Challenge Accepted

I posted a while back about a blog I had stumbled upon that was very convicting to me.  You can read the post here. The Title of the blog is called“The Hands Free Mama” and my is this woman amazing! When I wrote regarding her posts back in February, I wanted to take the challenge to spend more time with Erin and less time with the computer and smartphone.  However, I failed miserably. The worst part, I didn’t feel that bad about it.  The best I did was sign up to receive email updates from her site.  I’d normally just delete them and go about my day, doing my own thing.  Until recently, a turn of events  occurred in my life that have brought me to my knees, finally figuring out that I was the problem.

It all started about a month ago.  Things were blissfully happy.  We all returned from a long vacation refreshed and renewed.  Erin had been spoiled rotten by her grandparents, while Ping and I were trotting around Asia without a care in the world.  It was a much needed vacation for us all.  When we returned, I opened my shop on Etsy, and Ping took a trip for work.  Erin seemed happy and blossoming into a NORMAL two year old.  She began challenging us more, using words like, “Erin do it!” and “No!” a thousand times a day.  A clear sign of normal development of independence and a sense of self.  But Erin also started doing something we didn’t think would happen: she began a major regression with using the potty.

All of a sudden, we were plagued with accidents, peeing in daddy’s lap, refusing to use the potty, wetting her undies just enough to soak them, but not leave any spots on the floor and not telling us.  She stopped initiating potty trips all together.  When I asked friends for advice, I only heard, “She’s two.  She’s still ahead of the game.  Most kids are still in diapers at two.  She’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”  It just didn’t settle well with me.  Because, even though she IS two, she also have been potty trainED for a YEAR.  A child that has been using the potty consistently for this long doesn’t just have a regression like this for nothing regardless of their age.  Yet, I couldn’t figure out what her issue was.  Why was she doing this?  I was so upset, adding this stress in my life.  I needed to get my Etsy shop stocked and I needed to sew.  I needed to work on my shop to increase my views.  Etsy needed to be my focus right now, not her.

I would get so frustrated some days, I’d yell at her, scream, put her in timeout, make her go bare bum and “start over”, force her to sit.  It got to the point that each time I would just say her name regardless of what I was going to say to her, she would quickly start crying and say, “no potty! no potty!”  That’s when I broke down.  Feelings of guilt and rage towards myself.  What have I done to her?  I’ve done everything wrong! Everything I tell people during potty training not to do, I’ve done to her, and now look at what has happened as a result! Why was she doing this, and why is this becoming more difficult for both of us?

After talking to someone, I light went off in my head.  Shortly before the regression began, I stopped focusing on her.  I’d give her an activity, and trudge over to the computer or sewing machine and do my “Etsy thing.” If she bothered me too much, I’d snap at her.

Then, an email update from Hands Free Mama came in.  It was a post that Rachel from Hands Free Mama shared of her struggle of yelling at her kids.  It was such a normal thing in her household, but one day, after seeing a look on her daughters face after spilling something in the pantry, she vowed to never yell at her children again.  You can read about her struggle and pledge here. Feelings of guilt and shame flooded my heart.  Guilty 100%, right here.  I realized that my indulgence and 100% of my attention this past month has been solely on my Etsy shop, and practically none on Erin.  And I bet that’s why she was regressing.  She is sending us a message.

This past Thursday, I chose to turn the computer off the moment Erin was done with her nap. The computer would not be turned back on until she was asleep for bed.

I started after Erin’s nap that day.  I found myself enjoying playing with Erin and she was enjoying all this attention!  So happy she was!  But then, I started to become bored.  Bored of the two year old activities.  Yearning for more adult like things to do.  I looked at the computer and remembered it was off for a reason.  A few minutes go by and I became fidgety. I really should check my email.  I was able to keep my hands off my smartphone for 2 hours.  I had to take a peek.  I couldn’t’ take it anymore.  I sent Erin outside on the porch.  I brought my phone and played with it while she blew her bubbles.  Here I was: not even an evening’s into time with Erin and my attention is already completely off her and on my device.

I put Erin to bed that night feeling so discouraged and angry at myself.  I couldn’t even go a few hours without checking my email or my Etsy stats. I had to check Facebook.  That’s when I knew I needed to give myself a challenge and take it seriously.

So, starting Monday (our weekend is packed anyway) for one week, the computer AND my phone will be turned off while Erin is awake.  I will have no contact with anyone through these devices at this time except for Erin.  She will have my 100% focus and attention. She will feel loved and cared for.  Her cup will be so full of my love and laughter she won’t know what to do with it. That’s how I want my daughter to feel.  I’m hoping that, I too, will enjoy this so much that by the end of the week, I can continue this new practice, make it a way of life like Rachel has.  Because this girl deserves it!

Erin's Mother's Day gift to me.

Erin’s Mother’s Day gift to me.