The Big Unplug

So we’ve decided to try getting off the grid. Well not entirely, but pretty close.

No TV. No movies. No video games. Basically no visual media of any kind. We are keeping the internet, but severely limiting our time (and scope of use) on it. And good music is encouraged, as is reading, board games, and family time.

Our main motivation for making the change is that we want a better life and foundation for our children. We want a better spirit in our home, a more peaceful feeling, and more simple and clean influence. Why am I inviting this sick world into my home, into the lives of my children… daily, inviting it in? So we want to stop it. Plus it’s a major waste of time. And we want to encourage growth in other areas. Right now they know all the words to the Spon.gebob theme song… I’d rather have my children know all the movements of a symphony, or recognize the best arias from my favorite operas. I’d like to have them read from good books, and develop sharp minds… rather than nimble fingers from playing endless hours of video games. Besides, nimble fingers are available through playing piano. 😉

It’s kind of along the same lines as why I want to do heirloom gardening, and preserve my own food in a root cellar, freezing, and canning… rather than buy from McDonald’s. Back to basics. Back to wholesome. Back to what matters, and what will make you whole and well. (And yes, yes I would LOVE to do the whole full on homesteading life… sigh… if we had the land for it.)

We’ve been kicking this idea around for a few months, but we recently read a book that sort of gave us a kick in the pants to finally take the plunge. (It’s in the top 5 best books I’ve ever read… and that’s saying something because my mom is a literature teacher, so I’ve read A LOT of books.) And while I’ve been slowly decreasing the amount of media in our home for the past several weeks… to tell you the truth, I’m just plain terrified of making the change.

I have very poor health. I don’t know if everyone really understands this or not, or at least the actual severity of it. Granted, I am MUCH better this year (after doing that “program”) than I was even just a year ago, when I literally couldn’t get off the couch for more than about 30 minutes at a time without becoming violently ill. But I’m still so fragile. *cringe* I hate that word. I hate admitting it. I hate that I’ve had to scale back on SO many things that I feel like I *should* be doing. That my best just plain and simple isn’t good enough. That my house, husband, and children all suffer because of me. And because of how bad my health has been, I’ve really relied heavily on media to help me out.

I’m a SAHM, and my husband works LONG hours, so it’s just me. When I’m just too sick to move off the couch or do anything other than change diapers, feed the kids, and lie down again as quickly as I can… the tv has been such a help to make me feel like my kids were at least happy and occupied. Though I still felt crappy about it. But now I’m much better and am doing much more… though if I push too hard I still end up back on that couch again. Trouble is, I don’t know where the “line” is… the line between doing my best and doing too much and ending up sick. It’s a bit different every day, and I only know where it is once I’ve crossed it. Then I have about 3 days of flat on the couch.

So I’m trying to come up with a plan to make it work… without sending me to the looney bin. Maybe a full on lesson plan/schedule like you’d do for daycare or a school? But what activities? What do we do all day that THEY will BOTH (5 and 1 year old) will be happy with, and that also isn’t too much for me to handle? I’m barely up to making dinner every night again, and just *trying* to get to the point of getting the house cleaned on a regular basis… and that feels beyond my reach. And adding this? Oy. I am so overwhelmed and intimidated.

But I also believe that it is the best thing. That it will bless our lives in so many ways, IF I can be strong enough to make it work. That feels like a big if. But I’m determined to give it my all. I just hope that “my all” is enough for this. Praying for help and guidance in this, because I believe it’s His will for my family… and I also completely believe that He never tells you to do something without making it possible. *gulp* So we’re diving in.

Any prayers or advice are very much appreciated…

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2 thoughts on “The Big Unplug

  1. I admire you so much for taking on this challenge. I often long for a “simpler” life and wonder if doing what you are doing would make me happier. I’ll be looking forward to reading how it’s going for you. No real advice here as far as keeping the kiddos occupied- books, play doh, a water table, dancing to music- obviously I have nothing brilliant to suggest!

  2. We cancelled cable the last month before we moved to save money. We gave away our big tv and had plans to give the small one to DI, that same night we’d dropped everything off at the cable company we looked at each other and said, “Now what are we going to do?” A little bit later Daniel comes out of our room were the small tv we never use is and he said, “The small one still works!!” I guess it was still picking up network television. We were so excited. We’ve come to rely a lot on it. But after we moved we didn’t have tv for a few weeks and now we’ve kind of gotten used to it. Unfortunately Grandma still turns the tv on for the kids any time they go upstairs. I think if you slowly get rid of things then it won’t be such a shock.
    I also have a little magnetic chore chart that we do at night. It has things like, dressing yourself, keeping underware dry, eating your dinner, playing nice, picking up your toys, listening, read scriptures/say prayers, staying in bed… things that make the day feel smoother, if he gets 8 or more of the 10 “chores” done then he gets one fake money. (It is felt cut in a rectangle) If he gets all 10 then he gets two monies. He can use the money for tv and computer time. It’s really cut down on the whining when he asks to watch tv and all I say is, “For one money.” If he doesn’t have any then he usually just says, “I guess I’ll just go play.” When he does get to watch it I turn on a timer for however long I feel like and he gets until the timer goes off and then it’s time to turn it off. He has big rewards if he saves them and gets 5 or 10, but he always uses them for media time. It’s really helped us cut back a lot and cut back the whining so much!
    Good luck it is a hard transition!

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