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Unplugging and Being in the Moment

In today’s world, we are a culture of documentation.  We try to capture every moment, update our status with what is going on in our lives and let the world know our thoughts on happenings.  As I scroll through pages of social media, I wonder to myself if we have forgotten to be fully in the moment because we stand on the opposite side of it with our phones or cameras and work so hard to record it.  As we strive to capture that second, time slips through our fingers.  Abba summed it up nicely in their song, “Slipping Through My Fingers:”

I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what’s in her mind
Each time I think I’m close to knowing
She keeps on growing

Time is fleeting, and we cannot stop it.  It helps us heal, it allows us to grow, and it is a precious gift that none of us can exchange or bargain with.  I look at my children and am amazed at how they have grown and changed and will continue to do so.  Looking at the earliest pictures I have of them, it is difficult to fathom that so much has evolved in so little time.  I have been guilty of missing moments because I have allowed myself to get sucked into the social media abyss, but I have challenged myself to save social media and my phone for my children’s down times or naps, and after they have gone to sleep.  I have always known there is nothing on my phone that is more important or precious than this time I have been granted to spend with my family, but I would pick up my phone every now and then and let it steal moments away from me when it wasn’t important or necessary.  I am putting a stop to that.

It is important that we recognize that our children will mimic, and to some extent, become us in the future.  We instill in them our habits, our responses, our words and our actions.  Unplugging from everything and just being with them every moment that I can without unnecessary distractions will teach them to be respectful of those in front of them, to spend time with their loved ones and teach them that nothing is more important than the people you are with in each and every moment. 

I am saddened to see so many people sitting together and not being with each other.  We have become a society of being everywhere except in the space we occupy.  We have forgotten to speak to each other and interact with each other without our phones in hand.  We have buried ourselves in a virtual world and are no longer aware of the actual world.  We miss opportunities to cross paths with people who may have arrived in that moment with us for a reason.  Parents, we must help our children live in the moment and save the virtual world for times when there is truly nothing going on in our day.

We should not let time slip through our fingers.  We need to grasp it and take our children on adventures and show them the world.  There is always a need for a little down time, and these are the moments when we can plug back into that virtual world we are a part of, but we need to start making a difference and helping our children to live moments to the fullest.  They will not be able to do that if their attention is fully consumed by something that is not tangible.  Times are changing, and technology has become a part of every moment of our days, but it is necessary to ingrain awareness of surroundings, courtesy for others, and passion for life and tangible experiences into our children, or they will be lost to a world where reality and truth are becoming a thing of the past.  

My cousin, Tracy Smith Hamilton, changed my life with something she wrote in her blog as she battled cancer.  She wrote, “My lesson to learn is to pick up Charlie every day, do something fun every day, and be kind to people every day.”  We have been granted the time we have and nothing more.  Don’t let it slip by you.  It will pass by, but let it pass by while you hold the ones you love, are kind and courteous to the people you cross paths with and are doing something that is fun and memorable with someone you care about.  To sum it up simply, I will borrow a quote by Bessie AndersonStanley, who wrote, 

“Live well, Laugh often, Love much.”

Passing time is not something any of us can control, but we can manage how it is spent.  Join me in unplugging while you are with your children and other people.  Enjoy the space you occupy and see what wonders, people, events and things the universe has to offer you in the passing moments.  Be an example to your children of what it means to live life to the fullest and to be in every moment.

Wonder of Rainbows

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, I wanted to make a free coloring and e-book for children available.  Dr. Seuss was responsible for assisting our children in many ways, and the one that I will always be grateful for was his ability to create wonder and awaken their imagination.  I am starting a series in which I will take things that my children find interesting, or are curious about and explain them in a simple way using books that I write and illustrate for them to color.  

The first book is about how rainbows are formed.  It is the story of a water droplet that wants to help make a rainbow.  Join Brooks on his fun journey where he will meet other droplets and discover what a rainbow is and how he might be able to be a part of one.  This is a fun story that takes some of the science behind a rainbow and turns it into a story I hope your children will enjoy.


