7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess :: Reflections on Possessions and Media months

I’ve been off of blogs and many other media this past month, so I realize I left this blog on the downswing of one of our foster parenting rollercoaster. The coaster has headed back up again and behaviors are looking a lot better. Perhaps as a result of my media fast?

Possessions month was a bust. Not because I didn’t do it, but because parting with 7 possessions a day for a month was depressingly easy, which makes it glaringly obvious that we have too much stuff. I continue to fight the battle against accumulation and I enjoy a good possessions purge, too. Maybe someday I’ll get to a place where I’m happy with how many possessions we own. Just enough, but not so many that the maintenance of it all takes away from our real lives.

Media. I gave up blogs (reading others and writing my own), facebook, pinterest, instagram, iphone apps (except my bible), editing photos, and internet and texting except for necessity or to save time, along with live t.v. (Netflix only, and only a handful of times.)

It was a really good month. I do believe that the kids’ good month reflected my ability to give them more of my undivided attention. I’ve only had an iphone for a year now, and I’ve only been texting for a little more than that time, but somehow that phone has managed to pull my focus away from the kids when we’re out at the park or the pool or the carpool line. Of course, the internet and facebook have been doing that for years, so it was interesting to take all of that away.

I thought I’d miss more important “announcements” on facebook. I didn’t. My cousin had a beautiful baby boy, and if I hadn’t gone back onto facebook today, I would have had to wait a few more weeks until my aunt comes back into to town to find out about it. My college friend had an adorable red-headed baby girl, which I could only find out through facebook. Our neighborhood had a few announcements and posts that I found mildly interesting, but not necessarily important for me. I had two messages in my inbox there; neither were time sensitive and could be achieved via text or phone message. I’m not saying I’m going to give up facebook entirely, but the number of “five minutes here” and “just a quick look” there can add up quickly, and honestly, would often stretch beyond five minutes. And because I would take those little peeks while the kids were home, I found myself annoyed that they would dare interrupt the digital world of my wide web of “friends” with their real life desire for their mother’s attention to their actually relevant questions and conversations. I definitely realized that over the month. And the one time that I broke my facebook fast to get input on the Teacher’s Appreciation Week I’m chairing, I happened to see a friend’s new profile pic, which was a portrait of her daughters that was taken by somebody else with gorgeous results. So my one peek onto facebook yielded some mildly useful advice for Teacher Appreciation Week along with my photographer’s jealousy and self put-downs. Do you think there’s a lesson there?

I don’t think I’m overly addicted to Pinterest or Instagram. I would like to stop using my phone for them when there are kids around. Little A. gets the brunt of this because it’s usually during the carpool line where I peek at those instead of talking with him or reading him a story while we wait. I used the internet many times this month to check doctor’s office phone numbers, renew my teaching credential, and begin studying towards getting my single subject Math teaching credential (Math tutorial websites? Yes, please!) But I did discover how much time I waste on reading blogs. I only missed a few of them, and I could easily catch up on those once a month.

Conclusion: There are places I need to cut back on media and there are places I think I’m doing fine. My definition of “doing fine” is that the media doesn’t detract from the family relationships I need to be nurturing. So in some cases, I’ll add the media back but just do it at a different time of the day, when the kids are in bed or Greg is home. Even then, I think I’ll be letting go of some of the media ruts and habits I had fallen into.

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2 thoughts on “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess :: Reflections on Possessions and Media months

  1. It’s so true. I know I’m bad sometimes with ignoring my kids and choosing fb instead. I’ve started “hiding” those friends whose posts never or rarely add meaning to my life. The ones who share 5000 pictures and quotes that they did not create, etc. My goal is to be able to read through my newsfeed in 5 minutes twice a day and get everything read. If it’s been 5 min and (on average) I’m still reading and haven’t seen all the new stuff yet, then I have too many friends’ news popping up. The nice thing about hiding is that they are still my “friend” and can still view my stuff, so I’m not actually dropping friends. I’d just have to go to their page directly to see their stuff. And blogs. I’ve been in subscribing to a few blogs that no longer relate to this season of my life. It’s been good. It’s nice to hear you say what I’ve been kind of feeling for a while now. My real life kids should be my priority. Always. Thanks for sharing.

  2. First off, I always love reading your blog. I was very Interested in reading your thoughts on giving up forms of media. I impose various restrictions on myself throughout the day, and find that it is always a good choice. Also, just have to add, the photo you took of my girls last November is my absolute favorite photo of them ever, so please throw your photographer’s jealousy in the trash. 🙂

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