I've been working on limiting my time engaged in social media for months now. I use a "Digital Wellbeing" function in my phone settings to set daily time limits for apps like Facebook and Instagram. I typically set it for 15-20 minutes for each app. Sometimes I would need to extend it by 5-10 minutes since I use them for both personal and professional engagement. Who is to say it is personal v. professional v. both, right? Right?!
Yesterday was Day 1. Here is what I learned: I survived. The world didn't end. My friends and family still love me.
Aside from that, I had more time to do the things that are important to me. I finally opened up the Instant Pot I got for Christmas (20 days to open a gift feels excessive, right?!) and got cooking. Unfortunately, I didn't think I needed to read the instructions. I normally don't. Electronics and I usually have a very organic relationship in which I can intuitively figure them out pretty easily. The Instant Pot was a different story. I set the timer for 15 minutes and things seemed to be happening so I walked away. I sat down on the couch with my two sons (ages 3 and 4.5) to enjoy some screen time before dinner. I was soaking up their little bodies pressed against mine and smelling in big whiffs of their hair. 25 minutes go by. I start to panic. Why didn't the timer go off? I open it up to check. Chicken is raw. Crap.
Regroup: flip flop bath time and dinner tonight. Put frozen pizza in oven. Round 2 on Instant Pot. Eat pizza for dinner. Overeat because I'm stressed out or need something to do with my hands--I'm not quite sure which. Round 2 is a success. Let cool for an hour and store in fridge for tomorrow. Boys still go to bed at normal time. All good.
Now to continue my productivity and doing things important to me. Here is where it gets more personal. My husband of 6 years and I decided to divorce in March of 2019. My boys and I have been living in a minimally decorated (but somehow very homey) and half disorganized home since August. Construction in the kitchen and mudroom were going on until November; blocking access to the storage room. Enter: disorganization. I have slowly started pulling things out that were thrown into the storage room haphazardly so that I can now semi-'Marie Kondo' my house; only keeping things that bring me joy. (There is no way she can ever get to me to fold my shirts so they stand upright.) I recently came upon a trash bag of papers to sort through.
I sat down on the kitchen floor and quickly realized they came from my oldest son's closet. It was every receipt from every baby item and baby gift we bought or received, every card from all 4 of my baby showers, the cards from the flowers that came in the hospital delivery room, the cards from his baptism, and the cards from his first birthday. I decided to throw out every receipt and started sorting the cards into piles to store in separate Ziploc bags. I was struck by one consistent message that kept coming up: "You all are going to be such great parents!" All at once, the tears started streaming. Sitting on the floor with my face in my hands letting out silent sobs. The tears for the hope and the excitement that came along with becoming first-time parents, the tears for the grief of losing what should have been, and most of all, the tears from the guilt of my children not getting to grow up in a two-parent household; with their amazing dad who loves them so much.
This is what I am avoiding by keeping busy. This is what I am avoiding by staying constantly connected to my phone. Part of me wants to call off the 7-days now since I have a clear take away. But the other part of me knows this is what I truly need.
What else are we avoiding by staying constantly plugged in, distracted, and scrolling?