I've never made a practice out of the whole New Year's Resolution thing, and would be a bit late if I did this year, but I've been thinking that I want to make some changes and I can't think of a better way to keep me honest than feeling accountable to my 8 month old child.
I also figure that if I take this time to sit down and type this out while Jo is napping (yes, I'm crunched over a dozy nursing babe), I'll take it more seriously.
So, without further ado, here's what's been percolating in the ol' brain...
In the past week and a half I have built a new website for my small business Breathe Into Being, started this shiny new blog, and spent a fair bit of time helping Hunny B Photography with social networking. I've been neurotically checking in on Webmaster tools and trying to get my new site crawled so that I can redirect traffic from my old page. I've been trying to do most of this during Jo's naps, which generally looks like me pacing around the kitchen with her in the Ergo until she falls asleep and then making a B-line to the laptop, but there have been moments where I'll admit I've popped her on the floor with a few toys to utilize her fantastic sitting and chewing skills. Sure, I'll sing her songs and interact with her whilst typing and clicking away, but I feel the fog of guilt settling in knowing that she's watching me staring at a computer.
Jo is a very good eater, and enjoys lingering meals at the breastaurant which gives me time to pick up my phone and check emails, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Quite often she'll nurse herself into a little nap, and I find myself nearly glazed over staring at a screen. This bothers me. It bothers me that instead of stopping to look at my beautiful baby peacefully sleeping, I feel compelled to click another link to a buzzfeed thread on something ridiculous. Even when she is awake and engaging with the world around her I often feel compelled to document it through photos and videos on my phone. I'm certainly not the only one who reaches for a phone everytime she does something adorable either. It's got me thinking: do I really want this sweet, impressionable baby to have the impression that everyone around her has an extra rectangular shaped appendage? No, I don't think I do.
Darryl and I enjoy media. Though we haven't had cable in the entire 7 years we've lived together, we enjoy viewing movies and have been known to get temporarily addicted to seasons of HBO and Showtime series. When Jo was predictably falling asleep around 8:30, I didn't feel so bad about turning on a movie or an episode in bed once she was snoozing. Her recent changes in sleep have really highlighted the fact that we do this often as I've found myself wishing her to sleep so we can become media-consuming zombies for a while. Too often. I knew there was some silver lining in the sleep deprivation!
We love to read! Books are something I've been seriously missing in my life since becoming a Mother. It's a 24 hour job, and in the first few months any "me time" I experienced was used to shower, nap, or frantically do yoga--which it turns out isn't all that relaxing! In the past two days I have used one nap a day to sit and read. Hallelujah!
Cut down non work-related screentime to an hour a day or less, and never while Jo is watching.
What this means:
-If I desperately need to check social media, I can do it while Jo is sleeping, and not before breathing in the sweetness that is my wee one napping away.
-If screentime is work-related, I'll get to it while Jo's asleep, or when she's hanging out with her Daddy.
-I'll pull out the beautiful camera-yes, a real one, not attached to a phone!- we purchased three days after Jo was born when I feel the need to document how wonderful she is (unless it's really awesome, and we're out).
-We'll keep up with "Jo about her business", that Darryl started over the Christmas break (setting up our video camera on a tripod in a corner to passively capture what everyday life with Jo is like as she ages).
-No screentime 2 hours before bed on week nights. Low lights, reading to Jo, quiet play, and once she's asleep reading ourselves, or to eachother. No phones, unless there is a rare occassion where they are being used to actually talk to someone. Weekends are free for movie watching once little Miss is sleeping.
The long and short of it: I really feel we owe it to Jo to teach her healthy habits, and in this day and age, media and technology are a huge piece of the pie.