The other night, as I was snuggling with my husband and girls, my eldest told me that I spend too much time paying bills, being on my computer, and on my phone and not enough time playing with my family. Her words struck me to the core. I know she’s right. Social media outlets are my weakness. Half the time I check them out of habit and boredom more than interest. It’s really quite sad. The real heartbreak though is that I obviously failed to uphold my Testimony of Children goals I made for myself.
I think one of the problems is that I tried to track my media use in minutes. I think I need to base it more on visits. My new, and hopefully more realistic goal, is to allow myself three check-ins with social media. I’ll save one for my morning, one for mid-day, and one for evening. I’m sure this still sounds excessive to some, but it’s currently much more frequent than that. In addition to managing my social media, I’m going to try to keep my bill paying and writing for times when it does not take away from family time. For instance, all the kiddos are either in school or napping right now. This is a perfect time to work on some things for me.
Since my eldest’s remarks, I have been more cognizant of my screen time. But my short-comings on the matter came to the forefront of my mind again as I was saying my bedtime prayers last night. I was reflecting on the things I needed to repent for in my day, when I realized that it was not so much what I did that I needed to ask forgiveness for, but it was more of what I didn’t do. Checking Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are not sinful activities. However, missing out on opportunities to nurture my relationship with my children is quite remorseful.
It’s not just my children that I’m missing out on though, it’s life in general. When I get feeling low, I tend to hide and withdraw from the world around me. I base my connections on those that I can keep at a virtual distance. I engage less with my children, my husband, and loved ones around me. I isolate myself to protect myself. Sometimes the cloud over me lifts on it’s own accord and sometimes I get a stinging wake-up call to encourage me to work harder at pulling myself out of it. This time I think I owe my eldest my gratitude for helping me see that what I was feeling internally was inadvertently being felt by all those around me.
As I’ve been looking for ways to break free from my sluggish and blue emotional state, I’ve reflected on the fact that all the things that make me feel better are things that I don’t initially want to do. Why is that? I remember as a young teenager, I never wanted to go to church. I would dread those Sunday mornings and drag my feet. However, by the time I walked out of the church building, I always felt rejuvenated and inspired. I came out feeling better. It’s the same with exercise. I hate to exercise. I really, really do. Yet whenever I complete a workout or even a simple walk, I feel more energized and optimistic.
I feel the same way about playing with my kids sometimes. I know that sounds bad, but I’m just not very good at playing. I never have been. Even when I was a kid, I was known for wanting to hang out with the adults. Sure, I had Barbies and My Little Ponies, but I tired quickly of those activities. My imagination is very limited for some reason. I think that’s why the idea of playing with my kids doesn’t always sound appealing. I enjoy my kids company and love to do stuff with them, but just sitting around a playing isn’t easy for me. But, just as with church and exercise, I feel so much better when I get down to their level and play in their world.
So, in honor of my resolution for this Bright New Year, I’m going to try to bring the bright into our home by doing what doesn’t come easy to me. I’m going to try to incorporate walks more, increase my time focused on spiritual matters and set aside more time to play with my family, per my eldest’s suggestion. I’m beginning to see a pattern here that things worth working for are truly the most rewarding and fulfilling ways to engage in the world around you.