In a World Without Internet

This may sound completely ridiculous, but not having internet from last Friday until late yesterday afternoon was truly a blessing. Of course, we still had data on our phones and were able to check in if necessary, but it gave all of us in our family a chance to unplug and enjoy each other more than we usually do when we have phones, computers, and tablets shoved into our faces.

I get depressed when I think about needing our internet literally severed (the contractors doing dirt-work next door keep cutting the internet cords) before we put all of our devices down and look directly at one another. Maybe this was a huge blessing in disguise. It was our way of bringing us all back to reality. Back to a simpler way of living and less distraction.

Maybe you can make it a point to unplug every once in a while and see how it impacts your life. Maybe you’ll end up playing the world’s longest game of Uno! (A single game lasted through 5 reshuffles of the deck and 1.5 hours of play!) Maybe you’ll end up reading more of the book you’ve been trying to finish for some time now.

Unplug every once in awhile…you deserve a break!

Summer is Finally Here

It’s funny how life changes. When we were kids growing up, we got so excited about summer. No more homework. No more early mornings. No more class everyday. We could usually just hang out with our friends, go to the pool, maybe the lake if we were lucky, and every few years we got to see the beach. Yeah, summers as a kid were amazing.

Enter parenthood…

Now, I look forward to summer break because we won’t have homework; no more early mornings; we can have play-dates with friends; we get to go to the pool; maybe we can have a lake day if we’re lucky; and maybe we’ll get to see the beach one of these years.

So, wait, what has really changed?

Well, for starters I have to keep these 3 tiny humans alive all summer. That’s definitely new! But also I get to watch the magical times of summer through the lens of a parent. Yes, the days pass by quicker for me than they do for the kids (whose hours and minutes drag along at a snail’s pace during the summertime – I do remember that), but I get to be part of new adventures in my kid’s lives. I get to partake in endless hours of board games, water fights, zoo trips, and maybe even a cool museum or two.

So, why am I sharing this?

Because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this with my kids had I not stopped drinking. Sure, I could still go to the pool, the zoo, the lake, the beach, or wherever the destination may be, but how can I be responsible for these little people when I can’t even responsibly take care of myself?

These trips would probably still be fun as I chased down chardonnay after chardonnay, but then who drives us home responsibly? Who takes us to the urgent care when someone falls at the pool? Who is able to care for my babies when they are solely in my care daily this summer?

Me…this sober mama right here will take pride in being able to do all of the mundane and sometimes boring things I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll do them with pride. I’ll do them with perspective. I will gladly play monopoly so many times my head will explode! Because I get to…

Focus on the Important Things Today

There are so many distractions these days. There is work (whether that’s inside the home, outside the home, or for some people it’s both), family (which depending on your situation can range from daily encounters with your immediate kin all the way to your great-grandma), kids (there are too many extracurricular activities for kids to name them all), social media (this can be helpful in business, but it’s also a dangerous time waster), and of course everything else in between. I could probably ramble on and on about all of the “tasks” we keep ourselves busy with these days, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with information.

The point of recognizing everyone’s “busyness” today is to point out that there can be a LOT of distractions. We are distracted from doing the important things because we’re too focused on the thing we need to get done for work. Maybe we have a deadline. Maybe we have an important meeting. Maybe our boss is coming into town for a quarterly visit. But what about the birthday party your son begged you to take him to? What about the cartoon movie you promised your middle child you’d take him to, just you and him? What about all of the date nights you miss out on with your spouse because you’re exhausted from a long work week?

This isn’t meant to be a bashing session for people who work. (I love when people are committed to being successful in their careers and professional endeavors.) These issues can just as easily pop up in family scenarios. We are distracted because of the next family drama being played out in real life. The gossiping, the rude remarks, and the yo-yo diets could keep us all busy for years. What about the positive situations in our lives? What about the nice things we could say to each other instead?

Oh the activities for kids nowadays is a never ending list! Between volunteering at the PTA functions, to the baseball fields every week night, to planning class end of year parties, and working on countless other projects, we have all become distracted from just spending quality time with our kids. Sit down and play a game with your kiddos. Read them a book. Do something that doesn’t involve electronics.

And social media…I really think this one speaks for itself, but I’ll go ahead and say it:
WE SPEND WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
(Myself included…)

Take a look at your list of things to do today. Take away the ones that don’t really matter and add in the ones that can add quality to your life. I know I needed to hear this myself today because I get sucked into the never-ending world of the internet sometimes.

