Push Pull

I think most people are the same in that we often have opposing ideas. Our ideals can often contradict our reality, such as our beliefs not always being aligned with our actions.

If I had my way, I would live in a world without clutter. Paperwork and “stuff” that litters our countertops in piles would be eliminated. (Immediately!) I am a sentimental person, but I’m also a purger. I can feel warm and fuzzy about memories, but I don’t necessarily need a tangible memento to carry for life. Part of this comes from our life in the military. We move every 2-3 years. We get accustomed to downsizing and resizing as the size of our living space changes. My personal motto is, “If it hasn’t seen the light of day or been used in 3 years, it’s time to go.” We typically donate it to someone who can use it or have a garage sale. I’m not a huge knick-knack person. It’s just more stuff to dust and haul around. Yet, in reality – we have knick-knacks and clutter and papers that are in need of a permanent home.

Also in my perfect world, I would have a library with floor-to-ceiling shelving loaded with books of all kinds. I love to read and love that my kids are now readers. I would eliminate iPads and iPhones and even though we use both (ahem, I’m typing this on my laptop!) I would love to drastically reduce, if not remove completely, the amount of screens at which my minions stare. If my son had his way, everyday would be iPad day where he plays endless hours of Minecraft and comes up only for lunch and the occasional bathroom break.

After our rough weekend, iPad went away. We are currently finishing up our second week (of 8 total) without tablets and I have to say that I’m surprised at just how much I have loved it. My kids (shockingly) have not had the same fondness for this experiment. Nagging in general has lessened. “C’mon, turn it off, time for dinner!” or “Mom!! Just 5 more minutes, PUH-LEEEEASE?” have all been eliminated. My frustration level has gone way down. We’ve been reading more. Playing games as a family is the new routine.

SONY DSC
Rummikub! Our current favorite!

The kids are not racing through homework salivating for that looming iPad time after school. We’re talking more. I’m listening more. The fighting when one “kills” the other off in their linked game is done. No tears. No fighting about virtual worlds.

Peace.

But….

It’s easy to hand them the tablet when I just need a few minutes. It’s convenient to have them occupied when Eric and I need to have an uninterrupted conversation. It’s wonderful on long car rides. (Let’s be honest – here in Texas, every excursion ends up being a long car ride! This place is huge!)

There is this push and pull tension I feel between what I envision and the reality. I still don’t have answers, despite having done these types of experiments before, here, here, here, and here. I doubt the tension will lessen any time soon. It’s hard to have balance. Given the choice, I never would have purchased tablets in the first place. I do think it’s entirely too easy to lean on it as a crutch, much the way we used tv before tablets.

I love having electronic “breaks” but wonder how, after our 8 weeks are up, to reintroduce the privileges without it becoming all-consuming. Am I the only one that has a kid THIS into electronics? Our daughter enjoys it, but can easily move on to other things and doesn’t seem to crave it in the same way that our son does.

What’s it like at your house? How do you set boundaries or are you boundary-less when it comes to electronics and screen time?

What do you think?

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