Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm Back in Babylon

Well, the Babylon challenge ended today. It was supposed to demonstrate how you can be, "IN the world, but not OF the world", if you have ever heard that saying. It also was to demonstrate how you could replace some of the time with electronics with better activities. I learned a lot from the challenge and I'm glad that I did it.

Sunday night as we drove home from a family dinner, we explained the rules of the challenge to the kids. Reece completely lost it. He was crying, and very angry. We let him voice his concerns and then we explained that we would be replacing all the TV, computer, and video games with other fun activities. Mason kept asking me, "I still play Power Rangers?", I had to continually explain to him that, "yes, he could still play with power rangers." Maya of course, was in her own little world.

I prepared myself for Monday morning to be terrible. The kids normally wake up around 6 or 6:30 and watch cartoons till their lazy mom pulls herself out of bed at around 7:15. To my surprise, Reece and Mason slept in until 7:15, and I had to wake Maya up at 8. Without the draw of the TV, there was no reason for them to wake up before the sun was out. So, I was already seeing benefits, the kids got all the sleep active growing kids need.

By 9:00am, the house was clean, beds were made, dishes were all put away, it was great. The lure of checking emails, blogs, and such was there, but I stayed away and was amazed at how much I was able to get done without stopping to check for a recipe here, email this person there, etc. Mason was playing Power Rangers on the floor, I sat down and played with him for 10 mins. and had the greatest time with him.

For lunch I normally make the kids lunch, grab something from the fridge for myself and plop in front of the computer and catch up on whatever I feel like looking at online. This week, I sat with the kids and ate with them. I was surprised at how talkative they were and how much fun I had spending just 5 mins to eat with them.

Throughout the day, it got a little difficult and I realized that I would use a movie in the afternoon as a crutch for when I had had enough of the kids. I realized that I didn't really need it, engaging them in an activity works even better than a movie. When Reece got home from school, he rode his bike or shot baskets, in my book that is better than watching an 'educational' afternoon show.

When it comes to TV, Michael and I definately do not have a problem (except when it comes to the show Lost) so it wasn't really difficult to give up TV in the evening.

During this challenge, I had explained to Reece that one of the reasons we were doing this challenge was to receive blessings. There were times though that I had to get online like to pay bills, get a recipe, check my emails (for work), or check mapquest. I had gotten online to pay a bill, and Reece walked in the room and said, "We aren't going to get any blessings because you just got on the computer." It was nice to have him keep me in line in case I slipped up, and I explained that there are certain things that I needed to get on the computer for, and we were just going to have to make exceptions.

All in all, this week went really smooth, and it wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated. I learned a lot about myself and my children, and I was able to enjoy them more when I wasn't constantly drawn to the computer. Maya even said to me one of the days, "You are such a nice mommy!" I felt like a better mom, and it was easier for me to enjoy my day with them.

I will be making some changes in my internet habits such as not getting online until the kids are in 'rest time'. I will be turning the computer off at night so that when I wake up, it isn't as accessible. As for TV, I'm going to slowly phase out TV before school, and now that it is spring, I will be encouraging outside play rather than afternoon TV watching. I will also be eating lunch with my kids each day, maybe it will help me remember to eat lunch.

As for the radio, it wasn't very hard to go without unless I was in the car, then it was difficult. Today, I did have my itunes playing on my computer ALL DAY. I think I missed it more than I thought. I won't be making any changes in my normal music listening.

Like I said, I'm glad that I took the challenge and was able to see how some of my habits could be changed for the better.


Vanalee said...

You are such great mom. I am glad that it turned out to be a positive thing for your family. I really need to try it because I spend too much time on my computer. I use it to plan my seminary lessons, it is my phone from Tokyo to my family using Skype or Jajah, I check on email 2 or 3 times a day, check the blogs I read, pay bills, it's my cookbook, I shop and I do research. I really am becoming very sedentary because of it. So, I think that I'll turn it off and clean my house or go for a walk!

m. & m. said...

Amen. I did it for just a day a few weeks ago and that day was great. I need to have a day a week like that or something.

Stephanie said...

I might need to do something similar-- I headed to the computer last night and Noah ran ahead of me yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and moved the chair out of my way. Hmm... I guess someone thinks I spend too much time on the computer.

Your report was cool though, and encouraging!

marisa said...

Stephanie, my kids have done similar things to me when I have been on the computer too long.

Vanalee, like you I was always using the computer for good purposes, but never realized how much I was actually on.

Kathy said...

glad it worked out well for you. i haven't done anything that extreme - but we did cut a lot of tv and computer time out for a couple days - and it was very beneficial. i can't go cold turkey though! anyway - a good reminder to keep things in check/balance.

Christy said...

I want to be like you when I grow up. I didn't do so well with my challenge. I had a hard time filling up the hours from when I got home from school to when Kevin came home. I didn't have any kids to keep me busy. I wish I did though.I think it would have been easier if I still worked a full day's work. I am always full of excuses. You are a good example to me and others. Keep up the good work!

Nora Mair said...

yea yea yea what a great account of obedience. Not turning on the computer until rest time is amazing. I always use it as a "disenchanted with my current lot".

Holly Reed | Reed Photographic said...

Reading this made me realize how much time I could be saving if I changed some things too. I've tried limiting TV in the past (and still do) and I always see an immediate attitude change from Robbie.

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