Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Laptop on the Attic Floor

Mindful parenting. Being thoughtful. Being present.

Whatever you want to call it, sometimes it's hard when there's a constant distraction around. Which is why this laptop has been relegated to our upstairs attic bedroom.

Last week, amid a lot of fuss and stress, I felt I was needing breaks.

What easier way to 'take a break for a minute' than to go online and look at something trivial?

The only problem was that this was starting to happen a lot. Needing these mindless breaks did make sense in a way; Kiddo's big feelings seemed ever-present and like they came one after another, like a series of tidal waves.  While I did what I felt was right in being empathetic, responsive, and offering clear choices when need be, it apparently wasn't enough. So,  on Wednesday night I unplugged the laptop and moved it upstairs. I wasn't 100% sure how this would work, but knew that something had to change.

I can say that I've made a few observations in the days since:

I have been more focused on Kiddo and Joe at my morning tea, when I used to hide behind the screen while trying to wake up.

Taking a break on the laptop now inspires me to make some clear-cut decisions about how I'm using my time. Because I am actually removing myself from the ground floor, where most of the action is, I have to finish what I'm doing-- or at least have it at a good stopping place-- before going online. 

Because I'm going upstairs, I have to ensure that Kiddo is engaged and okay for a few minutes. Checking in is good.

Because I'm not physically present, Kiddo doesn't feel like he's having to compete for my attention. Out of sight, out of mind. I'll be down in five minutes-- and when I'm down, my attention is all yours. 

Because I'm not online much these days, when I go on that Mamaworldparenting  Forum, I find that I am developing a limited tolerance for some questions. Which forces me not to answer them much, because I don't want to be rude and tell them "hey, nice first world problem you have there. Quit your complaining." Which is what I really DO want to tell them, but so I don't, so I stay offline more and more. It's a relief, in a way.

Because I'm sitting on the floor, I have to deliberately decide "Is this so important that it's worth my legs falling asleep to look at it?" I hate to say it, but at my age with my body, this question comes into play a lot. 


Kiddo's life isn't miraculously better now that the dreaded computer is out of the way, but I feel like a better mom. I'm not as conflicted/distracted and am able to be a bit more deliberate. When I go upstairs for a few minutes, it really does feel like more of a break. 

I could wax philosophical a bit more on this good move, but my feet are getting tingly....

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