Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Love Tuesday

I do, I really do. I love Friday too because it starts the weekend, of course, but I just really love Tuesday.

Tuesday is a good news kind of day. I seem to find the most positive messages on Tuesday. Maybe it's only because I am happy and notice them more, but who cares.
Tuesday is less rushed than most days, Thursday is a later start for me too, but the kids get early dismissals and make the afternoon more rushed and busy.
Tuesday starts with a fun radio session they call Dirty Text Tuesday. My drive to school is filled with a conversation of messages that sound dirty but really aren't. They choose a random topic and have listeners text in or post online. Some of the responses are really fun.
My Tuesday morning class is awesome. I'm not a fan of Anthropology as a whole, but the professor makes it great. She can take this information that is dry and not even remotely of interest to me personally and make it entertaining. I'm doing well in the course and I know that it is because of how she teaches. There are always many laughs in that class.
Tuesday is the day I seem to hit more green lights on my drive.
I find a closer parking stall at the university on Tuesday.
The kids are in a good mood on Tuesdays. They are not yet exhausted from the week at school and our routines run more smoothly. Monday is like the practice run for Tuesday every week. Monday sucks for all of us.
Tuesday doesn't usually bring large amounts of homework. I can manage my week well. Most assignments have been due for either Monday or Friday. Even midterms have been either Monday, Thursday or Friday.
Tuesday is not a busy home management day. I usually have laundry and general clean up done over the weekend. By Tuesday, everyone still has clean clothes and the house is not trashed yet.
My mail comes in earlier on Tuesday. We currently don't have a specific mail carrier in my neighbourhood, just an assortment of those who can fill this route. Whoever brings it on Tuesday is almost always earlier than the rest.  Not that I need a lot from that comes in the mail, but it's nice to have it dealt with early in the day.
Generally, the Trucker doesn't have to work too late on Tuesdays. Of course, now that I've said that it will have to change. His boss is semi-psychic, I think. He knows when I'm getting too comfortable and makes sure to change things up.
Tuesday was never my favorite before. I think I depended on the lure of lazy Saturday mornings and the lack of a need for an alarm clock. Honestly, I think the most I've ever even thought about what day it even is, was to point out that Monday sucks and Friday starts the weekend.
The best part of Tuesday is that it tends to bring me up in spirits and I can carry that through the week. Even if Monday were to leave me feeling defeated or exhausted, I recover on Tuesday. That's not such a long way to the weekend either. In my teens and even the twenties, I probably chose a preferred day based on some TV show I was addicted to watching, but I don't even have that any more. I really don't watch TV. I watch the rest of the house watch TV, sometimes I am sitting with them, but the TV doesn't really ever capture my attention that closely.
I can even book things like doctors appointments or pay a bunch of bills, fill my afternoon with errands, and it still stays awesome. The mornings just set the tone in the right direction and I float through the rest of the day.

Do you have a favorite day? What do you look forward to each week?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Smarter Than My Smart Phone

On January 31st, I cracked. The whole week was hard. And rushed. And miserable in so many ways. I was running late. The kids were all late to school. I was set up to be at least ten minutes late for my first class.

I had the beginning signs of high anxiety creeping up on me. My heart was racing, my thoughts rushing and my breathing speeding up. I couldn't take it. I couldn't slow it down. I knew that it really wasn't the end of the world if I was late. I've discussed my personal situation with a very understanding professor. I knew he wouldn't be upset if I was late.

But I couldn't stop the racing.

I turned the van in the opposite direction. Headed to a coffee shop with my books. I tried to focus on what was causing my problems. I went through the long mental list of all the things the kids were doing in the morning that drove me insane. I considered all the reasons why we are regularly rushing. The Trucker says "you just need to wake up earlier." HA. Yeah. That doesn't apply with my own completely inability to actually follow through in a plan to get up earlier. I just couldn't understand it. I get up at 7. I don't do my hair or makeup, I just pull my hair back in a pony tail or clip. I should have enough time.

The kids are so hard to wake up. That has to be it. I need to crack down on bedtime.... Well, no. They actually have been pretty good at bedtime. I can't seem to get the younger two moving until 8. Why? Where does this whole hour go?

