Mama Makes a Change



I made some drastic changes like disabling email, Facebook, and Twitter on my cell phone.

I hit my limit on Sunday.  As a result of the snow day on Thursday (don’t get me started on the snow), I had spent almost an entire week with the girls.  (Kudos to all of you stay-at-home-parents—I don’t know how you do it. Unless you’re addicted to something, in which case I don’t blame you at all.)

Although the girls and I had a lot of fun diapering baby dolls (the toddler), chewing on rattles (the baby), mainlining Diet Coke (me), and reading
Fancy Nancy
over and over and over again (who, by the way, I strongly suspect is Jewish—anyone else find the clue in Fancy Nancy Bonjour Butterfly?), by Sunday I was done.   As in get-these-kids-out-of-my-face-before-I-go-completely-psychotic done.  We put the baby to bed, Josh took the big girl to the neighbor’s house, and I sat down and banged my head on the dining room table a few times.

And then I decided to make some changes.  I immediately found a Jewish boarding school that accepts kids in diapers.

I wish.

In all seriousness, though, I decided that some things have got to change.  I shouldn’t turn into a crazed bitch after just a few short days with my own daughters.  I can’t change them, but I can make some adjustments to my own attitude and perspective, so I decided to start there. I reflected on how I spend my time, and whether or not I’m really taking care of myself. I already know that I don’t get enough exercise, and I’ve increased my visits to the gym at the JCC. Despite the fact that Josh and I don’t use technology on Shabbat, I spend way too much time with my face in front of a screen, whether it’s the TV or my computer or my cell phone or my iPod Touch or my iPad. (Pretty pathetic, I know.)  As much fun as it is to feel connected 24 hours/day, I just don’t think it’s good for me.

So, I decided to make some small, but drastic changes. To start, I disabled email, Facebook, and Twitter on my cell phone.  (Yes, I still need a smart phone, because it has my address book and calendar in it. Also, I have a rep to maintain.) I put the iPad and iPod Touch in the corner of the office, well away from where the girls and I play. The TV is also in the office, not in the living room, so it’s never on when the girls and I are hanging out.

The temptation to constantly check my email or Facebook or Twitter is gone. It’s only been 24 hours, and the difference is amazing, and I don’t miss it at all. When I was with the girls today, I was more fully present with them, more patient, and more able to focus on enjoying our time together—and we had a great time.  The big girl and I gave the baby a bath, we had a lovely dinner together (by which I mean, I ate, the baby ate, and the toddler soundly rejected everything except the blueberries), and bed time went relatively smoothly.

So, that’s small change number one: limiting my access to technology, as clearly I can’t be trusted.  As this next storm approaches, what helps you get through long winters with little kids?

Carla NaumburgCarla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post, Parents.com, PsychCentral.com, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. Her first book, Parenting in the Present Moment, was published by Parallax Press in October of 2014. She is currently writing a book on teaching mindfulness to children, which will be published by New Harbinger in late 2015. Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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