Monday, August 5, 2013

UNPLUGGED. A Life Without Media.

Survival Guide.

Cue the crazy, oh my gosh! are we really making it through, horror type music.

Survival Music.

Today is day five of no TV.  No TV.  Do you know how hard that is?  It’s hard.  My children are going through detox.  I’m going through detox.  I’m writing this in shaking pain under the counter.

I think it will end.  The yearning to just veg out in front of the box.  Or clean my house in peace.  Or do anything in peace.  Shower without anyone running in crying, or screaming that they pee’d on the floor and wondering how that’s going to look in 5 minutes when I get out of the shower.  Then trying to track down the pee smell with a nose that can no longer smell it, because it just exists in my house.  I swear my house smells like pee.  I hate pee.  My children are so far beyond the stage of potty training.  I think it’s time to throw all of our furnishings out and just start over.  It’s like a car that’s been in an accident, it doesn’t matter how ‘fixed’ it is, it still has been in an accident.  My furniture, beds, oh the couch have been in 5 million and one ‘accidents’.  The moment we get something new, someone will inevitably pee on it.

Oh God, is TV really that bad?

Yes. It. Is.

Whew.  Okay.  Just trying to remember.

You see, somehow I managed to make little addicts out of my children.  I didn’t mean to.  It just sort of happened in the loneliness of the seasons and the small respite that would turn into daily respite, then hourly, and so on until it dominated every moment of our lives until nothing was as fun as sitting at home watching Curious George go to the zoo.  The actual zoo, not fun.  George’s trip to the zoo, awesome.

It has been 2 1/2 months since we unplugged our children.  Yes, there is a nice orchestra playing, a slight swell of pride in my chest.  I’m sorry, but do you know how hard it is to become a media free family?!  I feel as if I’m on the other side of detox and I am so outrageously thankful we made it with all our body parts and most of our sanity intact.

If you happen to stumble upon this, you should not think I judge you if your kids watch a million hours of television a day or one.  There are seasons in life where that feels necessary.  We have had times in our lives of massive media consumption, but there was that voice in my heart, in my mind, telling me it had to stop.  It HAD to STOP!!  I was compelled and desperate enough to go through the full month process.

It was not easy.  There were times that I sent them to their rooms to play with their toys because I was going crazy with our constant interaction.  I desperately needed a break from them as much as they needed to live without stimulation.

My heart feels overwhelmed with what we’ve learned.  With the process this has taken us through.  I am outrageously grateful.

We bought stories and children’s music on cd.  They will push the coffee table up against the tv so it’s a good distance from the couch, they put on Jake and the Neverland Pirate’s music and they do these fabulous dances, while we watch, clap, and praise them.  When my children are quiet and I go to find them, it has become more common to find them sitting next to one another reading a book than getting in to trouble.

Our entire family has become more connected and engaged.  My children are happier and more obedient.  Turning off the television, the ipads, the leap pads, and taking away the cell phones has made our lives abundantly more fulfilled and beautiful.

We now watch 1-2 movies a month, as a family, on the couch, with a bucket of homemade popcorn and tea, cuddled together.  Movies have become an event, not a daily occurrence.

My house is much less clean.  Much LESS clean.  There is a constant trail from one place of play to another.  Life seems a bit more chaotic.  There is a greater need to get out and DO things.  We adventure more.  I’m a little more tired, but a lot more happy.

There are pros and cons to all things in life.  For our family the pros of becoming media free far out weigh the cons.

I wish you luck in your own journey, your own beliefs and convictions.  If you read this I hope you feel inspired and not condemned.  As mom’s, as parents, we are doing the best we can.  I believe that looks different in every season.  Good luck to you in whichever season you find yourself.

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