Last week, Jon and I decided we needed a family day. We said goodbye to the messy kitchen, yard chores, and to-do-lists, hopped in the truck and decided to take the kids on a ferry ride across the Sound. Typically, I take this opportunity to blow up my FB albums with check-ins and IG stories with photos for engagement, but not last week. Last week, I decided to put my phone on airplane mode.
Now, don't hold your breath- I didn’t go CRAY. I still used my phone for taking photos because #firstfamilyday ever. However, my time wasn’t spent documenting every second of the trip in real time for “likes”, and this is what I learned:
1. My children have expressions I've never seen before. I feel shame around typing that sentence out with the self-realization behind what it means. I get so caught up in documenting their lives through a lens that I miss the in-between eyebrow raises, half-assed grins, and character that they both have developed. I miss all that when I post pictures to social media in present time, thinking up captions and what hashtags to use, or editing the "shadow" lighting off of their faces. This makes me sad to think about.
2. It turns out Jon and I have a lot of fun together. Imagine that? I reflected on all the engagement and interaction Jon and I shared that day, and how empty it must feel to be with someone who is always on their phone (me). All the conversations and laughs we had, most likely wouldn't have happened had my nose been in my phone. Little connections such as, meeting each others eyes when one of the kids did something new, were much needed and had been lacking- most likely due to my phone/internet usage.
3. We have one badass stroller. We have had this about a year now, and I've never played with all the perks that make it glorious. Not only can we rearrange the seats however we want, but get this: THE SEATS TILT BACK. Nap time on the go? Yes please, I'll take it! It made the day trip a breeze. I had to do a little "letting go" of trying to control when naps occurred, but it was pretty simple to do in my mindfully present mind-set.
4. I don't have to be prepared for everything, all of the time. The way I grew up, in order to make a day trip, a cooler had to be packed, lunches prepared, and something was in the bag for every situation that could possibly occur. While there is value in preparation, there is freedom in spontaneity. And with that spontaneity comes opportunity. Opportunity for us to teach our kids lessons, and how to go with the flow of whatever the day brings! Aside from the diaper bag, we literally, only had my Owie oil, mineral sunscreen, and allergy rollerball (which were already in my purse). This was a huge step for me. There were lessons learned in waiting, and expressing needs when hungry, because I didn't have a meal prepped to INSTANTLY feed my toddler.
5. My anxiety wasn't as high and my patience wasn't thin. Yes, thoughts still protruded through my brain about the ferry rails not being sturdy and my kids plummeting to their deaths from the second floor, or an unknown PNW eel swimming up to shore and taking my child by the legs (I told you, my PPD-anxiety is no joke), but with my nose not in my phone, I was able to do some real grounding work. Separating those obnoxious thoughts, taking a deep breath, looking at the beautiful surroundings that the PNW is filled with, allowed me to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, and in that breathing my anxiety could subside, and my conscience could be filled with the beauty of what was in front of me. Which leads me to a bonus #6.
6. Patience, which ties in with number five. So much of my anxiety produces impatience. "No, no don't touch that", "be careful, don't do that", etc.. I also (shamefully), have realized my patient runs short with my kids with they are begging for my attention but I'm busy posting pictures on my phone. They want me to look at a wonderful creation, or something new (like picking grass) that they have discovered, and I miss the innocent excitement because I'm busy on my phone.
SO, how to proceed moving forward? I'm not sure. Ground rules would be a good one. But it's a tough balance. I make my living through IG, FB, and sharing. I'm going to have to sit on these thoughts for a couple of days, talking it over with Jon, and see what I come up with. I'm pretty positive on one thing: Airplane Mode Days are much needed, and the benefits definitely outweigh the detriments of no internet- which are what? No comments to reply to? Hehe.
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