Limits brings happiness

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your real and genuine responses to my recent post What you do speaks so loud. It was reassuring to know I am not the only one who struggles with balancing social media, blogging, or hobbies with my absolute love for my boy. And honestly, your comments and ideas have been so instrumental in helping me–THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts with me.

Your feedback

As per a suggestion, I decided to do a follow-up post, with feedback from other readers, YOU, on how to balance our passion for writing and media, with our passion for our youngsters.

The number one thing happens to be balance, moderation, and strategy. Many referenced setting aside a specific time each day to blog or interact through social media. Others explained they set a certain time and amount of time for them to blog. There were also certain times they simply put their phone away–silenced, no notifications, out of sight.  I loved what Abbie from Abbie’s Babble said in her comment:

“I am being very intentional at the moment about setting myself timed sessions online (my kids are only allowed max 45min screen sessions after all).”

That thought had honestly never occurred to me. Having been out of my parents home for quite a few years without rules and then not having kids using media, I forgot entirely that I should make limits for myself. Media isn’t bad, but too much can be. We want our life to be balanced and full of other wonderful, fulfilling things. Yes?

Another idea came from Chelsi at Catching Crawfish. She explained that she is working on only using media when her kids are napping or in bed. But, we all know we have ideas for our blog all throughout the day. Her solution was wonderful:

“I would write posts on paper first as they came to my mind, then type later.”

I loved this suggestion. I want my son to see me using a good ‘ole pen and paper. The more time he see’s me “off screen” is valuable to me. Also, the added benefit to this idea, is that we don’t even have to touch our phones to jot down an idea. If you are anything like me, if I pick up my phone to quickly jot down an idea, I get distracted and soon I’m somehow reading about my friends new pregnancy or looking at a cute picture of so and so’s child. This idea makes it easier to put the phone and computer really away.

But let’s be honest, we WILL slip up. We will have days when we spend far too much time online. What Hannah at Pocketful of Motherhood said helped me realize it is okay to make the mistake, as long as we keep trying.

“Finding the balance has been tricky. So, I guess I’m learning and trying to show myself some grace along the way.”

We should all try to show ourselves kindness, even amidst the days when we feel horrible and guilty that we didn’t give our child enough attention. After all, we really are works in progress.

But if I could send you away with one thought, it would be this from The Happiness Trick:

“My writing is so much better when I spend uninterrupted time with my kids! I find that being unplugged when spending time with my kids fuels my inspiration – and it also removes the guilt of ‘disconnecting’ from them when I do decide to sit down and write. Of course, easier said than done and it took me a long time to find the right balance. I try to remember that giving my kids my undivided attention is just as important to their happiness and well-being as having time to myself to enjoy a little alone time …. when Mom is happy, everyone is happy 🙂

Sometimes I feel my son is getting in the way of my writing. But, really since I do blog about my son, what better than to spend time with him while unplugged? I’ve come to realize that giving myself limits will actually increase my happiness. I’ll be able to get rid of that gnawing guilt, when I see my son vying for my attention.

Sometimes limits really do bring happiness.

“When we have clear boundaries, we permit ourselves respect.” –Anonymous

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What you do speaks so loud

This is a post I really hope for some feedback on from all you mommas. You who are striving to balance your social media or blogging addiction (at least that is an accurate description for me) with your sheer love and addiction for your kiddos.

I share pictures and blog mostly about my boy Parker, and the lessons I learn as a mother. But lately I’ve realized that sometimes my interest in sharing through social media or blogging itself, gets in the way of the quality moments and daily experiences I have with him.

This seems painfully crazy and ironic to me.

Of course, I need an outlet for myself. For me, this is a fact. But, I also deeply desire to support my son in his emotional need of true, genuine interaction; not just merely being a body in the same room.

BathboyI want to be there. I want him to see the excitement in my eyes as we toss the ball back and forth. I want my touch to feel authentic, real, and fully meant for him. I wish for him to know he is the most important thing; not the phone I sometimes reach for every 10 minutes, or less, unfortunately.

“What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Add text(1)Honestly, many times I am there. I’m fully invested. That truck book, that basketball, and my boy’s zeal for sports are all that’s on my brain. But flip the coin, and there are also many times when I’m not. I’m engaged, but in the back of my mind I’m actually interested in something else, besides what I’m doing with my boy.

So this post is me really putting it out there and saying I’m going to work on making my actions say: “I love you, son. I love you more than the thrill of blogging; more than the comments from friends on the photos of you. The photo of you is cute, and the fact that my friends notice is great, but YOU are what I’m really crazy about.”

I hope I’m not the only one who struggles with this! How do you balance your hobbies or your “addictions” with really engaging with your kids? How do your actions show your kids that you love them like crazy?

[For a superb article on focusing on our children read How to Miss a Childhood at Hand Free Mama.]

Right here, right now

I recently signed up for Instagram. Yeah, I’m kinda late catching the wave on that one. But, since getting on Instagram, it seems like my mind is always turning. I am constantly looking for a picture that is just right to share with my followers. Is that “Instagram worthy?” “P is so cute right now, I better run and get my phone!” So when this next moment happened, I feel I learned a lesson.

Last night there was a big thunderstorm that rolled in about 8pm. I was about to put P to bed, but he was so intrigued by the thunder that we went outside. Daddy was gone, so it was just me and him. I was sitting on the driveway; P nestled in my lap. We sat there in relative silence, except for P’s outbursts of excitement as we saw the lightning light up the sky and heard the boom of thunder.

As I was enjoying myself, I realized this was one of those “picturesque” moments. The thought crossed my mind to run and get my phone. But, I could barely finish the thought before I realized, NO. Not now. I want to be right here, right now. Some moments are just too special to catch on a camera. I would have to have had to get up, go find my phone, and then try a few different angles to get the right lighting. Not to mention, my mind would have been on almost everything, except this beautiful experience.

So, I sat, and I just enjoyed. The moment lingered on in one of the most fulfilling ways. Usually when I am trying to capture something on camera, it seems the moment passes too quick! P will stop doing whatever it was that was cute, before I was able to get a good enough picture. But, this time, I just soaked it up.

So here is my simple post, with no picture, because the moment was just too special to be captured. But don’t worry, it is still in my heart and I’ve been reliving it all day.

How do you balance the good of social media and photography, as well as simply living in the right here, right now?