Can you believe we’ve made it? We finished the Focused Moms Challenge! Four weeks of sacrifices, homework assignments, and learning to rethink a few things. Four weeks of quality time spent with our children, focusing more on them and less on the distractions of the day. A lot of steps forward, with a few steps back. I don’t know know about you, but it’s been one of the most eye opening months of my life!
During this final week, our challenge was to “Never Step Into the Path of a Moving Vehicle.” Seems like obvious advice for a pedestrian, but sometimes we all just seem to forget to use our common sense. Here are my confessions of the successes and the struggles at my house:
Is there a reason you’re lost in cyberspace? I thought a long time about the problems or difficulties in my life that might be causing me to be more involved with my technology than with the real people around me. We all have problems, and I’m no exception.
For me, I seem much more likely to get “lost” in technology when I’m stressed out or overwhelmed. Laundry. Bills. Dishes. Homework. Dinner. Bedtime. Life. Sometimes it seems that the more things I’m juggling, the more likely I am to get completely distracted by my computer or television.
I think I must feel that it’s easier (and certainly more entertaining) to check Facebook status updates or to watch the Biggest Loser than to wash and fold all of the laundry! It’s a way to escape. Just like some use alcohol or drugs to escape from their daily troubles, we (or at least I) have a tendency to do the same thing with technology. I’m glad I had this week to realize that.
Extend your attention to all of your relationships. This week I tried to be more attentive to my interactions with strangers. Of course my long term goal is to be more focused in all of my relationships, but for some reason this week I felt compelled to pay attention to people I didn’t even know. Waitresses, bank tellers, grocery cashiers, fast food workers. Whoever. I made an effort not to be on my cell phone during my interactions with them. I said hello and made sure to engage them with the respect that they deserve!
We each have an opportunity to extend kindness during our interactions with others (even strangers) but when we’re talking on our cell phone or texting all the time then we don’t even give ourselves a chance to smile at someone who might really need it.
Develop a maintenance plan. This week my husband’s 97 year old grandfather passed away. And the same day, the worst tornado event arguably of all times hit my home state of Alabama (and many other Southeastern states). There was a lot going on and for many reasons. I felt pulled to the television, the telephone, and the computer.
And with all of that going on, it didn’t take me long to realize that I could fall back into my old habits really quickly! Saying “in a minute,” checking the news on my laptop, reading Facebook status updates. All of this during times I could have and should have been focusing on my kids. I’m thankful that this challenge helped me to become more mindful of how I spend my time, so I quickly recognized that I was getting off track.
I tell you all of this to remind you that having a maintenance plan to keep the challenge going in your life is critical to your continued success with it. For me, I’m going to continue to keep my use of electronics to a minimum when my children are around. We’re going to have a Screen Free afternoon at least once a week. I’m going to TRY not to say “In a minute.” And in general I’m going to make an effort to be more in control of my distractions, rather than them being in control of me. And if I slip up, I might just come back to repeat the challenge for a couple of weeks to get back on track.
Here we are at the end of Week Four. We made it through our month of the Focused Moms Challenge, and I am so proud of each and every one of you. Your participation has meant the world to me. I hope that like me, this month has left you feeling more focused than ever before on the things that matter most in your life.
Now, it’s your turn. Let’s finish our challenge as strong as when we started it:
- Comment below about what worked and what didn’t for you this week or throughout the month. If you’re a blogger, include a link to your post in your comment so we can all check it out.
- Share the Focused Moms Challenge! I’ve set up a page at ChildPsychMom.com/FocusedMoms that includes links to all of the posts from the challenge so that anyone can pick right up and start at the beginning whenever they want. And if you ever feel like you need a refresher, then you can find what you need to review there too.