This post may not apply to some of our newer Mommies with little babies but if you have children, it will apply to you one day. I promise.
You see - Mama's MilkBox, like many businesses in the 21st century, is a social business. But I have a dirty little secret - I really dislike the internet.
I dislike the way Facebook makes me feel like it's okay not to call some people (or them me). I use Instagram to share pictures of my children with family and I Twitter my thoughts like someone shouting into a crowd (What? It's called, "tweet," you say?). Ugh - you see? I'm just way too old for this. And now that I have young children (they're 4 and 2), I am having serious nostalgia for the childhood of my youth and I've been spending a lot of time breaking it down; trying to figure out how I can recreate what my young experience was like exactly for my own children in a world where everyone is so "connected."
I don't have the answers but I do have a family plan for 2016. Some of this I have been trying to implement for years with little success. But as 2016 lurks around the corner, for areas I have failed on my own part, I'm turning it into a resolution (and I'm generally pretty good with my resolutions):
1. No cell phones in the house
Is this even possible? I don't know. But I'm sure as heck going to try. I've actually been trying to get my husband to do this for about 2 years. I would like for the both of us to leave our electronic equipment in a drawer by the door. We have a land line for phone calls - so why do we need cell phones at home? (I'll tell you why - because it's really convenient for my husband to check a game score every 4 minutes) - but I think back to being a child. What did parents do when they needed to see a game score? Watch the game! How did my Mom know what was going on with our extended family? Pick up the phone.
These are the types of behaviors I want to mirror in our own family. If we cannot attend some event because there is a big game on tv, so be it. I'd much prefer the 1980 version of doing something and just doing it, ie, committing to only one thing. We live in a multi-task world but since we're also living longer than our ancestors, I don't see this boding well for the elder years.
2. Family dinners - we do this already, for the most part, and quite frankly it is one of my favorite parts of the day. It's still a little stressful with the toddler and I have to feed both kids a "pre-dinner snack" (they're hungry at 5pm) but some of my (already) favorite memories come from this time; this moment - of sharing to each other who we are in our family and what we did for the day.
This conversation is a recent gem:
Me: B (the 4 year old), what did you do at school today?
B: We learned about rainbows.
Me: Well that's cool. Dada - what did you do at work today?
A: I had a meeting and I wrote a letter.
B: That's so cool Dad! What letter? Was it a "B" or "D?"
It will forever bring a smile to my face.
For lulls in our conversation or moments when we need some help in the creativity department, I'm already quite excited that I purchased this for our family too:
3. Calling people more on the phone
You know those friends that you have, who you already text (ie, so that means you're "close") - I want to call them. Instead of texting, every time I have a desire or instinct to text, I am going to dial their phone number (ok, I'm really going to ask Siri to call them in some way in which I'll likely have to mispronounce their name) - but call them. Perhaps I'll have to leave more voice messages but there is something that warms my heart just a little at the thought of saying, "Hey! I called to [tell you a funny story, chat about this news or fill in the blank]. Call me back when you can." I don't know if they'll actually call me back but in the words of Adele, "At least I can say that I've tried." In practical terms, I'm also going to have to make a list of the phone numbers of my most frequently texted people and place this by the phone (See Number One above). People will make fun of me (ie, my husband) - but I don't care.
4. Moving the computer
I had this theory for a long time that our computer should be in a family space so that when our kids are old enough, we can monitor what they're doing on the internet. It's been 4 years now and I have no children on the internet and instead, my husband and I can sit for too long and screw around reading about things I don't even have the memory power to recollect. Yes - the world wide web is important but it needs a time and a place. If I really need something to do while eating breakfast on the weekend, I prefer to (gulp) watch what my children are watching, sit down as a family for breakfast or (c) read a book.
I'd love to add more to the list but I always frame resolutions in a way that makes them reasonably attainable and I know Number One and Four are already going to shake things up. Oh yes - and FYI - this doesn't start in 2016. This starts now (well, except for moving the computer because I really have to find a space for it first). Why now? Because on the forefront of Christmas, these thoughts are hitting me hard. How nice it is to post a Christmas picture on Facebook wishing EVERYONE a Merry Christmas but I want my words and actions to have more meaning than a template. Yes, there is also the text. But remember Number Three above? I'm going to text less and call people more on the phone. My youngin' days were full of non-stop phone ringing on Christmas in which every aunt and uncle called to ask, "What did Santa bring you?" Was it mildly annoying after the fourth ring? Maybe a little. But I also felt very close to my extended family. I want my children to experience the same feelings as they learn to grow in a world where distance is inevitable but true connection doesn't have to be.
Happy Holidays to you and yours,
My name is Elena aka The Breastfeeding Stylist and the creator of Mama's MilkBox and Carmen.
We have one mission here at Mama's MilkBox: help Moms find their "old" fabulous selves in their new normal.