Wednesday, February 5, 2014

'Media Fasting and Not: A Comparison' or 'The Aftermath'

After a full week of 'no media' followed by nearly a month of 'not media fasting' I have come to several conclusions.

There is a sentence in Created to Be His Helpmeet that made me laugh out loud -

"The scriptures tell young women to be keepers at home because of their natural tendency to loaf around doing nothing except seeking entertainment."

She goes on to say that modern technology has created a means to both be at home and neglect your role as a keeper of the home via various forms of social media, phones, etc. I agree, I have always agreed, but I didn't notice that the 'good' things I use my laptop for can also distract from truly fulfilling my job as wife and mother. Some examples:

Cookbooks vs Google, etc. - My cooking style and choices were decidedly better during our media fast. I dug into my cookbook cupboard and pulled out three different books at a time, comparing and seeing other options in the process. They were like old, neglected friends. After the fast, I went back to my pinterest boards and quick searches. I don't think either method is inherently better or worse, but for me it was the difference in committed and quality concentration or haphazard guesses and cut corners.

Chores, children and diversions - Consider this 5 minute wedge of my day:

Start the dishwasher and head towards the laundry room. Encounter adorable screeching monkey via crash course in the hall. Allow said creature to haul me by the hand somewhere indistinct. She either forgets or changes her mind halfway there. We read a book instead. I hop up way before poor Erin is ready to let me go because there are mounds of things I have to do and it's stressing me out to neglect it one more second. Not wanting to leave my daughter to her own devices I scoop her up and plan to include her help. Which means it's going to take longer, and more effort, and I'll have to choose the next task according to what she can do or at least sort of do. Once we get set up, Oliver wakes. He eats, burps, get's changed and cooed at. Rinrin needs lunch now, and then a nap. Oliver is getting pacifier spoiled, so I have to spend some extra time putting him down. Who should go to sleep first? One or the other will cry from sleepiness, so I have to consider that...

My philosophy of lists and schedules is rapidly changing. It's risky to commit my expectations to any one plan of action too firmly. I have to mentally shrug off my OCD tendencies and remember that loving and therefore training my children comes first. This means that means the continuous stream cleaning and cooking and doing everything in 'order' was sacrificed long ago. During our media fast I think we all pulled this off pretty well! Gliding from housekeeping to playing to teaching to training felt focused and purposeful.'Post media fast' I see how sometimes my internet activity competes with the precious moments I spend wiping noses and playing with train tracks. I use my laptop for things like grocery lists, selling unused items, and research. I think the stress in these situations comes from sheer quantity of competing priorities and activities and trying to do them all at once.

Influences and priorities - We were watching a tv show awhile back. A man said, "I'm a textbook people pleaser, it's a problem." Ben laughed at me as I squirmed indignantly under the accusation. But it's true. I can sooooooometimes struggle with how the gigantic 'me, myself and I' is perceived. I'm super competitive. I want to do everything better than everyone all the time. I can't stand it if someone disapproves of anything about me or mine. I'm sweet, compliant, understanding -- until I think you find yourself better than me and there is nothing I will not do to either change that or defend myself. I'm working on it.

This isn't limited to people I know. There are thousand of women who have kindly shared their successes and 'after' photos vie the internet. I thought I was researching, finding inspiration, when I was in fact competeing. With the whole stinkin' world. I think this explains why a media fast was such a freeing experience for me. Alone with my home and my family there were so many less voices. It was quiet enough to see what was good for us and what wasn't important.

The Feehan family is setting in motion a generation of people and experiences. We are in our own small way creating history. I want it to be the best kind of history, the kind of story that inspires by success and victory and truly worthy undertakings. I consider my job as wife, mother and teacher important enough to make or break it. Every day is an experiment, an adventure. Each day builds into a week, a month, an entire year made up of the people I love and the choices we've made. Changes are in order but they will be worth it.