Living Simply 2013: Unplugged

Technology is awesome.  However sometimes I feel that my life is to technology driven.  Ipads, Kindle Fires, streaming TV, smartphones, iphones etc..... It blankets my life.  My 3-yr old is very iwhatever savvy and its freaky.  Totally, jaw dropping crazy.  She navigates the Roku like a pro and could probably teach my parents the ins and outs of how to search, download, play, and rewind.  But that's not the bad stuff.  The bad stuff is the amount of time my husband, T, and I spend on our phones.  Everything is accessible to us and we are accessible to all.  We fall prey to the lure of all those apps whether it be news, facebook, shopping apps or email.  Because its in our pocket/bag and so easy to access we cannot stop ourselves and that is a problem.  

As part of my Live Simply goal I really want to find ways to scale back on all this technology.  I've taken the first step and severely limited my kids daily screen time; Mon-Thursday they get a half hour of screen time (typically its playing Minecraft on their Kindles) only after they've read for 30-minutes.  However in the evenings we do allow them to watch TV with us, the key phrase is "with us" which means they are watching what we want to watch not cartoons or any other kind of kid show. On the weekends we do allow them more TV but we do monitor their Kindle time and they get 1-hr and if they want any more time we do require them to do chores to earn the extra time.  This arrangement is working out great and the leverage we have with these Kindles, which they received as XMas gifts, has been fantastic!

T and I are another story.  I've been trying to keep my time on the phone and laptop minimal when I have the kids (or just Crash) with me unless they are all playing together and I have those few precious moments alone.  I've been doing pretty good at it and am quite proud of myself.  T is another story.  The kids, especially the boys, are saying things to me about it often.  I've talked to T about this but I totally hear reluctance in his voice when I bring up putting the phone down.  Slowly he's coming around.  I on the other hand will go on my laptop when the kids are preoccupied on their own or with each other but I do take about 30 minutes in the morning when I'm having my coffee to do all my FB-ing, blog reading etc.

Anyway when I first started brainstorming my goal of living simply I received the Feb 2013 issue of Sunset in the mail and lo and behold this article's timing was perfect.  Although a bit extreme for what I had in mind, it did make me think about exactly what I want to get out the time we'll gain by unplugging.  I'm still waiting for T to read it and I know he'll shoot back with it being to extreme but I just want for him to feel and understand the time you gain, even if the unplugging is for a little bit everyday.  The article also includes some bulleted items on different levels on unplugging and I ran the idea of a Technology Shabbat by him, which entails unplugging from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.  I believe this to be doable and its not during a time period where he'd get much work action on his phone so not to intrusive on his work life.  I'd love to get this started soon and see how we deal with it.  I'm sure in those 24-hours we will free much more care free then we have in a long time (minus the time we go through smartphone withdrawl!)

Parenting Squad also had some great points as to why you should unplug.  Many of their points seem to be geared towards  tweens/teens but can be translated to the parental set.  With all this technology in our lives I think we are to busy caring about what our online presence and our online friends when we should be taking the time and energy to maintain our real life friendships and loves.  Taking notice of the world around us, there is so much beauty out there that many of us are missing out on it.  I love watching my kids be silly, i love watching them lounge around and play with each other but I know I've missed much of this because of my iphone.  I know I cannot get this time back but I can make a change and ensure I don't miss any more of these precious years.  

I'm shocked by how quickly my kids have grown, and to miss any more of this time would be a total shame and time I know I'll regret when they are grown.  I'm vowing to make this unplugged time happen and this is definitely going to be a big step in my goal to Live Simply this year.

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