Making a Rainbow

Children’s coloring and story book about how rainbows are made. This is a free e-book that can be printed out or downloaded onto a desktop or tablet to be read at any time. This is a fun way to learn about rainbows and a little bit of science. Teachers, feel free to download this book as well. The angles of the characters looking at the rainbow and the the angles at which the sun is hitting the suspended droplets are accurate (between 40 – 45 degrees). Enjoy and happy creating and learning!

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Importance of Alone Time as a Parent

My feet are hitting the pavement in rhythmic time as my strides carry me through my run.  This is my alone time, my time to meditate and be creative.  I reflect on my day and think about creative solutions to problems I have encountered, I pull from my memories of parenting and imagine a variety of articles I could share on this site.  I breathe in a little freedom as my legs pull me further into a time when all that exists in my world is me, the pavement, and a playlist of my music in the background.  At times, I used to feel guilty about delegating my responsibilities as a mom to others and taking this time for myself, but I have discovered how very important this time can be.  This time varies in length for me from day to day, sometimes it’s only 20 minutes, sometimes it could be an hour, but this time has contributed greatly to me becoming a better wife and mother.

Whether we are working moms or dads, stay at home moms or dads, or single moms or dads, we all seem to feel a little guilty, for the same and different reasons, when it comes to taking time for ourselves.  As a stay at home mom, I used to feel super guilty about wanting to take alone time to do something I enjoy because I felt like it was my duty to take care of the kids all the time.  Whatever the reason for our guilt, it is important to know that you should not feel guilty about wanting and needing a little time to yourself.

According to Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, a psychologist and author,

Spending time with yourself benefits everyone because by having a happier and healthier mindset, you’re in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who are important to you.

She lists several reasons why alone time is very important, but as a parent, I think the most important reasons are:

Solitude allows you to reboot your brain and unwind.

Frustration, anger and stress can build up inside of us if we don’t take time to refresh our state of mind and be in our own thoughts, uninterrupted. This is the time that we can breathe in some peace and quiet in our own way to prevent an explosion of anger and frustration towards the ones we love. I have been victim to this build up and explosion and have not been proud of the words that have come out of my mouth or the harshness that coated those words. I am not perfect by any means, and have had moments I wish I could redo as a parent and a wife, but I have learned from these mistakes and have found how truly healthy it is to unwind your mind and be in your own world with no distractions, even if it is just for a few minutes, so that the unseen pressure of constant motion is relieved and the brain is revitalized.

Solitude gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice.

It is easy to get trapped in the role of being a parent and forget your own thoughts, feelings, needs and wants. Being a parent requires sacrifice, but it is important to remember to nurture yourself and respond to your needs as well. Reflection on your actions and decisions without interruption or outside input leads to discovering things you’d like to improve on, and things you are happy with, so that you can determine who you are and what you need to do to make sure you stay on the path that will lead to being the best you possible. This, in turn, will illuminate your relationships with everyone you love because you will have a healthier self image and be a stronger, more confident you.

Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively.

When you make the time to step into yourself and be in your own head, away from everything else going on in your life, and solely in the moment, your brain calms and you can look at problems in new light. One of the toughest things as a parent is reading book after book, article after article, asking other parents about a situation you are dealing with concerning your child, and all of the advise is failing. These are the moments where alone time has helped me become more imaginative, utilizing all of the information I have received, but then pulling in everything I know about my child and adapting the advice and information into a platform that is much more effective for his or her personality. Without alone time to really get creative with different situations and problems I encounter, I keep reacting the same way, and it just creates a cycle of frustration for both me and my child.

