Let me start by sharing my worst kept secret:  I need structure and self-imposed rules to keep my life in order. It’s very hard for me to motivate myself without a sound plan and a check list.  I have accepted that it’s just how I roll.  Lately, I have been more irritable and mentally exhausted.  I’m sure the holidays played a part in it.  Overall, I felt like I could be more pleasant, less going through the motions and more focusing on the here and now.  So, as any self respecting creature of habit would, I set a rule regarding social media and my phone in general.  This recently implemented rule has alleviated most of the frustration and stress of the Afternoon Shuffle.

I have banned use of my phone or any other electronic device from the hours of 5-8 every day.

It’s quite simple and honestly, not hard to abide by, but this small behavioral change has had a big impact on my mood.  Even though, I’m not the type that endlessly posts on Facebook or is constantly texting, I do use the internet to distract me from chores and occupy my wandering mind with random google searches.  I didn’t realize that this small amount of mindless multi-tasking was making me unreasonably more cranky.

Now that I have eliminated the diversion, I am less spaced out and more in tune with what my kids need from me as they wind down from their school day:  Noah wants to talk about the new math book he’s getting.  Zac’s love language is wrestling while Eliza wants to “help” with preparing dinner.  Instead of embracing the situation for the chaotic whirlwind that it is and giving each of my little ones the type of attention they were craving, I was missing the mark as a mom and missing out on the messages my favorite people were sending me.  It’s so nice to be on the same wave length these days.

I became a bit reflective as we approached the beginning of a new year.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who gave some thought to what changes I wanted to make in my life and the actions that I need to take in order to see those changes come to life.  This is the first step in a new, happier direction.

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