One different element

If there is one thing you could change today on your journey towards becoming better, stronger, wiser, kinder… what would it be?

This morning’s read (courtesy of Rachel Macy Stafford) gave me a little to think about – changing just one element from day to day, week to week even, could even be longer.

What if the most attentive person started with just one question? One question that they asked someone, and vowed to listen to the response. I mean really listened.

I’m not a hugely structured person. I like it but I’m not the greatest at creating it. Neither is my husband. So when either one of us tries to create structure, the other usually kills it. It’s not a negative thing, it’s just our nature and personality.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of structured screen time. I’m sure lots of parents structure their children’s screen time so they’re only getting so many minutes a day of Peppa Pig, but what about me? All those spare 10 or so minutes I have between doing bits and pieces, I spent scrolling through newsfeeds of people’s lives. And we all know that Facebook or Pinterest or Snapchat is just the surface story.

We have this rule about photo-sharing pictures of our daughter. If it’s something we’re experiencing together as a family, then it can be shared. However, if it’s something she’s doing on her own, then it can’t. It’s partly about seeing her as an individual with individual autonomy. She doesn’t have a lot now but one day she will, and she can choose. It’s just a personal preference. I was a rule we came up with fairly recently, so I was going through my photos and deleting a bunch. I came across this happy family photo with the three of us and my sister on a trip last year to Akaroa.
Everyone is smiling and happy. But that day was actually the worst. My anxiety was at an all time high and I was picking fights with everyone. I was such a ridiculously grumpy and shitty person and I remember even at the time, I couldn’t tell you why.

So what if I could actually paint the picture rather than upload it? What if I could share context and colours instead of just lines? And what if by doing this, I gave room for others to paint their own pictures? What if I just listened?

I’m a big fan of technology. I love innovation. I love seeing how far we’ve come and I love how people can create things with coding languages. Of course, I don’t understand a single thing when my husband talks about it but there’s lots of people like him and it’s wonderful. So we’re definitely not anti-screens. But I am pro-balance. And when I look at my QT app and see that I spent 8 hours worth of 10min blocks scrolling through FB, reading aggravating news articles or watching Netflix, I wonder how I could have spread that 8 hours a little better…

Perhaps a little more time jumping off step stools with my child.
Maybe an extra half hour at the gym.
Perhaps using the little time left in my breastfeeding journey to look into my child’s beautifully expressive eyes and marvel.
Maybe an hour flicking through cook books and writing up the next meal plan.
Perhaps a trip to the park with baby and furbaby.
Maybe a coffee date and a walk with a friend.
Perhaps even volunteering an hour or two with a local organisation.

Today I’m committing to using my time to be more present and attentive. I’m committing asking questions and really listening to the answer. I may need help with this.

I’ll let you know tomorrow or whenever I happen to be back here what the time count on my QT app is.







2 thoughts on “One different element

  1. Lani, your words bring life and challenge.

    Recently I read a book that was about choosing how to spend your time and it is helping me to think about what I choose to give my time too, esp in my job (which sucks time faster than Facebook).

    It is also a challenge to expect certain behaviours from my own children, but then model something else. We recently went to hear a gentleman speak about cybersmart things and he talked about parenting and modelling. Dan and I are trying to be better role models with our technology. Some days we do well and some days we don’t. I commend you for being thoughtful about how you share your daughters life online. We are endeavouring to do the same.

    It is a journey. Thanks for sharing.

    • Parenting is hard. The other day I read an article and the writer had observed parenting behaviour in a waiting room. The children who were most wild were the ones with parents who paid little attention to them, ie. spent the entire time on their phones and only looked up to yell at the kids. It’s a big ask to expect positive social behaviour to come out of anti-social modelling. A has actually started to give me cat headbutts when she wants my attention. She is barely 2 but I want her to talk to me in future. I think it means I have to put in the hours now or something?
      Ah, I sure am glad to have other parents to parent alongside. Most days I have no idea what I’m doing.
      Thanks for engaging Sharon, I muchos appreciate.

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