Focused Moms Challenge Week Four: Don’t Walk Into Oncoming Traffic

If this is your first visit to the Focused Moms Challenge, read our introduction post before getting started.

It’s our last week of the Focused Moms Challenge!  Can you believe how far we’ve made it?  Think back on how distracted you were at this time last month.  I hope that like me you can see the focus coming back into your life on the things that matter most, not the latest and greatest technology fad of the week.

Our Week Four Crosswalk Safety Tip is “Never Step Into The Path Of A Moving Vehicle.”  It seems simple enough, but sometimes (even when we’re looking) we just walk right on out into the middle of the street without paying any attention to what’s heading our way.  This week to wrap up our challenge, we’ll focus on a few tips to keep us moving in the right direction (and not into oncoming traffic).  Let’s get started:

Step One.  One reason why many moms (and dads) get hooked on the internet or other technology is that it distracts them from paying attention to some of the real problems or challenges that they have in their lives.  Problems in your marriage.  Anxiety or depression.  A clutter filled home.  Loneliness.  A child with behavior problems.  Estranged family relationships.  Job loss.  Illness.  Financial worries.  Too much work to do and not enough time to do it.  You name it, and the internet can suck us in to spending all of our time in cyberspace and no time at all on our real life issues.

This week, step one is to identify if there is some problem or difficulty that you are trying to ignore by getting lost in your distraction of choice.  You’re going to really have to look long and hard at the distractions that you’ve been trying to overcome this month and ask yourself, “Is there a problem I’m trying to avoid by spending all of my time on the _________?”  You might even want to open up and ask a friend, spouse, or loved one what they think.  Be careful though, you might not like their answer if you ask the question!

What if you do have a problem or an issue that you are trying to escape from by getting lost in cyberspace?  Get help!  Confide in a trusted family member or friend, seek out spiritual guidance from your place of worship, or talk to a psychologist.  There are people out there, including trained professionals, who are ready and willing to help you.  All you have to do is reach out to them.

Step Two.  Now that we’ve focused for three weeks on how distracted we can get from parenting our children, it’s time to take a look at our other relationships that could use some attention!  As Focused Moms we’ve been practicing paying better attention to our kids (and not our computer screens), but what about paying better attention to others?  Think about these people . . .  Spouse.  Friends.  Family.  Co-workers.  Neighbors.  Strangers.  When we’ve got ourselves so wrapped up in our cell phones that we don’t even look up to say hello to the person checking us out at the grocery store, then we’ve got a problem.  And if we don’t have conversations with our husbands or wives because we’re too busy watching television or checking Facebook status updates, then we’ve got an even bigger problem!

What can we do?  At the beginning of our challenge, we focused on how we used technology around our children.  Now, let’s extend that from our kids to PEOPLE in general.  Whenever you are with ANYONE this week  and tempted to use your distraction of choice, ask yourself “Is the time that I am about to spend with ________ (my computer, my Kindle, my smart phone, my television . . .) worth the time that I am going to lose spending with __________ (my husband, my wife, my friend, my grandmother, my dad, my brother, my neighbor . . .)?”  Sometimes you might answer that question yes, more often you’ll answer no.  Just spend our final week of the Focused Moms Challenge making an effort to value the relationships in your life as much as you do the technology in it.

Step Three.  For our final step this week, we all need to make a plan about how we can carry on with the good habits we’ve learned this month.  Just like keeping the weight off after a successful diet, we need to figure out our plan for being long-term Focused Moms (not just month-long)!  Your plan will be different than mine and that’s okay.  We each need to find a maintenance plan that works best for our families.

Some ideas include:  continuing to monitor your use of technology when you’re with your children, having a screen free day once a month, keeping reminders up to make you think before you get too distracted, or reading through the Focused Moms posts once a month for a refresher.  Just spend this week coming up with some ideas that fit your needs.

Recap.  Never step into the path of a moving vehicle!

  1. Is there a reason you’re lost in cyberspace?
  2. Extend your attention to all of your relationships.
  3. Develop a maintenance plan.

On Friday I’ll be posting how I used these steps at my house this week and how they worked for me.  I’ll also be asking you to share with me and all of the Focused Moms how you did!  For bloggers, you’ll be able to link up a blog post about Week Four with the Focused Moms Challenge, and non-bloggers will have the opportunity to share their experiences through comments.  Good luck and stay tuned this week to Facebook and Twitter for daily tips to keep you on track!

Common Sense Disclaimer: This challenge does not provide or replace psychological treatment or evaluation.  Contact a psychologist in your community if you are in need of individualized services.

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