So, it’s Elul. It’s that time of year for introspection, and thoughts of self-improvement, and taking a good, hard look at what’s been working for us and what hasn’t been. Rosh Chodesh came and went, and amid the hubbub of moving and having all my kids home with me all day, I was feeling kind of “meh” about it, really. It’s not that I didn’t care, per se, about this extremely important month, I was just tired and overwhelmed, and there was no room in my head for even thinking about anything. Full stop. The end.
I know I’m not the only Mommy out there who feels somewhat disconnected to this time of year. My daily routine now is a far, far cry from my daily routine as an idealistic girl in seminary. Anyways, before I get stuck reminiscing about the days when I was able to daven in the bomb shelter on Neve campus, in relative quiet and with more concentration that I can usually muster these days, let me get back to my point.
On Shabbos, my husband and I were discussing what goals we would like to work on for this year. I have a certain challenge which has been bugging me/us for a about a year and a half now. It’s been gradually becoming more of a challenge, and I’ve been working on other things, so it’s become an overgrown weed in the garden of my character traits. And I think this is the year for pulling it out. But I was wondering what incentive I could use that would actually work. I’m really, really good at talking myself out of things, and rationalizing, and all that kind of stuff.
We brainstormed and came up with the idea that whenever I slip up, I don’t get to go online on my laptop for the rest of the day.
Duhn duhn duhnnnnnnnnnn,
Well, around 11:30 on Sunday a slip up happened. It was pretty minor, but it still happened. And my husband was working until 10 pm that night, which would have been PERFECT for spending some quality time on Pinterest, or whatever. But now I couldn’t. My initial reaction was dread. What was I going to doooooooo all night? I didn’t even have a good book to read, and I couldn’t go to the library with all my kids and reasonably find a book for myself.
My next thought was how to somehow find a loophole, but I knew that this was a litmus test of sorts. If I didn’t stay strong now, at the beginning of this challenge, there was no way I was going to eradicate this behavior from my life. So an internetless night it was.
The hard truth
After the kids were all sleeping, and I was facing the formidable silence of my house, I realized that this “punishment” was what it took to get me to be productive in my house. For the past week or so, I’ve been talking a big game about how it’s so hard to unpack after a full day with the kids, and how I’m just so tired blah blah blah. Really, what a lot of it was, was that I just wanted to vegetate online and not do anything else.
Relaxation is super important, and everyone really does need to unwind and recharge. Yes. Do that. But that’s not what I was doing. What I was doing was an impressive amount of time wasting. And I was embarrassed to admit it (and so grateful to my husband for not giving me a hard time about it).
So, in just that one night, I unpacked quite a few boxes, cleaned some dishes, put away the toys and, get this, rearranged the living room furniture.
Can you imagine how much I would accomplish if I weren’t constantly distracted by looking up videos of goats yelling?
At the end of the day, we’re not getting rid of the internet in our home, and that’s okay (but seriously, ask your LOR, don’t go by me). I have met some amazing women online who I am so thrilled to know, and I hope to get to meet someday. I’ve gotten encouragement; I’ve laughed really, really hard; I’ve cried. You know, I’ve emoted online a lot through this computer. But really, I miss emoting in real life, too. And as a SAHM whose entire afternoon is blocked in by nap time, it’s hard sometimes to find other humans to connect to outside of my computer, so I’m happy to have you all at this point in my life. Awwwww.
But I don’t want to be sucked into the vortex of online and forget how amazing it feels to be productive IRL. I’m toying with the idea of just having certain times that I go online, and if I don’t get everything done, I don’t. It will most likely still be there tomorrow.
What do you think? Is it also hard for you to not cross the line from relaxation to vegetation?