Advent is starting in just a few days here and I don't want to do what I usually do for Advent and Lent, which is come up with a plan about halfway through, take another week or so to really get a routine going, and then have a few days of solid practice before Christmas or Easter. No, no, no, dang it! I will be prepared this time, so I am writing a plan of action. Here we go:
Rule 1: NO COMPUTER while kids are awake. At all. Ever.
This is my main downfall and basically the only rule I need to follow. But there are those dinner recipes and emails and Facebook posts that I need to look at... So my ideas for following this rule are:
- Print out dinner recipes (in a super tiny font with no pictures so I don't waste too much ink and paper) for the week so that I will have them out and no reason to get online.
- If I am in desperate need of Pandora radio, I will turn it on and set my laptop in the other room so I can avoid looking at it when I am tempted or distracted.
- Check email, etc. only once a day. Before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Not during nap because then I will spend all of nap time on the computer.
Now I need to go about "plugging in" to my real life. Kids. Husband. Home. Laundry. and more Laundry. Prayer. Spiritual Reading. and more Laundry (I use cloth diapers so this explains the excess of laundry.)
It's a love/hate relationship.
- First thing in the morning I will write a to-do list. Immediately cross off about half of those things as they will never happen. And then get to work. My two main times to get things done are before breakfast and nap time, so I will try to divide things up and get them done as quickly as possible without getting distracted or beating myself up if I don't finish.
- I will save cleaning/reading/me-time for when the kids are asleep as much as possible.
- When the kids are awake, I really need to be present with them. This is where I love the RIE concepts of "wants something" and "wants nothing" time. When I am dressing the kids, feeding them, changing diapers, etc. I will SLOW DOWN, pay attention, and include my child in the process (wants something time). When Lenny is playing, or Carolina is laying content on the floor, I will observe and enjoy them without thinking about dishes, hairstyles, Sprinkles cupcakes, or snow. I will give my children the quality time they need and deserve (wants nothing time).
More than being there when the kids are calm, I need to be 100% available for them when then are NOT calm. When Carolina is screaming because she has gas. (Haven't we all been there?) When Lenny is tired, angry, or hungry, or all kinds of crazy because I won't let him cut his tongue with the scissors.
Is this really what you want to look like?
Because you're gonna have to wait until you move out to figure that one out on your own.
I need to let my children know that I am always there. Especially in the bad times, because when their emotions are exploding and changing and confusing they need some solid ground. Someone who says, you are not your behavior. I love you no matter what and the way you act will not change that. Someone who is strong and cannot be broken by a naked tantrum in the middle of the doctor's office or a box of cereal poured out on the grocery store floor. The only way to develop this relationship is by "plugging in" and being there during all the different situations that make up our lives.
My final goal is to make this a habit. To work at it and remind myself that looking at pictures of my family on Facebook really doesn't beat looking at them in real life!
Not just to unplug, but to plug in.
Not just to unplug, but to plug in.
And just for fun, here are some Advent songs I put together... Can't figure out how to rearrange them so sorry if they are in a weird order! Because part of Advent is unplugging from Christmas!
Click the picture below to read more about "Advent Unplugged" by Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas.