I remember the first day I ate lunch with a new teacher at the elementary school I worked at back in 2006. She was a newly graduated from college teacher and had just joined our first grade team. I was so surprised when she sat down at lunch and pulled out her phone and started texting. I had a phone then, but rarely texted and never ever had it out at school. If I needed to talk to someone, I called them. I was so put off by her texting at lunch that I went home and told my husband about it. No one we knew was on their phones like that, it must be a “college kid” thing we decided. Little did we know, flash forward 13 years, and we would not be able to survive without our phones and the ability to text at all times. Most of our communication with anyone is through text or email. I honestly don’t know how I’d survive without my phone and in those moments I think I’ve lost it, the sense of panic I feel is very real. Technology saves me on a daily basis. I love having a chance to get things done while my two year old is entertained by Puppy Dog Pals and I really do think ABC Mouse has helped my 5 year old with her ABCs and honestly sometimes I just need the break I get when they are all plugged in. Yet, at the same time, I can see how their eyes kind of glaze over after a little while plugged in and their behavior changes and it scares me.
Technology is important and so helpful sometimes. On the flip side the research is showing just how dangerous it can be. Like a drug, it is addicting and in my opinion needs to be regulated for our kids. I just read an article about middle schoolers contemplating suicide because they don’t look like the models they see on Instagram. Something needs to be done. Their brains are not developed enough to determine the difference between real life and social media and the beautiful pictures and online bullying can really have a big impact on the way they think and feel about themselves. I know I can feel the anxiety that my phone and social media can begin to stir up within me. It starts small but if I’m on my phone too much throughout the day, I notice a heightened sense of stress and worry. Worry that I can’t do it all and that I’m most certainly not doing enough and definitely not doing it well enough. A quick look on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest is enough to make any of us feel insufficient. I think we all realize that Facebook and Instagram and definitely Pinterest, are flashes of the highlights in other’s lives. Still, somewhere inside it’s hard to resist the urge to compare. If it’s hard for me I really get sad thinking about how tough this technology stuff is for our kids to navigate.
My family was lucky to be able to spend this past summer on the Chesapeake Bay with my parents and extended family while our home underwent renovation. We spent most of every day on the water and without devices. It was such a wonderful way to unplug and reboot from our busy lives. I was able to be more present for my kids. We had a blast with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Our kids got bored and learned how to entertain themselves. They learned to be more independent and try new things. They created games and ways to entertain themselves. They didn’t ask for phone or tablet time. Life felt calmer and simpler.
We loved our summer, but we love our life in Vienna. The business and need for technology is not something that will change. Yet, I really love the way we felt at the bay and I think we can at least try to carry a little of that feeling into our day to day lives.
My New Year goal is to be the peace and feel the peace amidst the chaos of four kids, school, sports, carpools, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love having four kids and our busy life full of friends and activities, but I’d like to find a balance where I don’t feel so crazed on a daily basis. I know I feel more peaceful when I’m not so connected to my phone. I feel best when I’m present for my kids and husband. I feel even better connected when I see my friends and family in person or talk to them on the phone. And so, in order to feel better this year and set a good example of healthy technology use for my kids I have made a 2019 Peace Plan for myself and thought I would share, in case it helps any other busy moms out there make space for more peace in their lives.
Be more present
Be less connected to my phone
Get stuff done, but in a less frenzied way
Ways to achieve these goals:
Better control the times I check/look at my phone
Remember to put my phone in airplane mode at night and check it once in the morning and then put it away for the morning routine. Try to avoid getting it back out until after the kids are dropped off at school and I’ve spent some time playing with my 2 year old. Make sure when my kids all get home from school that the phone is put away for a while. (Honestly I’ve tried this for a few days and it has not been easy. I’ve realized that I am somewhat addicted to my phone and I have let the beeps and rings control my time more than I like)
See friends and other adults in-person more.
Make lunch, coffee and run dates. Have more date nights with my husband. Connect through the essential oil classes I teach and events I attend. It sounds silly but as a mom of young kids it is hard to connect with adults and texting can just be the easier way to do it. But, getting out is important. Real life connecting is important. I know it makes me feel better!
Exercise more out of the house and get outside more.
I love my yoga with Adrienne and Pilates videos and love having a treadmill in my basement but it’s not the same as meeting a friend for a run or taking a class with other moms. It’s necessary for sure to have the in house work out plans with young kids, but it’s easier to get motivated when you are meeting up with other people. Plus fresh air does wonders for your mood.
Take time for me
This can go along with all the other items on this list, but in addition to time with other people it’s important to feel connected to yourself. Sometimes you need some alone time to do that. Alone time is rare for me, but as a semi introverted extrovert, I crave it. I love taking a run outside or just Time for me also can just be doing something I love and enjoy. I love learning about, using and sharing essential oils and plan to incorporate all of that into my new year too.
Clean out the clutter.
I’m once again on a Marie Kondo kick to clean out my closets and basement. I’m reorganizing my office and getting my stuff organized so that my brain can feel organized.
I tell my kids all the time to count to ten when you feel like you are going to lose it. Yet, sometimes I feel like I’ve held my breath all day. I’m going to breathe when I check my phone and feel the craziness of the calendar and that there just aren’t enough hours. Then I’m going to put my phone down, get to work and keep breathing.
Use essential oils as tools to help me unplug, unwind and stay healthy physically and emotionally.
Many who read this already know how much I love essential oils. I love to diffuse them in our home and wear them as perfume, drink them in my tea…the list goes on and on☺
My favorite oils for staying peaceful in the chaos are Rose and Magnolia, both calming and healing. They help me remember to show myself some love when things get crazy.
My favorite diffuser blend for unplugging:
3 drops Balance
3 drops Cedarwood
3 drops Serenity
Balance helps to even me out and bring in peace to the chaos. Cedarwood is grounding and reminds me to be present. Serenity is calming and soothing.
Add these oils to your favorite diffuser and start to Unplug and find the peace in 2019.
Wishing all the busy moms (and dads) out there trying to get it all done and stay sane, some peace in the chaos in 2019!
Erin Coleman is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Arlington and now lives in Vienna with her husband and children. She is a former teacher, now stay at home mom to her four awesome and busy kids. She is a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and loves using, sharing and learning more about essential oils and their healing properties.