Focus on the people in your life today. Focus on what really matters.

 

 

Quality Time with the People that Matter

If your social media feed was anything like mine yesterday, you saw a flood of pictures of people dressed in their Sunday best for Easter. Maybe there were kids in matching pastel colors. Maybe there was family shot of everyone from great-grandparents down to the newest newborn baby. Maybe you saw pictures of people dying Easter eggs. Maybe you saw the lineup of kiddos hunting said Easter eggs in a mad dash to get that coveted golden egg.

While the ability to post and reflect on these pictures at a later date is great, what is even more important is what’s behind the camera. The conversation you had with your grandpa who’s buying a new house with his future bride. The BBQ tips you learned from your uncle who swears up and down by his pinto bean recipe. Watching the kids play in the mud pit, which was the sandbox transformed by the water hose and 3 boys on one muddy mission. The chat with your parents over where they should put their future goats they plan on getting soon.

All of these conversations are real. All of them happened without any cameras or phones. I believe pictures and memories can be captured with our cool technology we have these days, but those aren’t the only things that matter. Take time to enjoy the people around you and appreciate the family and friends in your life.

Another Weekend Ahead of Us

My life a few years ago looked completely different than it does today. This weekend we have a full day of baseball and t-ball games, quality family time, and maybe some lounging around on Sunday afternoon. We by no means live in the nostalgia of times past, but I do appreciate the much quieter, less painful weekend we have ahead of us.

Let me explain…

A few years ago, we would probably have the same kind of weekend scheduled…except, we’d stay up too late on Friday night drinking our beers and wine, smoking our cigs after the kids had gone to bed (which we only did when we drank), and then we’d wake up with a beautiful little hangover that hung around until mid-afternoon to the next day. Yeah, it was not a pretty sight. Not only were we less productive humans, but we were very impatient parents. We yelled a lot more at our kids. We got more frustrated with one another as spouses. We were definitely more snappy with one another when it came to who took care of what parenting responsibility of the hour.

Yeah, we were lousy people…lousy parents.

But now, I look ahead and look forward to the “boring life,” as some would call it, we live today! I love that we go to bed at a reasonable hour. I relish in the fact that I can wake up on a Saturday morning with the kids at 7:00 am and not feel like hammered damn-it all day! Our lives may be stressful at times with going here and going there and volunteering for this and participating in that, but I wouldn’t exchange any of it for the life we used to live.

So here’s to another weekend ahead of us…may it be full of what some people call “boring” activities. Only you know how priceless all of it really is…

Doing Things for the Wrong Reasons

Intentionality has been a concept I have learned to adopt over the past 2 years. Being intentional about what you do in life really slims down the chances that you’re not:

1) wasting time

2) wasting money

3) doing something you’re not supposed to be doing 

4) being somewhere you don’t need to be

5) hanging around people you don’t need to be hanging around

I know when I’m intentional with how I spend time with my kids and my family, I get so much more out of our time together. When you are fully present for the people around you, it’s much easier to enjoy your time together.

When we are intentional with our time and our money we are able to know exactly what we are spending our time and money on; two of our most valuable resources! 

When we are intentional with our time, we know we aren’t wasting it doing things we shouldn’t be doing. What is our purpose? Why are we here? These are two questions to ask ourselves when we get frustrated or find ourselves becoming irritable in a situation. If the answer is “Because this is my family and I need to spend time with them” or “I need to hang out with my best friend who I haven’t seen in a while” then you can focus on your purpose while you’re there.

When I think about being somewhere I don’t need to be, I immediately visualize a bar. I have no business being in a bar unless I have a purpose there. A friend just got married and there’s a reception there, or my brother received a big promotion and is celebrating. I can think of many reasons to be in a bar if there is a celebration, but to simply be in a bar for no reason isn’t being intentional and quite honestly playing with fire for me.

Hanging around people who bring you down is not a way to be intentional with time, money, or even your well being. You know best the toxic people in your life. Don’t hang around them! If you’re related to them or have to be around them (let’s say over the holidays), be intentional about how long you are going to stay before you even walk in. Plan an exit strategy if need be, but don’t waste energy on forcing yourself to be in an environment that doesn’t lead to a good outcome. 

Intentionally living life instead of life just happening to me every day has changed so many aspects of daily living! I get more done when I’m intentional, I have more quality time with my family, I say “No” to things that don’t really matter, and I get to enjoy my relationships more. 

Be intentional today about living the best life you can live…