Friday, April 29, 2011

One Cell Phone Or Two?

This month, our cell phone contract is up, and we have been deciding what we’d like to do with it.  Right now, Shawn carries a Blackberry for work, which is not for personal use.  He also carries a personal phone, and the kids and I phone him throughout the day to include him in milestones that are going on at home.  Lily likes to phone him and keep him up to date : “ Daddy, I pee potty!!”.  Daddy always cheers for her like a good sport.  I’m sure every once in a while, someone near him thinks he’s nuts when he proclaims “ Potty!? YAY!!”. Hee hee hee!  I have a cell phone too…it’s around here somewhere…what’s my number? Uh, Hold on, I’m not too sure.  I must have it written down somewhere…

Ok, you get the idea, I never use that phone anyway.  When Shawn’s phone got run over/dropped/smashed one too many times, we swapped the numbers so he got my nice, still-shiny-new three year old phone.

Over the last couple months, we’ve been discussing what we should do with the cell phones.  While in theory, it seems reasonable that I have one, the reality is, I just don’t need one.  I’m at home most of the time.  If I were going to drive somewhere, say to Saskatoon to go shopping ( which never happens anyway!), I could just take his with me for peace of mind. 

We’ve all become so used to having cell phones that we think they are a necessity, but you what?  Most of the time, they aren’t. Ok, some people need them for work, to be reached when on call or during an emergency ( Shawn included) but realistically, not all of us need that phone. 

I don’t even feel obligated to answer my home phone just because it’s ringing.  If I’m reading to the kids, that’s important and they appreciate my full attention.  I don’t feel bad if I am not reachable 24 hours a day.  I have message manager, that’s what it’s for.  On weeks when Shawn is off, our family has a little ceremony where he makes a big production of powering off the phone, and the rest of us do a little dance and cheer.  It’s so nice to be set free from the slavery of having that phone constantly within arm’s reach.  His ring tone sounds like a submarine’s diving warning, and we all cringe when it rings and interrupts family time.  We know that it means either he will be on the phone discussing some problem, or helping someone fix something, or that he will have to go back to work to fix something.

So, besides being a rant about how much I hate the cell phone, this post does have a point!  I’ve been wondering, if I hate the thing so much, why am I paying for it?  Why do we pay for caller ID, the second line or any of those other features we’ve never used anyway?  We’ve decided to keep just one personal phone, because we do value being in contact with Shawn throughout the day.  He doesn’t miss out on the fun stuff going on at home, and the kids like that Daddy is still part of their day, even when he’s away.  We have one for peace of mind when we travel, or when Shawn’s hunting or fishing. We’re putting that phone on a bare basics plan, and saving $40 a month. We’re using the phone we already have, because we don’t want a long contract, and we don’t want to pay for a new one when we don’t need to. 

Getting rid of my phone will help accomplish two of our family goals : 1) simplify life to make room for what really matters; and 2) save money.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Think I Need Office Hours

Being a stay at home mom, one might think that I have plenty of time to keep up on computer and office stuff, but I always seem to be behind!  I’m considering implementing office hours. 

Some of the many office tasks that I am behind on right now are: loading pictures from my camera to the computer and organizing them, paying bills, working on our budget each month, writing and correspondence for the various committees I volunteer on, writing actual letters to friends and family, looking up craft and activity ideas to do with my kids, researching some potential purchases we’d like to make, and blog posts.  I have a whole sheet of post ideas!  But all of these things require that I can sit down at the computer and focus on the task at hand.  It seems so hard to carve out that time during the day!!

It’s been a crazy busy week with activities around here, and I am behind in many other tasks too!  It’s gotten me thinking…maybe I need to implement office hours?  If I decided a certain time window each week that would work for me, I could have Shawn do special Daddy activities with the kids and set my brain to office stuff.  When people ask me about a good time to call to discuss certain committee things, I could actually have an answer! “ I sit and deal with schedules and office tasks Tuesday nights, why not call me then, and I’ll be able to discuss that with you.”  Or maybe I could chose a time window that works during almost every day, and people could phone me then if they wanted to chat, then I wouldn’t have to feel obligated to answer the phone all day!  I do just let it ring a lot, my thought tends to be “ that’s what I have an answering system for”.  But, if I had office hours, I wouldn’t have to feel as guilty about it!

What would I do with my office hours?  Type a lot, I think.  Research ideas too.  It would ease my feelings of being so far behind!  Instead of that email that requires a reply nagging at me, I would be able to know that I plan on answering it next “office hours”.  Maybe I wouldn’t be so distracted during the day!    Having set hours would keep me from being distracted while I am doing things with the kids, thinking about what all I need to get done.  The computer in the kitchen makes it so tempting to “just quickly check email”, or “just take a sec to write this note”.  Still thinking about taking the computer out of the kitchen.

Hmmm, maybe I do need office hours.  Right now, as I try to make the time to write this post, my family has gotten sick of waiting for me and have started eating dinner without me.

Maybe I should close up Mama’s Office and sign off…

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Regret Free Parenting: a Book Review

Since I have heard many good things about this book from a friend of mine, I was really looking forward to reading it.  I agreed to review it for Booksneeze in return for a free copy of the book.  

Isn’t that what we all want?  To raise our children without regrets?  Catherine Hickem encourages mothers that regret free doesn’t mean mistake free, and that every mother, even those without a Godly example to emulate, can raise great kids.  The author discusses so many issues that it’s definitely a packed, thought provoking read!    She talks about how valuable the role of motherhood is to every child, and encourages moms to recognize how much they need God’s help in this journey.  She empowers moms to be intentional about how they are raising their kids, to be a confident mom to the specific, unique children God has given you.    

One of the topics that I enjoyed most was knowing and affirming your child.  She encourages moms to really study their children, to have a deep knowledge of how God made them, and how they feel encouraged, pouring ourselves and our love into them throughout all stages of their lives.  She discusses all the stages of childhood, and how we can enjoy our children and love them unconditionally, even during those years that many parents are intimidated by, the teens.  This is a great book, full of sound advice and many reflection questions at the end of each chapter, designed to really get you thinking.  I enjoyed the scripture quotes sprinkled through out the book.

While over all, I really enjoyed this book, I do wish the author had covered more practical steps for putting her principles into practice.  

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