I’m preparing our family for a week without screens and I have to say, I’m scared.
What are you doing?
I’m writing a post for MKE Moms Blog about what it’s like to go a week without TVs, computers, phones (as a means of anything other than speaking), iPads and any other screen I might come into contact with.
From May 2-8, I’ll be joining families around the world as we celebrate Screen-Free Week. Yes, this is a thing!
How will this work?
For one week, I will give up everything I’ve come to rely on to fill the empty spaces of my days. No more grabbing my phone to scan the newsfeed, update my status, post a blog, share a picture, check my mail, watch a TED talk, read an article, stalk my friends. No binge-watching the latest House of Cards or season two of Schitt’s Creek and Kimmy Schmidt. For one week, I will rely on anything but a screen to keep me entertained.
The kids and the hubby will be in on it too, though they don’t know this yet.
I’m already starting to feel like my four-year-old when I tell him he’s had enough Handy Manny for the day.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (insert grown-up tantrum here)
Why are you doing this?
Because I’m addicted.
There, I said it.
I get itchy when I haven’t checked my phone. I get short with my kids when they interrupt something I’m reading online. If I am on my way to do something and see my phone is flashing me an unopened red dot, I will stop and check, and completely forget what I was supposed to be doing. Talk about failed multitasking.
Won’t you miss it?
Maybe. Or maybe not. That’s what I hope to figure out.
Part of me can’t wait to get going, and part of me is dreading this week big time. Ultimately what I’m hoping to find is a balance.
More than a few times in the last month my son has said to me, “PLAY with me, Mom.”
Now I’m all about letting him experience boredom and play on his own, but that’s not what he meant. Though he’s only four, there was still subtext in his plea and it said, get off your phone, Mom. And he’s one baby step away from figuring out how to demand it. That is, of course, until he’s stops. Or gives up. Because he comes to see that it’s futile. That mom will NEVER get off her phone.
Only it’s NOT futile. It’s my choice.
Will you make exceptions?
Here’s the hard part. If I let it slide – say during naps, or when the kids aren’t around, or maybe just an hour every night after bedtime – that slide becomes incredibly slippery. Five minutes turns into twenty, and just a peek turns into an entire evening. One quick email check and all of a sudden there is only one Apple of my eye. (And this Apple is of the Macintosh variety, I’m not talking Granny Smith here people).
So no. No exceptions for computer or social media. If friends need to get ahold of me, they can call. If something happens and I need to know about it, I trust they’ll let me know.
I’ll answer texts if they are from my husband at work, or anyone I have an appointment with (a plumber if our toilet is leaking, for example). But I will not engage in lengthy dialogue over texts either. Nor will I check the weather, use a calculator, order from Amazon, book a reservation, hold a library book, play a word with a friend, or anything else that would otherwise commit me to said handheld device.
Only for my sons’ bedroom monitors and our music collection will I allow my eyes and fingers to grace the iPad. So I guess you could call that an exception if you were being hard on me. (Read my dance party post to see why I need music though!)
How do you think it’ll go?
We gave up cable a few years ago and my boys aren’t really into all that much TV, so I’m not worried about that particular screen. But I suppose it means I’ll have to look up when I’m walking; that my boys will get a little more (undivided) attention from me in the afternoons; or that I might even read an entire book. Our dinners won’t revolve around which Grandparent answers a FaceTime call. And we’ll have to rely on good old fashioned make-it-yourself kind of family fun.
Can we join in too?
YES! Please do! Please share this post if you want to spread the word. And start talking it up with your family now so you’re prepared. Here’s hoping we can survive this week together – I’ll see you on the other side!
National Screen Free Week information can be found at http://www.screenfree.org - but you don’t need a website to tell you how to go Screen Free – just turn it off and shut it down! You can do it!
Part Two (How we survived) will be likely posted sometime in mid-May, if I decide to return to the screen!