Find something you enjoy doing and let it be your escape so that you can have the alone time you need to be a healthier, happier, more confident you. For me, running has become my escape pod into the world of my mind. I get not only exercise, but the opportunity to delve into my mistakes, my accomplishments, unresolved problems, and the imagination portal in my brain. I have learned that it is not selfish to spend some time alone so that you can become a more efficient, productive, happier and healthier you. If anything, the time spent alone, without interruptions, is a great benefit to your children and all of your relationships because it allows you to remain balanced and continue walking down your path, instead of losing your way and stumbling repeatedly. Make alone time a priority in your life, even if you start small, taking just 5 minutes a day to unplug and be alone in your thoughts without distractions so that you can reconnect with yourself and get to know your joy, anger, sadness, disgust and fear better.

References:
Carter, Sherrie Bourg, Psy.D. “6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone.” Standard Blog. Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 31 Jan 2012. Web. 22. Feb. 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/6-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone

Carter, Sherrie Bourg, Psy.D. “Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Stealing a Little Time for Yourself.” Standard Blog. Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 01 Feb 2012. Web. 22. Feb. 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201202/why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-stealing-little-time-yourself

Holding Together a Blended Family

Essential Mommy Guide: The Blended Family

Being a step-parent is not an easy task, and in order to have a working bond and good relationship with your step-child(ren), it requires a never ending commitment to open communication with your spouse, flexibility with expectations, understanding of what a blended family is, and acceptance that there will be differences between full time and part time children.

 I met my daughter when she was five years old.  She was adorable, sweet, imaginative, active, and completely won me over.  My husband and I had been dating long distance about nine months.  He had told me that he had a daughter from a previous marriage, but explained that until we were both certain that the relationship would move forward, he did not want me to meet his daughter.  I found this to be an incredibly mature decision that required a great deal of logic, empathy, compassion and love for his daughter.  His daughter and I connected quickly and played for hours, slowly bonding and getting to know one another.  

In my opinion, it is very important when you are entering into a romantic relationship and the person you are dating is a parent, that you realize you are not just dating him or her, you are also dating his or her child.  I don’t mean you are dating the child in a romantic way, but rather, you are making sure that not only could you be this person’s spouse, but you could also be your spouse’s child’s parent.  It is important to note for yourself if you have a bond with the child and if you are willing to make the commitment to develop that bond with the child.  

One thing that my husband and I do well, most of the time (no one is perfect), is communicate.  When it comes to blending a family, communication is key, especially when the family begins to expand with new children.  Communicating concerns, issues and feelings with your partner regarding balancing attention, time and experiences with each child is at the core of having a functional blended family.  The reason we are able to communicate freely is because we dedicate at least one night a month to just being with each other.  We ensure that for at least one night he and I do something together on our own.  This at least once a month date has helped us to keep a healthy, dynamic and loving relationship.  It allows us to set aside time to focus on our relationship and build it even stronger.

James H. Bray, PhD, of the Baylor College of Medicine stated, “These parents formed a solid, committed partnership so they could not only nurture their marriage, but effectively raise their children.  They didn’t get stuck in unrealistic expectations of what family should be like.”  (http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/stepfamily.aspx)   Every family is different, and no one can write a book on parenting that will be effective for every situation.  Developing a blended family really requires rolling with it and learning to accept that when a child is not spending the majority of their time with you, he or she will not be able to meet the expectations you may have for children that do live with you full time.  Nothing is perfect in life, but if you work at the things you are not so good at, you get better at them.

For me, the hardest part about being part of a blended family was hearing my daughter refer to her step-dad as daddy.  This was hard for me to swallow because my husband is an amazing father.  I came to his defense and actually allowed myself to get upset by it.  As I matured further and came to understand the full dynamics of a blended family, I realized that even though my husband was an amazing father, she knew two fathers because she could not be with us all the time and, in fact, she spent the majority of time outside of our household.  It is important as a step-parent to remove yourself from the situation, look at the whole picture, and allow yourself to evolve and become open to the child’s perspective.  I realized that I couldn’t look at my daughter’s life from my eyes, but rather, I had to start seeing the environment we provided for her from her eyes.  This is extremely important when you are raising a child and have missed out on some key time in his or her life.  Starting to look at the world through her eyes made me realize adults create barriers with the words step-parent.  The reality is, blended families create three to four parents for a child, and two households with separate rules, ideals, expectations and lifestyles.    Communication, empathy, listening and understanding are all key in ensuring that expectations are realistic and that the blended family is mixed well and no one feels isolated or left out.

