The other day, I posted a cry for help. Help! I lost myself! I lost the person I want to be!
I lost my dancing feet. Having Dancing feet is when you’re right where you need to be in life and all your movements are gracefully in that direction.
Tripping feet, on the other hand… tripping feet are when you want one thing but think that you have to say yes to six others. When you have tripping feet, you’re maxing out, spreading your energies too thin and finding yourself not too happy.
That was me. Really, don’t ask me how I got there. I was loving my job, loving my kids, loving my site and loving being a wife. But slowly, insidiously, the cyber world was taking up more space than the real world. Its pretty easy to see why that would be. It’s a constant one sided conversation. There’s no work. There’s no stretch. There’s no one spilling cereal, leaving crumbs on the floor, or wanting your attention at 6 am or 10 pm.
But Hashem stepped in and saved me! The loving Father just waiting for me to run into his arms. All we have to do is show the slightest willingness to change and He opens the doors wide open for us. That video was my willingness. I spit out the words that were on my heart and looked myself straight in the eye. By the end of the day, I had the answer. A Fed Ex prayer.
It came in form of an article that my friend sent me that night.
An article that echos everything I felt and everything I couldn’t even say.
The woman who wrote it calls herself, Hands Free Mama. And she is changing families. She has taken her decision to take back those precious moments of her children’s childhood, and begun a mission to support and encourage mothers everywhere.
I read the article and a shot of clarity traveled through my veins. You’ll see when you read it. I sat down and wrote a letter to my children:
Do you know that being a mother is my favorite thing in the whole world? There’s nothing more precious, more special, no greater gift. And there are no better and sweeter children in the whole world than you.
This past year, since going to work, I’ve lost track of my dream. My dream of being a loving, present, fun mother. My dream of a close family where everything is fun and we laugh even as we work. My dream that each and every one of you knows that you are my number one and that there’s nothing more important in the whole world than you. My dream of raising you in a pure and holy environment with a real relationship with Hashem.
How did I lose my clarity? The computer and the phone came into our life and completely threw it off track.
Do you know that for every year of each of your lives, I’ve put you to bed? I love that time of day. Other parents complain about bedtime, but I love saying a sweet good night. How often do I do that anymore? And driving in the car together, if I’m not getting a call, I’m making call. And if I’m not making a call, you want the phone and you’re distracted.
Evenings that could be spent schmoozing or playing a game or just being together are getting swallowed up as each person gets their time on the computer. Little children are forgetting how to play simple games like hide and seek and tag, they want a video instead. Life is moving fast, too fast, in a blur and you’re all growing up before my eyes.
I want to look in your eyes as you grow. I want to be there for you. Available emotionally, not distracted. Remember, we were the family who homeschooled, mainly to have time together, to slow down the rat race, to fight against the ‘crazy school schedule.” And now we’re not even using the little time that we do have together to its maximum.
The computer has become like a demanding family member, taking up space and time, and causing arguments and discontent. I actually can’t explain in enough words how deep this clarity is for me, that something must change. I have come to this conclusion after thinking about it for a few weeks and now being ready for action. You may not have thought about it, and so this is a surprise to you. I’m sorry for that.
You may want to fight it. What I ask is that you give it a chance. Give time a chance to work its magic as we settle back into healthier, more loving communication with each other. As we let ourselves remember what it feels like to play, to create. It will start out hard but I promise it will pay off. The first reward will be me – here for you. A better mother.
And I’ll need your help. Computers are addictive and I’ll want to give in; To give in to you, and to give in to myself – but don’t let me.
Here are our guidelines
Mommy – all computer work is done during school hours. No computers after 3:00. Nighttime computer use will be used sparingly
My cell phone will be put away from 3:00 – 9:00 unless absolute necessity. I’ll return calls at 9
Kids –No internet use outside of school work.
Emails are for out-of-town friends. For in town friends, pick up the phone.
Although this may seem like a lot of rules, in reality not too much has changed for you. The real change will be for me, putting away the computer, and not letting it trick me into thinking that everything is urgent.
I’ll tell you what’s urgent. Being with you!! My dear, sweet children.
And thanking Hashem every day that He lets me have this time with you. I’ve wasted so much already this year, I don’t want to waste a moment more. I love you more than ever, love, Mommy
PS please read this article; it’s what tipped me over from thinking about doing something, to doing something now.
I’m sharing with you because if you’re struggling, this just might save your life. It might save your family.
Did you read the article? Did it knock your socks off too? [If the link comes up weird, just click on the top where it says Hands Free Mama and it will take you to the home page. You can scroll down to the post “How to Miss a Childhood”]