Thursday, September 22, 2016

Media. The good, the bad and the crazy.


**By no means is this post boasting, supposed to make you feel guilt, or start a "Mom War."**

That being said...all negative comments an move along kindly.

Media. Ipads, TV, Laptops, Cell Phones, Leapsters, ect. We are surrounded by it. Our kids are surrounded by it. Personally, I love it. I mean, Aaron works in media. Our lives and lively hood revolve around media.

Media can be good. It keeps us in touch with friends and family. Aids learning. It's fun and relaxing for some. Ebooks, E-Bibles, online school, Facebook, Kids websites and game. Educational...well not Facebook really, But have you seen those Tasty videos?! Its like cooking school!

Media can be bad. It opens doors to addictions that before media were much harder to get to. Online gambling, Pornography, ideology, judgement, and cyber bullying. Not that these things didn't happen before...but it was harder.

Media can be crazy. There is no start and finish, Netflix binge anyone *raises hand*. Its a brain suck. You literally withdrawal from media, "Screens", just as you would caffeine.  It makes it hard to sleep, it makes it hard to focus, it makes my kids crazy.

That last note, "It makes our kids crazy". Guys, I'm not joking. They turn into crazy people when they have to much media. Like, screaming aliens.

Aaron and I saw this. We saw how the kids behavior changed literally drastically when they had all the media. When I say all the media I mean, about an hour of shows in the morning when they woke up, about an hour at 4pm when I was cooking dinner, and then one short show after baths before bed. So 2.5 hours of media time per day. Then, I would say to myself, "They are not even getting that much media time! They won't be affected by it!" But they were.

Aaron and I made a crazy decision.  A decision that isn't right for everyone, frankly I don't think its right for us sometimes! We decided to cut out ALL media. Everything, TV, educational websites, leap pens, cell phones in waiting rooms, all of it.

Our kids don't have any media at all Sunday through Friday evening. Friday evening we do family movie night and on Saturday we let them watch a show or two when they wake up. Thats it. They are getting the amount of screen time in a whole week that they used to get per day.

Its been crazy. They withdrew. I withdrew. How the heck was I going to get ANYTHING done without a brain suck for them? It took about a week of constant "I WANT SCREEN TIME!" "Please Mama just one Daniel Tiger" YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO SAY NO TO DANIEL. It.was.rough.

Some beautiful things started to happen. They used there imaginations, they played togather and didn't need me, because their brains were thinking clearly. They do art work and listen to muisc and a few books on tape. They are making up games and doing puzzles. Not because the screens were taken away, not to earn the media time, but because they have learned that there is way more than just media for "fun". We are cooking, reading and cleaning together, and enjoying it.

They are dirty and tired at the end of the day. My house is so messy at the end of the day. I am exhausted at the end of the day. But they are happy. They are happy children, not entertained zombies.

Like I said, this isn't for everyone. Maybe your the lucky one who's children don't turn into tiny crazy people with media. Most days I am thankful we did this. Lots of mornings I wish I could just drink my coffee to the sound of PBS Kids rather than the active playing off the bat.

The benefits outweigh the odds for us every day of the week. Even when I think about throwing in the towel we make it through and we are never sorry that we did this.

- Patty

Monday, September 19, 2016

Figuring out how to fill your cup.

A few months ago I read one of those posts that says "You can't pour from and empty cup, take care of yourself first". I thought, that's right! I matter and I'm going to choose a goal and make time for me and make it happen. My family will be just fine. 

So, I decided to take up running. Training for a half marathon to be exact. I LOVE running. For 11 weeks I ran regularly 3-4 times a day. The first 8 weeks were physically challenging and not too time consuming. It was an easy way for me to get out for 30min to an hour a day. It was cleansing for my soul to. I felt so great after a run!

I got to run races with my bestie. We got to talk about all things running and connect and share a same interest on a different level than we had in a while. It was glorious! 

The training runs got longer. I kept saying it's only 9 more weeks. You need to fill your cup first, remember your better when you do this. Except I wasn't feeling better.

I mean physically yes! I lost weight, I ran ten miles without stopping, which had been a goal of mine for a long time! I was connecting with my friends and making time for me! 

Something was missing. I was missing precious time. Precious hours during the week. Dinners and bedtimes. Aaron would get home from work and I'd have dinner ready. Instead of sitting down to eat with my family, I left him at the table with the kids and I would go run. Taking care of me, right? 

Why was I feeling so awful when I was supposed to be feeing great? When I was filling my own cup? Achieving my own goals?

I realized a few things. First. I really do LOVE running. I got my body strong enough to run eleven miles. That felt so good. I had a goal and I was SO close to reaching it. Two. My family is what fills my cup right now. I was missing so much. To many it may seem like nothing. What's a few hours a week? To me, to my life right now, those hours are precious. 

It came down to priority. What were my priorities? I choose them. 

I chose my kids and my husband. Not because I felt like I had to. Not because Aaron couldn't do it. I chose them because they fill my cup.

Someday, I won't have faces to wipe. I won't have early bedtime stories to tell and bath water to be splashed by. Someday I will have time to run all the miles I want. 

Until then, I'm proud of how hard I ran and how many hours I made happen per week. 

People fill their cups there own unique ways. No one way works for each person and one way is wrong. This, this is what's right for me. 

- Patty