On Parks and Recreation this week, one of the main characters (Tom) was required to go a week without any screens after hitting a mailbox with his car while Tweeting.
Hijinks ensue, and at the end of the episode this exchange happens:
Ron Swanson: “Why do you need to be constantly distracted?”
Tom Haverford: “The truth is, I spend a lot of time looking at screens because recently a lot of the stuff in my real life isn’t going that great. So I’d rather play DoodleJump than think about that.”
Now, I like Parks and Rec and I have been watching it for awhile now. But this was the first time that it actually made me really relate to a character. I easily could have written that exchange myself.
Because that’s what I do. I hide online, in front of screens.
My real life is depressing. I am severely depressed.
I don’t know what to do with my days…..I often wonder what it was like 10 years ago, before Facebook. Or 20 years ago, before the internet was in every home, before a cell phone was in every hand. I think of my own mother and I can only guess that the reason her house was always neat when we were little was because all she had was her soap operas and trashy celebrity gossip magazines to distract her and not much else.
I also wonder what it was like for the parents who had special needs children, before the internet. I mean, I feel lonely enough NOW and that’s with several groups I am active in on Facebook, including a few mom groups and a couple specially for HIE/CP kids.
I DO find camaraderie online…….although I spend waaaaaaa(^100)y too much time on Facebook.
Sometimes I wish that I had never gotten Facebook. Sometimes it freaks me out how many people know where I live, what my cell phone number is (by buying/selling stuff online) or just random factoids about my life by searching online. It’s creepy that you can Google my name and find the Bebo account that I haven’t used for 5 years….my MySpace…this blog….my Facebook….etc. Just recently I finally removed my middle name on Facebook after having it there since 2007. I even feel weird about having my full name in my email address sometimes. Sometimes I just want to be anonymous.
But I (majorly) digress.
I think that I am going to TRY to limit my “screen” time. Maybe check Facebook only every 3 hours instead of every few minutes. I need to wean myself for when I’m going to school in January anyway. I hope to be working full time by September….I can’t be going on Facebook at work like I do normally!
My addiction started when I was working before I went on mat leave….the bar/restaurant that I was employed at was almost always slow. I would sit and read the newspaper, I had nothing else to do. Then when the newspaper (or newspaperS, as I would catch up on ones that I had missed) was finished, I would move on to reading FML and TFLN on my phone. Then Facebook. Eventually I could barely put my phone down at work, and by the time I was leaving to go on mat leave I was beyond caring. I was done. Then I had nothing to do but wait for the baby….as a result, the house didn’t get cleaned and decorated for Christmas until 4 days before he was born, when I was 40 weeks. Then after he was born, I actually was off Facebook for almost 3 whole days while we were at the Stollery. All I had was my birth club at that point, so it was just too hard for me to be around them when we were waiting for Noah to pass away. Once we got home, I was feeding him every 3 hours. At first I would just be on my phone for the middle of the night feedings, then I started falling asleep all the time so I would have the TV on quietly. After Noah dropped those feedings, that habit continued….so even now I am on my phone and watching TV while I am feeding him. The kid gets a disturbingly high amount of TV time because it is literally on all day….the quiet is deafening if I turn it off.
The TV is my background noise, my phone is my outside interaction. And I truly think that both Noah and I are suffering for it.
I fail so hard, daily. I don’t do half of the things I should with him. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.
I’m mentally exhausted from all of this. Every day is almost exactly the same. Nothing ever changes. I feel like maybe if I would have done more when he was wee, he would be better now. I keep seeing all of these kids in his HIE group who started off way worse than him, and yet can sit up at least. People talk about doing 2 hours+ of therapy and exercises every day. I feel guilty, because he gets maybe that much a week from me.
I removed myself from him emotionally when we took him off life support. I truly don’t know if that was ever fixed. It feels like we have a disconnect. And that makes me feel like the biggest Mom Fail ever. I just don’t know what to do with him. There’s only so much tummy time he can do. And it’s not helping anything. Sure, his head control keeps getting better but the differences are so slight that I wonder if he will EVER hold his head up properly. Is it my fault?
Every. Single. Day. I go to bed and wish that this was all some overly detailed nightmare. How can this be my reality? All of his baby friends are light years ahead of him. They are little people, he is a “newborn”. The Winter Baby 2.0s are doing more than he is, forget his peer group of 1.0s.
I wish that I didn’t have to worry about the future so much. Do you know what I learned the other day? That children with cerebral palsy are prone to premature aging and have a much more difficult time recovering from illness and injury. I mean, it makes sense since the severely affected ones like Noah don’t have much muscle mass or fat stores to see them through illness. They haven’t stuck germs in their mouth via toys to pump up their immune systems. They have an adapted diet, which may not allow for a wide range of foods that would offer the nutrition to stave off illness and infection. That is terrifying. What the hell is going to happen when he is in school?! People’s little disease vectors are going to be coughing in his air, or perhaps touching his wheelchair. Especially because where we live apparently has the highest number of unvaccinated children in Canada (read that somewhere, not sure if it’s true)…..eek! God forbid if he catches something serious like measles, mumps, pertussis, etc. I’m kicking myself for not getting him the RSV vax.
But yet again, I digress.
I’m going to try to wean myself off TV and phone. Maybe having just music on in the morning. Working on giving him more tummy time. Reading (or gasp! cleaning) during his nap instead of watching TV. Going on my phone only during bottle time and/or after he is asleep at night. Going to bed at the decent hour of midnight instead of…..the crack of dawn.
It really needs to change, it is embarrassing.
My name is Olivia, and I am addicted to screens.
P.S. Here’s some Noah for your weekend 🙂 ❤