A couple weeks ago my friend Barb (one of the founders and owners of Metroplex Baby and Kids) called me with a proposition. She was helping a local news producer find someone to give up the internet, entirely, for a week, and she thought I’d be “perfect” for it.  I had to laugh a little. How bad am I that people think I’d be the perfect case study for what happens when you give up internet for a week?

I was a little nervous about it, but figured it might be good for me.  I was feeling stressed and over-extended when she called me with the idea, and thought stepping away from the internet and email for a week might help me focus a little.  The call actually came when I was in hotel hell with Kendall, and I told myself that I would use this week to really focus on how to tame this wild toddler of mine.

I had a long list of tasks I planned to accomplish during my week of no internet, and I wondered just how anxious and lost I’d feel without being able to check in, google and connect with my friends. I planned to read lots of books on toddler behavior, and hoped my studies would pay off with some new tricks up my sleeve that would help me calm the beast that had taken over Kendall.

However, the week really didn’t go how I had envisioned. It was better. Admittedly, I didn’t accomplish too much more that I normally do during the week (leaving me wondering if I’m just a super awesome multitasker or lazier than I’d like to admit). I didn’t read any books on toddler behavior, but I did watch a lot of Super Nanny. I actually watched more television than usual (but no news, I really wasn’t in the mood to get caught up in the news this week), I read more, I enjoyed my coffee more. In general, I just slowed down.

I felt my stress and anxiety levels decrease throughout the week, I went to bed by 10:30 most nights and I slept like a rock. At the end of the week I also felt physically more relaxed. My shoulders weren’t painfully knotted, my back didn’t hurt, I felt more rested, and most importantly, I felt more relaxed and calm.

A recurring lesson I saw play out in all the Super Nanny episodes is that kids really pick up on your stress and anxiety level, and wouldn’t you know, Kendall seemed a lot more calm by the end of the week, too. We had far fewer tantrums than the week before (although some of that may be attributed to being home and not living out of a hotel), and I wasn’t so quick to get frustrated when the lines of communication weren’t working.  Turns out I didn’t need to read a bunch of books. I just needed to slow down and listen. I needed to listen to him, and I needed to listen to me. I needed to get back in touch with my mommy instinct.

It turned out to be a great experience and something I’m really glad I did. Sure, I have a ton to catch up on now, but nothing so pressing that I can’t step away. I think that’s the most important lesson I learned.  Sometimes I get so caught up in researching and planning, with the best intentions to be the best mom I can be, that I think it gets in the way of me just being… just living… just listening.

Now, I can’t live without the internet forever. I’m just hoping to phase it back into my life in a more balanced way. Still not quite sure how to do that, but I’m hoping if I just be still and listen, I’ll figure it out.

I can’t really share too many more details about the project I was helping out with just yet, but I’ll let you guys know when I can. All I can say is I’m so glad Barb and Metroplex Baby and Kids thought of me for this experiment. It was wonderful to team up with them.

For those of you in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, make sure you check out MetroplexBaby.com. I love going to their events when I can (especially Best and Hottest!), and they always have the latest “Scoop” on what’s happening in the area. Also, head over to my Facebook Fan Page to enter to win tickets to an MBK event this weekend. I’ll be giving away three sets today (November 3rd).

Kendall is 18 months and one day old (holy crap, that is crazy)

7 thoughts on “Back to the Future”

  1. This is so interesting. It’s crazy how much time we spend on the web trying to stay connected when we have personal connections to make right in front of us. Not sure if I could do it, but definitely worth thinking about.

  2. I’m glad the experiment was a positive experience for you!

    there is a tv show that does something very similar. It is called Technology Jones, and the people are assigned a year from the past, and then ALL their tech gadgets and conveniences are taken away and replaced with comparable items from that year. So if you got 1965, you might get a pad and pencil, a typewriter, some stamps and envelopes, a b/w television, a transistor radio, a map, etc to replace their computer, satellite tv/radio, GPS, what have you. fun to see how a week of that goes for people, and what they learn about themselves.

  3. That is very interesting. I have been thinking about this type of thing a lot the last few days. I have been wondering if my daughter’s temper tantrums and such will slow down while we are in Ethiopia. Because we will have less to do. We will not have a million playdates and such to get to. We will just be chilling out and playing all four of us. I hope so – and then I hope I can make that happen once we get back.

  4. In grad school, a professor who HATES TV required us to take a TV fast for a month. I found I had a very similar experience to you. I was much more relaxed (I realized commercials give me anxiety, who knew?), slept better, and was overall a happier person.

    I have been considering taking a hiatus from the internet lately. I find that when I’m bored, stressed, or just want to avoid life I “log on” and waste a lot of time. I think it has caused more stress that I realized.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I hope your transition back goes well.

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