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
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.
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?