Yesterday I ran the Hartford Marathon (recap coming tomorrow) and today I felt surprisingly good.
While my thighs are super sore, I don’t feel nearly as bad as I thought I would.
But I was pretty tired today, and my husband worked all weekend so he wasn’t around at all, and with my focus really on surviving the race yesterday, things at home piled up a little bit.
And this morning a friend of mine delivered his chicken coop to my house.
I have wanted chickens FOREVER, and he was done with his chickens, and he offered me the chicken coop for free, and I couldn’t resist, plus he was SUPER AWESOME and offered to deliver it to my house.
But it weighs about four million pounds and I wasn’t quite set up for it to be delivered, so it took a couple hours to get the thing off his trailer and into a spot where it can stay for a little while until it gets moved into its permanent location.
And during those couple hours, the kids were all kind of on their own inside.
On Friday night the younger three slept over at my parents’ house and yesterday Number 3 and 4 were pretty much flying solo until I got home from the marathon, but even then they were still on their own because I wanted to lie down and rest for a little while before the little guys came home.
Then this morning I was on chicken coop detail, and everyone was on their own again.
And in the last couple weeks I have really laxed — AGAIN — on the technology limits.
I honestly just used it as a babysitter whenever necessary until I got through yesterday.
My relaxed limits aren’t all that relaxed compared to most people.
But it was still more technology than is usually allowed.
And I KNOW BETTER.
Every time the technology usage increases, behavior goes down the tubes.
There is direct correlation.
It’s like the kids get “out of shape” in the cooperation department.
They forget how to interact.
And I swear to God YouTube is a big part of the problem.
I HATE YOUTUBE.
Anyway, I was out doing chicken coop stuff for a while, and I heard a noise coming from the house.
And I turned and looked, and that’s when I saw one of our pumpkins being launched off the front porch and consequently rolling across the front yard.
And it’s like a 15 pound pumpkin.
Well, it was a 15 pound pumpkin.
And then I saw a baseball bat come flying out of the front door.
It was aluminum, and it clanked a few times on the brick walkway.
When you see a pumpkin come flying out of your front door followed by a metal baseball bat — AND WHY THERE WAS A BASEBALL BAT INSIDE MY HOUSE I HAVE NO IDEA — then it’s time to intervene.
I may have raised my voice.
Okay, I totally yelled, and I told the kids I was sick of their bullsh*t.
Not one of my finer moments.
I was tired and a little stressed out and I wish I could go back in time and have a do-over, but that’s not gonna happen.
Tomorrow I’ll apologize to all of them for losing my cool.
Anyway, I collected all the remotes and all the technology, and I told them we were taking a break indefinitely.
And that’s when I really noticed the other technology-related correlation.
Do you know what the kids did right after that?
First, they all started doing their jobs (another thing I had stopped being consistent with really since school started but especially these last two weeks).
And then, they all got up off their butts.
Number 4 and Number 7 went for a walk down the road to a place in town that is protected open space with fields and walking paths. They walked for about an hour.
When they came back, Number 3, 5, and 6 went for a walk to the same place. They were gone for about forty minutes.
When the boys came back, they asked if they could take their bikes to the middle school to ride around, and Number 3 was going to run a couple loops of the cross country course.
They were getting along so nicely, but they were also super active.
My kids are pretty active to begin with.
Number 3 and 4 are on the cross country team and the swim team. They get a lot of exercise. And it’s intense exercise.
Number 5 and 7 are also on the swim team. They swim three days a week for an hour. That’s a decent amount of exercise, too.
Number 6 is not currently involved in any sports. He’s a great athlete, but sports just don’t interest him all that much.
He sure does love his technology, though.
It’s what he will choose to do first before anything else.
But as soon as that was no longer an option, he wanted to go outside with his brother.
Once the kids realized they were not “earning back” technology time today, their attitudes and behaviors completely changed.
They were cooperating, and they were so active.
And then you know what happened?
The three younger ones asked to go to bed at 8:00.
That’s their bedtime anyway, but there were no fights, there was no asking to stay up later, there was no asking a second (or third or fourth) time on my part.
They were pooped, and they will (probably) all sleep really well tonight.
Another benefit of no (or very limited) technology.
So this is a reminder — mostly to myself — that although backing off on the technology limitation may provide a brief respite immediately, it always comes back to bite me in the ass.
If your kids have no limits on technology, they need some.
And if you back off on the limitations, tighten that back up.
Learn from me.
It may be a short term fix.
But the short term fixes almost always result in your long term freak outs.
And nobody feels good when those happen.