Going Offline, Cloth Tissues, and Simplicity

Going Offline, Cloth Tissues, and Simplicity: HybridRastaMama.com

The Carnival of Natural Parenting issued a challenge for all participants in January. We were to commit to one week of more “natural living,” experimenting with something we typically do not do. I had committed myself to simplifying our lives through an experiment in minimalism and purging “stuff” from our life. However, halfway through this experiment, I decided to tackle a second experiment. I really would like to share the results of our household purge and will do so in a second post tomorrow. Today, I will focus on going offline.

Before Christmas I posed a question to my Natural Parents Network mama friends. I was curious to find out if they felt their mothering was negatively, positively, or not at all affected by blogging and social networking commitments. Personally, I feel as though blogging and social networking distracts me from parenting even when I am physically present with Tiny.

The responses were varied and wide although most everyone did agree that they were either stretched too thin at times, found themselves distracted by blogging or social networking, or felt guilty about not keeping up with their blogs and/or parental responsibilities.

Four NPN volunteers (Amy from Peace 4 Parents, Dionna from Code Name Mama,  Adrienne from Mommying My Way, and I) decided to go offline from December 27th to January 2nd to see what impact, if any, blogging and social networking really had on our mothering.

I have discussed my love-hate relationship with social networking before. Feel free to revisit Social Networking – A Mother’s Best Friend, Arch Enemy, Or Something In Between. I followed that up with Social Networking – Finding Balance.  Clearly, this is an issue that I have not been able to fully resolve for myself yet. I was hoping that going offline would really provide me some clarity.

And then I was thrown a curve ball – sort of.

Tiny and I woke up pretty sick on the 28th. We stayed pretty sick until the 1st. You have to get a clear understanding of Tiny sick to see why my experiment failed. You see, when Tiny gets sick she turns into a Tasmanian devil on every upper invented flying around faster than the speed of light. This is understating it a bit too. My child’s energy level is beyond comprehension or explanation. In the span of 10 minutes she had completely emptied my kitchen and everything she could reach (which is lot since we have the Learning Tower available to her to climb up on). She piled it in the living room then proceeded to head to my room and empty my closet out. She literally climbs the walls. If the ceiling fan were more accessible, she would spin around on it. I have never seen anything like it. She has always been this way too. Lucky me.

When Tiny is like this, it is difficult for me to be the calm, patient, mindful mother that I strive to be. 30 minutes in to an illness and I admittedly would like to run away and come back when Tiny is well again. Since I was also really sick, I was at my wits end within about 5 minutes.

So my experiment failed from the standpoint that I have no clue if I would have been a better mother if I were not committed to blogging and the really limited social networking that I manage to do. Even if I had wanted to, I would not have been able to get online while Tiny was sick. I needed to sleep when she actually slept and when Tiny was awake, I could not be distracted even for a second. My patience was sapped, my enthusiasm for mothering stretched thin, and my desire to even try to be peaceful walked out the door after day one. I was in survival-keep Tiny from hurting or killing herself or me-mode. Although I did not resort to yelling or hitting, I did resort to bribery, rewards, and a few half ass threats. (Head hung in shame).

I guess you could say that I was very, very present (physically and mentally) as a mother during my online hiatus but again, I HAD to be due to Tiny turned Tasmanian devil. I will admit that I found it a little difficult to not check Facebook or Pinterest while I was breastfeeding Tiny but mostly it was because Mama Jorje had just given birth to her son who has Down’s Syndrome and I was really wanting an update on his health as well as Jorje’s breastfeeding efforts. Otherwise, I was ok not checking in on Facebook. Staying off of Pinterest sucked ass though. I will admit that I snuck on there once, ok twice. And darn if it didn’t feel good! And ok – you caught me – I also snuck on Facebook on the 29th because I really needed to find out how Jorje’s son was doing. But I only did it while I was breastfeeding Tiny to sleep and then I only went to her profile and nowhere else. Except to post links to the benefit to help Jorge and her family stay in a hotel near the hospital.