I sat there, frustrated at this particular point. I'm getting up earlier, why does it take so much to get them up?

I reached for my phone. I decided a short break from thinking so hard was in order. I opened the Facebook app. Stared at it for a minute. Closed it. Opened Candy Crush, maybe just one level...

Then I closed that app too. This is the moment where it all came crashing down. I figured out the root of my issue.

I opened up my notebook and started to write. It was that soul cleansing outpouring of words that happens every so often. A moment where the pen starts moving and I have to read it all again when I'm done because I have no idea what just poured out. Here is what I scribbled (seriously, I can barely read my own writing.):

Today I change my life.

For one month, just February, I am taking all of my usual distractions off of my phone. If it's all for no real reason, I will know very soon. But this thing is taking time away from what is important.

I read it like a morning newspaper before I get out of bed. I end up rushing because I am looking at things that are not important. These things can set the tone of my day. These things can put me in a sour mood before my feet even hit the floor. It's not worth that.

I look over the top of it and see my daughter's lonely face.  I told her that I needed to finish my school reading first and now, she's waiting for her turn to be important.

I look past it and see the Trucker roll his eyes. I say that I am playing this game because he is watching TV and ignoring me anyway, but what if he is watching TV because I'm not paying attention?

It takes time away from school work.

It interrupts bedtime snuggles and stories, at the very least it delays it.

I can't count how many times I've said "Just a minute." or how often the boys get in the van afterschool and start talking, and I'm trying to finish a level, or enter a comment, before we drive home. Then the drive home is silent, because I have squashed the words they were saying when they got in.

I want more.
I want more eye contact.
I want more Hello's and Goodbyes.
I want more kisses at the door.
I just want more LIFE and I'm taking it.
I'm taking it back.
IT IS MINE. MY life.

Since I have deleted my distractions from my phone, I've had an amazing amount of time returned to me.

I'm astounded (and saddened) by the length of battery life my phone has now. I am also feeling the same about the number of times I find myself reaching for my phone only to stop and remember that there is no reason to. It's getting better, but it's still a lot.

I have had amazing conversations with my family.
I have had a lot of focused study time.
I have enjoyed a break from a lot of drama.
I have had smooth running mornings and no fights with kids because we need to rush.
I have slept really well, because I'm not staying up saying 'just one more level,' or 'I'll just see if someone posted something, I'll be quick.'

I haven't played any of the games I was hooked on, even though I can access them on the laptop. I just don't have the desire to do it.

I am still a Facebook user, but instead of being a constant checker and connected through never-ending notifications, I log in just once or twice through the day. When I do, I do not have the desire to try to scroll through all of the missed time either. I check notifications, pop in to the groups I am involved in. Sometimes, I don't even look at the newsfeed at all.

I keep my phone in my purse or pocket while I am in the van. I make eye contact and conversation with the kids when they get in now. I am waiting for them. They are not waiting for me.

I get out of bed and start the day on my terms. By the time I look at any of these online distractions, I've usually finished the majority of my day.

I hate to admit that the problem was me. Who ever wants to say that? But it certainly was. I wake up at the same time everyday as I did before. But instead of rolling over to look at the smartphone, I get up. I get my coffee made. I crawl in beside the Angel and snuggle up. She wakes up with a smile and a big hug for me. There is no struggle to get her out of bed; she wakes up loved and happy. I go into Art's room and sit on the edge of his bed. I rub his back in small circles for a minute or two, he wakes up with a sleepy "Good Morning, Mom."
Mr. Macboy, He gets himself up these days. He is often up before me. But I greet him every morning and take a minute to ask how he slept.

I will say that the phone helped my transition to wakefulness in the morning. It was a small step on the road to resetting my body clock. At the very least, I was staying awake and not just fighting with the snooze button. For months, I was waking up nice and early and staying awake. But I'd stay in bed where it was warm and cozy for as long as I possibly could. The first few mornings without the distractions were not exactly easy, but I was able to convince myself that if I just got up and made my coffee, I could crawl back in bed and warm up for a minute. Of course, once my feet were on the ground, I didn't go back to bed.

The benefits so far, just ten days in, are real. I am confident that I will not have any trouble getting to the end of February. I am at peace.