3 Things I Learned Going SCREEN-FREE

It’s true, I went screen-free for a week, (GASP, an entire week you say?) which means no cell, laptop, TV etc. Any device with a screen = off limits.

And here’s why: primarily to see if the tension in my head would go away, (I get migraines which are now well managed, but I often have mild tension) and secondarily, but probably more importantly, I wanted to see how no screens would affect my parenting, and my own cluttered thoughts.

And since no pictures were taken this week, please enjoy the interspersed pictures of my kids making ridiculous faces.

Here’s what I learned:

Screens are EVERYWHERE

Adjusting to screen-free living was tricky, I didn’t anticipating having to avoid screens outside of the big 3 (TV, Phone, Computer) Like, the baby monitor, or at church, or at the movies (ha), or at the gym.

The massive snowstorms during screen-free week gave me a great excuse prevented me from hitting the gym my usual 3 times a week.

Anyhoo, pretty much every machine has a screen, and though I usually hit the weights [like a BEAST] I do warm up on the stairs or other cardio, so I had to turn off my screen and not look at my neighbors screens. 

So, what else is there to look at while you’re burning one annoying calorie at a time?

Guys, I saw some things.

People sure do like the way their derriere looks in the mirror, and while most fellow-gym goers may not pick up on your self ‘miring, I had nothing to do but study your every move.

So thanks for the show, friend. (I feel like I can call you a friend now, since I’ve seen you in some really compromising positions.)

Avoiding An Addiction Makes You So Productive

The lucky kiddos were stuck with mommy’s full attention along with no tv, during a week chalk-full of snow storms [reminders: Hayden’s fear of snow boots. And snow. And cold.]

It was a fun week. Well, it was a week to remember. Well, it was truly dicey, folks.

Let me tell you. Idle hands are the devils workshop. This is for real, friends. I had to keep my hands busy.

For some reason the little people didn’t enjoy mommy’s spontaneous house-purging efforts: “You don’t play with this anymore, right?” I say, gesturing to half of their playroom.
img_0846And then, after some topless painting we played some quality rounds of hide-and-seek.

Hayden always had to seek – not because he isn’t a good hider; he can giggle under a dining room table like a pro. It’s that he just really enjoys the hunt.

He says ‘ready or not, here I come…’ in a pretty menacing whisper, and he calls his victim’s name in an effort to draw them out of safety. “Wiwwy, (that’s Livvy), where ahhh yooouuu?” Then he tackles with tickles. Its quite a sight.

Given the day of learning and culture the dear children received, I was shockingly productive. I mean, SHOCKINGLY.

In the end the house vomited 11 garbage bags of STUFF we haven’t used in ages, and the basement received a donation of 2 large totes stuffed with kitchen appliances and other items I couldn’t bear to part with entirely, but simply needed to get out of my way.

And the kids, well, they seemed pretty amused with the change in our routine, and all-in-all they faired well.

Clarity Comes From Strange Places

On day 2 or maybe it was 3, (you really lose track of time with a total technology black out), my husband came home at 5pm (early, bless him) and announced he was going on a man-date with his BFF, Doug, and leaving immediately.

I complained about the lack of notice, and he complained about my technology ban, and I decided to shoot for BEST WIFE EVER AWARD, and assured him I’d be fine, and to have a good time. (Please don’t consult my husband to verify above story)

It wasn’t that dinner and bedtime with the kids were too tricky solo — that’s because Dave and I encourage each other to get THE HECK OUT OF THE HOUSE at least one night a week, each.

The difficulty arose at 6:45pm, when I walked down the stairs after tucking in those cute kids I made we made.

I looked around the quiet house, and realized all I wanted to do was decompress.

I wanted to hop on the couch and turn on a rerun of FRIENDS and scroll through my social feeds, then make myself a yummy treat, and repeat.

Instead I planted myself in front of our electric fireplace, and brought a few books over, along with my day planner, which ensures me that I do, in fact, have a connection to the world.

Anyway, book(s) in hand, fireplace roaring, (as much as electric fireplaces do roar) dessert bowl nestled safely on my belly, I was multi-tasking well enough that I didn’t even miss my screens.

Then I stopped.

I just sat, did some deep breathing, and let thoughts come to me. It was surprisingly NOT relaxing.

At first, I kept thinking of all these to-dos; for me, for my kids, for friends, for fun. I couldn’t do the majority of them, I was trapped, locked away from technology.

This was the moment I felt incredibly freed. I was FORCED to not research this product, or text that friend, or read the school’s newsletter. I was forced to be still, and alone, and not only did the stress melt away but big ideas formed, exciting new adventures I would begin pursuing by putting pen to paper immediately.

It was, awesome.

It seems that being swamped in all the little things impedes the big things from getting started, or really going anywhere. Making a major shift in your day-to-day routine, whether its a technology ban or removing some other major vice (not sugar, I’m never giving up sugar), gives your head space to see the bigger picture and recalibrate. I learned this kind of meditation its such a wonderful thing. I’ll be making it regular, in some form or another.

I encourage you to try it. Beware; it takes a lot more planning than you think. For reference, here’s how I prepared:

– Short note to friends and family explaining my unavailability and emergency contact during the week (husband)
– A planner, and planning ahead with friends to ensure a fairly active schedule to ease the transition
– A way to get needed info, weather reports, school closings, (For this, I had my husband tell me everything)
– Printed recipes for the week
– A week/period of time where you don’t have any BIG events going on (early Feb was it for me), I only looked a few weeks out, because life is always ‘busy’ but certainly more weeks are better than others for this type of adventure.

Be sure to share your screen/tech free adventure with me!

DISCLAIMER: I did have to view a few screens, momentarily on days 4 and 5; the snowstorms threw my well-penned plans out the window, so some phone calls and texts were made for planning purposes only. I also glimpsed at the baby monitor before realizing that it, too, is a screen. To compensate, and because I wanted to, I stayed off social media for an additional 10 days AFTER the week completed.

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