So I was not able to figure out how blogging and social networking has really impacted me as a mother. This will continue to be a work in progress. What I do know is that I missed the interaction with my online communities. But I did get to try another experiment that was met with a rousing success! Tiny and I used cloth tissues all week and loved it! Not only did we not have any waste but we did not get the typical dry, red nose that you get with paper tissues. Yay hoo! I had purchased our cloth tissues from TurtlesRUs, a great vendor on Etsy. I am glad I had these on hand and even though we have used them before, I still reached for disposable tissues.

So to recap:

  • Going offline – successfully did so with no resolution as to whether or not it impacts my mothering due to the unfortunate timing of this viral invader.
  • Using cloth tissues, exclusively – SUCCESS.
  • And purging our stuff – read more about that tomorrow!

And that is all I have to say about that!

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.com

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  1. says

    I admire your efforts! I certainly couldn’t give up the Internet. But, I have set limits for myself as part of my regular life- I pretty much am never on the computer if my LO is awake. I vow to never get on PinInterest. I only get on Twitter to post my latest post and glace around (10 minutes- top), and I only get on FB to check 2 local parenting groups that only use it. I hope you guys continue to get better!

  2. says

    I think it’s great that you made it that long! I don’t know if I could. I would be so tempted to check through the phone or during nap. It actually kind of sad how addictive social media cites really are! Oh Pinterest I would miss you so!

  3. says

    This is an area I strive for balance too! It’s hard! I try to give myself a day off each weekend from the computer and social media. Then on vacations I try to stay off the computer. I get wore out otherwise. I’m trying to find that spot where my online activities are refreshing and upbuilding and not where they are draining and overwhelming. I also want to set the right example for my children and their future computer use.
    I admire your openness and honesty in sharing your experiment. It’s also comforting to know I’m not the only one who has to deal with the occasional tasmanian-like child. 😉
    I look forward to your post tomorrow!

  4. says

    That is unfortunate timing — sorry about that! So I looked at the cloth wipes you use, and they’re flannel. I still have not found a hankie that feels as good for blowing my nose as paper tissues do. I have some flannel ones from an old sheet, but maybe they’re thicker than those? How thin are the TurtlesRUs ones, if you don’t mind my asking?

  5. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says

    We use cloth tissues too – I just cut up old cotton tshirts! At any rate, you know how much I missed being online. It also made me realize how much I wish we all lived close – I wish I could have brought you all dinner or something to help when you were sick :(

  6. says

    Sounds like Tiny and my little boy are from the same pod! He gets crazy too when he’s sick and I feel for you! I know what you mean about missing the community, I’m the same, but I do appreciate the time away from technology sometimes. Thanks for sharing your experience :-)

  7. says

    I admire this challenge as even contemplating it makes me feel a bit uneasy! I love Pinterest too but try hard to stay away otherwise I’m there all night with tons of ideas and nothing done…but Twitter…well I’m a twit for sure!

    Glad you are feeling better. I changed toilet tissue for cloth and now you’ve reminded me to make some for my nose too! onelove

  8. says

    How bizarre- I was also horribly sick during that time (although mine started Dec.24th)! I couldn’t even muster an I-tried-and-failed post to join in this month’s NPN carnival. Blech.

    I can also relate to the mothering frustrations you mention during Tiny’s sickness. Munchkin doesn’t climb the walls but his already high needs neediness escalates to a point where I have 30 second intervals between whines, cries, and pleas for me. It’s brutal! I have not had my best mothering moments on those days.

    I’m really interested in the balance between blogging and mothering, but I think for opposite reasons than most. I’d love to be online or writing soooo much more, but I simply can’t be whenever Munchkin is awake. Way. Too. Needy. Does not play alone. So throw in a nap strike and late bedtimes, and that’s it, I’m offline until I get some sleep, too!

    Thanks for so much food for thought!

  9. African Babies Don't Cry says

    Shame, sorry you both fell ill. Jess also seems to find unnatural energy when he is feeling poorely. Im glad the cloth tissues were a success, Im going to be trying them out too! :)

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