summer: unplugged.

This summer I have one goal: Unplug. I tried it over the holidays with the kids’ toys  (read: our analog christmas), but I’m thinking it’s time to go big.

From iPhones to iPads, to the constant (freaking) buzzing of the TV in the background… I just want to shut it all off.

I’ve surrendered my iPhone to the kitchen drawer (or my husband’s pocket) on more than one occasion
(OK, like nightly).
I can go days without my iPad.
I’d probably spontaneously combust if I went days without my iMac… but I think that’s worth testing.
I can definitely live without the TV on.
It’s just a matter of pulling all of those things together.
I think.

Here’s my plan:

  • TV off during the day. We actually pretty much already do this (Except for when my husband pretends like he forgot. Then I have to pretend not to be a nag).  In the morning we listen to music, in the afternoon it’s play time or outside time… or anything else but TV time. 

It started with me just being ultra-conscientious about what my kids were watching in the day and that evolved to the realization that there really is no need for the TV to be on at all. A little nudge from Simplicity Parenting didn’t hurt, either (review coming soon). Listen, I’m human. There will exceptions (like feeding my Housewives addiction when the kids are napping). 

  • iPhone lock down. Here’s the hard one, especially since my business isn’t 9-5. 

I’m learning to surrender the iPhone. It’s way too tempting to flip through your phone as you walk by it on the counter. Or roll through your social media accounts to see what’s happening in the virtual world. When work is done, I’m going to do my damnedest to put my phone away. Every night.

Away- like in a drawer (my favorite place) or a cabinet, or a fire-proof safe. Or, have my husband stash it somewhere I can’t reach it.

Yes, my willpower is that bad. Trust me.

  • Kids: unplugged. This summer we’re going old school. 

I’ve already kick-started this by introducing more imaginative, active play and activities in their day-to-day. From puzzles to blocks, fort-building and role playing… it’s amazing what kids can do with their imagination and toys that don’t have batteries or do half the thinking for them.

Now it’s just a matter of getting my husband on board.

Stay tuned…

 

before they were my parents, they were awesome.

When I was a kid, my mom leaned in, looked me in the eye and spoke these genius words of wisdom that I’ll never forget, “Before I was a mom, I was a person.”

That really struck me, even at a young age. You see, I always held my mom up on this towering pedestal because, in my eyes, she was perfect. I loved her so much, I wanted to be with her every second and when she wanted some *gasp* time alone, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Looking back, I can see how a single mom of two (who often worked two jobs and struggled to make ends meet) really needed some alone time, some girl time, some wine time, some time to just feel like the person she was before the responsibilities weighed so heavy on her shoulders.

Those few simple words put it all into perspective for me. She wasn’t just my mom. She was a person, she was a friend, she was a daughter, she had ambitions . . . she was human. And by the way, even before she was my mom, she was awesome. Which brings me to my latest online obsession, the website My Parents Were Awesome.

The photos on this site speak volumes. Our parents had eyes filled with hope, with love, with naiveté. They were cool, they rebelled, they pushed boundaries, they weren’t jaded by some of life’s harsh realities (yet). They dove in, they blasted their music, they ran, they dreamed, they took risks. They loved, they laughed . . . they were human.

My parents drove classic cars. They cruised. My dad rigged a record player in his car, my mom threw on her scarf, and they were awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had the perfect bangs, the perfect a-line dress and the waist of a Barbie doll the day she was married. My dad had a full head of stand-up-and-take-notice hair. Awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had a carefree attitude (that I envy to this day), she was independent and had the most infectious laugh. She still does. Also awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you become a parent your whole world really does get flipped upside down. Sometimes we feel like our old selves are buried beneath diapers and toys and the baby-proofed furniture that used to be our newlywed home (that we swore would never look like Romper Room but, of course, now could be its body-double). But  My Parents Were Awesome and my mom’s words will always remind me that no matter how much more I relate to being a mom with every day that passes, I was a person long before I was a parent. There are many things I’ll look back on and be proud of. There are some things I’d rather hide (who dressed me in the 90s, anyway?). And along the way I’ve collected many, many photos that document it all.

Hopefully my kids will look back one day and think that, long ago, I was also awesome.

 

“happiness just happened . . . and you missed it.”

I read that in a book recently and it smacked me like a sheet of cold water across my face. I was struck by the reality that with my multitasking bad habits, my obsession with documenting everything with photos and videos, my propensity to get caught up with work and to-do lists and whatever’s three steps ahead  . . .”living in the moment” has completely escaped me.

Here’s what I’d add to that line in the book: Happiness just happened . . . and you missed it. And guess what? It’s your fault.

After all, it’s my time, it’s my life and it’s my grubby little fingers that type it all in to my calendar, that write it all down on scraps of papers with check boxes and run-on lists . . . the same fingers that scroll through my phone at every free second like I’ve lost the winning Lotto numbers and they’re somewhere in my phone.


At the end of the day, I’m usually the one that creates the totally over-planned, over-committed chaos that has become my day-to-day existence. The choices I make to be behind the camera versus in the action, to juggle a conference call in the few precious moments I’m totally alone with my baby, to check email during my toddler’s swim lesson– they’re all robing minutes away from each experience. And I’m letting them. But not any more.

While I haven’t completely finished it (guess who’s “too busy”?), this book (The Happiest Mom) has me thinking of all the ways I need to change my approach to life. Starting with . . .

  • When I feed my baby, that’s all I’m doing. You don’t want to know how many times I did that juggling my crackberry, texting, tweeting, wondering if that last tweet made me loose followers (telling myself how lame that sounds, even if it’s in my own head), worrying if I finished that email. Wait. Let me look at my phone and check. ENOUGH. Just feed the baby. Me and him. That’s it.
  • Giving my toddler Momma time. Uninterrupted. TV off, phone away, real time. At the park, on our couch, anywhere. I’m talking eye contact, real conversations (you know, of the 2-year-old kind), just me and him. It’s sad to think about how many conversations we have with our kids that all revolve around “Sure” and “Uh huh” and if they’re lucky, an occasional “Ohhh…really??” all the while texting, reading, web surfing, watching reality TV, wondering if it’s too early for a cocktail, etc., etc.
  • Getting in the action instead of always having my face behind a camera or video recorder. I might have kick-ass pictures, but I’m not in any of them. And I’m not fully experiencing what’s happening when I’m too busy staging shots like I’m running a red carpet.
  • Giving my husband my phone when we sit down to eat, so he can hold it hostage. I don’t want to be that couple . . . huddled around their phones reading Twitter, checking into Foursquare, playing video games. Let’s take it back circa 1970s where we actually had to talk to each other. Or, stare at each other. Anything but ignoring each other for our phones. This would also be a good time to have heart-to-heart with my 2 year old, so he’ll stop crashing his crayons together like the restaurant is his personal rally race.
  • Banning talking about my clients or my work when I’m not actually working.
  • Forgetting about everything else when I walk into the gym, besides how awesome it feels to be out of my house and at the gym.
  • Not worrying about things that will have no bearing on my life five years from now. If no one will get hurt and/or I won’t care about it five years from now . . . it’s not worth distracting from the hundreds of things I could be doing with that time instead (see above).

I could go on for days.

If you took a good, honest, look at the things that prevent you from really soaking in the moments as they happen– what would you change?

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