A few weeks ago, my neighborhood was hit by a huge storm. There was damage to our home, which resulted in us being without power for five days (among other things).
If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I could survive without electricity for five days, I would’ve laughed. The last time I had been without power for more than 8 hours was in 2003. I was in high school and living at home in New York and everyone lost power for several days. I certainly wasn’t a mother of two, living in my own house, not only dealing without power, but also dealing with damage to our home AND two young kids. And now that we have power back (hooray!), I realize a few things about our family.
My kids are not as addicted to technology as I thought/feared.
We admittedly don’t watch a lot of TV at our home when the kids are awake. We save the occasional movie for when we have babysitters, a sick day, or if we are on single-parent duty. Still, I was worried that without power, FW especially wouldn’t know what to do. In fact, he barely missed a beat. He asked to watch a movie once and tried asking our Amazon Alexa to play music a few times. But other than that, he wasn’t phased at all. He even did some homework by flashlight one night.
Instead, it’s me that’s always connected.
I use our Amazon Alexa for everything: the weather, to set timers, to remind me to do things (like set my Fantasy Football lineup), grocery list, etc. Without it? It was hard at first. Also, I’m always connected to my phone and laptop for work. After the kids go to bed, the first thing I do is pull out my laptop and get back to work. Not being able to do this at first was frustrating — but after a few days, I got used to and enjoyed being actually disconnected from my job.
For our kids, a routine is EVERYTHING.
We opted not to go to a hotel or stay with family during our outage. Why? Our kids were still going to bed at their normal time, sleeping in their own beds/cribs, and sleeping through the night. Shlepping them to a hotel, as nice as it may have been, was unnecessary. Keeping them in their routine made the nights easy and the days seem normal.
There’s more than enough to do without power.
Without my laptop or phone, there was plenty to do for ALL of us. I not only went to bed early and relaxed more, but I was able to clean our refrigerator, something I’d been wanting to do for a while. B was able to do yard work and get some reading done. My kids colored, read books, played outside and were 100% fine. Even just checking out the large trees down in our street was entertainment enough.
We are more resourceful than we think.
During the power outage, I was able to cook a few meals using our gas stovetop. B taught me how to light it with a lighter and we were were able to eat quesadillas, grilled cheese and eggs, all on separate days. My husband cut up some of the tree that was down in our backyard with an axe. When our daughter got a stomach bug in the middle of the outage (yes, talk about bad timing) we were able to wash her sheets in our basement sink by hand. My 3-year-old got really good at walking around with a battery-powered lantern at night. And my 15-month-old probably didn’t even notice anything different!
We are VERY lucky to have family nearby.
While we still lost a lot of food during the power outage, We were able to send some of our food to my sister-in-law’s house, including my frozen breastmilk supply, to keep us from losing everything during the outage. If it had been winter, we could’ve stayed at their home while our home was freezing.
Being without power wasn’t easy. But it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined. And, I did joke to my husband that we should do it more often — I could use a digital detox every month or so!