still pretty much holiday-mode everywhere so I wasn't too concerned that I was getting an urgent mail, that the world would go into a holding pattern, if I didn't react to urgently! And surprisingly I received very few messages during that time, so the *plinging* was kept to a minimum. It also helped that I left my phone upstairs, out of earshot.

What surprised me was that I had to find other things to do and I got to read almost 100 pages of my book that I started and discarded years ago. Hubby and I reconnected in a more meaningful way because we were forced to talk more, instead of both passing out in front of our seperate screens which we use as down-time from a hectic day. We got to bed much earlier (most nights) because Google wasn't tempting us to do more and more and more.

The downside (and my friend in Oz also battled with this) is that if you devote your whole day to your children and their needs, the quiet evenings are the only time you have to get things done, like make payments, send important mails (in my case, do some uninterrupted work!) or just relax and check out Facebook. The fact that I was unable to have screen time, did not make the screen time business go away, it just reduced the amount of time I spent in front of the screen and now I'm catching up on all the things I couldn't do like medical aid claims etc.

But we will learn as we go and hopefully this working-from-home-stay-at-home-be-everything-to-everybody-mom will learn to juggle this extra complexity and be mindful of the time she spends in front of a screen instead of looking after herself, by getting sufficient zzzzzzz and eating real food. We're off to a good start - this as our afternoon tea, supplied by Hubby!

Talking about Hubby, I must admit that I didn't find him cheating on the no-screen-time challenge, not even once, although I did see him gazing longingly at the alarm-system screen for longer than usual...... hee hee!

Have a happy, healthy, earthy 2014!!