When I spoke to my daughter about the hardest adjustments for her living in a blended household, it wasn’t when I came into her life and dated and eventually married her dad, but it was when her first sibling in our household was born.  After nine years of being an only child in our household, she remembers becoming jealous when her brother was born.  In a child’s eyes, they don’t clue into the sleep you deprived yourself of so that you could play a board game with them, or the work you put off so that you could play with them.  They remember when you had to hold the baby and couldn’t give them attention.  There is really no remedy that I could find for this.  When parents have a new infant, the infant is helpless and requires the majority of attention from the parents.  My husband and I both communicated with our daughter and tried to explain that we would give her as much time and attention as we could, but that babies needed the attention and assistance so that they could thrive.  As she grew older, she grasped an understanding, but the only thing we could do was communicate with her.  It is important to know that you will not be able to fix all negative feelings, but if you communicate the whys, children mature and begin to understand that you were doing the best you could for them at the time.

Another important thing about being in a blended family is knowing that it is okay that as a step-parent the bond you have with your biological child(ren) is different than the bond you have with the child(ren) you chose to marry as yours.  When you are with a child from birth, you know everything about them and have been a familiar and loving encounter from the first moment he or she came into the world.  When you choose to become a parent in a child’s life and have not had the privilege of the intimacy from birth, there is a piece of that relationship that is missing, so it will be a different bond.  It is substantial to note that you both chose each other, though, and you continue to choose each other every day.  

In summary, do not expect perfection, but rather, keep your mind and heart open to the child you are essentially adopting into your life, and ride the waves wherever they may take you.  Make communication with your spouse and all children a priority, and learn that you will make mistakes, but that you can take those mistakes, evolve into a better person and parent because of them, and allow yourself to grow into the parent you want to be for all of your children.

 

Finding You After Becoming Mommy

First and foremost, it is important to note that I am not a psychologist or doctor, and that this is documentation only of my journey as a parent. This is a series that I hope will assist any other parents out there with concerns or questions they might have. The Essential Mommy Guide Series will be a collection of posts with different adversities and opportunities I encountered beginning with the birth of my first child and continuing with the birth of a second child and expanding our family by acquiring custody of our oldest daughter.

Essential Mommy Series: Finding You Again After Becoming Mommy

Birth of my son

Leading up to my son’s birth, I tried to read several books about what to expect and how to care for your newborn.  Being in the military, and as a first time mom, they have a wonderful program in which a nurse comes to your house to aid with understanding your pregnancy and then assisting with any questions or concerns you may have up until your child turns 6 months old.  I fully appreciated the program and took full advantage of it for my son, but I neglected to turn any of the focus onto myself.  

The nurse was very attentive and asked after I gave birth to Alex if I was experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression (link brings you to mayoclinic).  I truly did not experience anything beyond the typical baby blues, but I did begin to notice something nagging at me.  I was faced with the decision to go back to work or to stay home and raise my child.  Establishing a career had gone out the window when my husband received orders to Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Prior to that I had worked at the IRS and was on a path to climbing the GS ladder.  I was unable to continue my career in the IRS because there were no IRS jobs in the area of Florida we had moved to.  The area thrived on tourism, so most jobs were lower paying customer service jobs.  I applied for several jobs on base, but was unable to secure any job on base.  I ended up getting a job as tech support for a company, but the pay was not enough to make going to work worth it.  I chose to stay home and raise my son in lieu of working to pay for someone else to raise him.

This would be the first time since I was eighteen that I would not have a full time job, and the first time since I was thirteen that I would not have the means of supporting myself financially in some way.  I began to feel lost, like I was falling down a rabbit hole and wasn’t sure where it was going to take me.  My only duty in life was to be Mommy, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.  

Since moving out of my parents’ house at the age of nineteen and living out on my own, I had never experienced having to rely completely on someone else for my means of survival.  My husband is very reliable and loving and never made any indication that I was an added burden, this was the experience that I encountered inside of my mind and heart. I had judged my self worth by my accomplishments at work and my ability to support myself.  To add to the fact that I no longer understood how to measure my self worth, I also struggled with my self esteem.  Things that had once come so easily to me were now a daily battle.  Working out and doing my best to be healthy are things that I have strived for since I graduated from eighth grade and made a commitment to being fit.  I was the heaviest I had been since eighth grade, and it was affecting my self esteem.  

One realization was that being Mommy was the hardest job I had ever had.  My son and sleep were not friends.  For naps, I was walking and singing to him for nearly forty-five minutes so that I could get him to take a 30 minute nap.  I very seldom was able to slip away to use the restroom, and sometimes being able to make breakfast or lunch just didn’t happen.  When Alex, my son, was about three months old, is when I really started to lose my bearings inside the rabbit hole.  I worked hard to make sure Alex and my husband were well taken care of, because that had become my job.  The problem was, I neglected to take care of myself and find the time to get reacquainted with the new version of me in this phase of my life.  It was during this time that my husband went TDY for NCO Academy at Tyndall AFB.  

With my husband away, I went into a negative spiral and one day called and lost it on him.  That was my low point, but he was a saint as always and the conversation ended on a high note.  That next day, I read something that altered my entire perspective.  My cousin, Rosemary Barrow, a Cross Fit athlete and personal trainer in Oregon, posted an article on Facebook the day after I hit my low point and it started me down the path I needed to be on.  This was the article I read, Positively Positive, and I used it as a guide.  I printed it out and stapled it to the wall in my room so that I would see it every day and it would remind me that my life is in my control.

My perspective was the major problem, and I acknowledged that first.  I knew that I had to stop looking at my life with the eyes from my past and start looking at my life with my Mommy eyes.  I could no longer measure my worth by accomplishments and pay checks, but I could measure it by something way more meaningful.  I realized that every time my child smiled or did something new or learned something new, I was a part of that and the tummy time, story times, play time and interactions I had with him were making him into the incredible person I witnessed and continue to witness him growing into.

I was so focused on what I could no longer do that I lost sight of who I wanted to be.  I made the commitment to be the best me I could be, which meant I would strive to also be the best mom and wife I could be.  This became my new every day goal.

My inclination to continue looking at myself as a failure because I could not contribute to the household the way I used to affected my ability to be positive and productive.  I shifted my attention from being a financial contributor to being a contributor of love, support, and household duties.  I became more productive and positive in my role as Mommy, wife and household maintainer.

My energy had been negative because of my inability to see how important my new role was in my family.  When I switched my perspective and realized I needed to make the change and acknowledge how important my role is, I concentrated all of my energy into positive light.  That change opened a gateway for me to start challenging myself by exploring things I had never done before.

I looked up events in my area and started attending library story times.  I was invited to join a mommy group and pushed myself to go, no  matter how uncomfortable I was stepping into a group where I had only one acquaintance.  I started becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable in situations I was not used to.  This was the first time in my life I had to build my own routine.  After I acknowledged that I had to shed the skin of my past views and measurements of myself, I started working on the new me I wanted to be.

My role as Mommy was my top priority, but I also realized that I had to include some things for myself as part of the daily routine.  In the morning, right around the time Alex normally started to get tired for his morning nap, I went to a walking path in our area, would put him in the stroller and would walk at a moderate pace for as long as he would sleep because it was the only time he would fall asleep without a struggle.  I got my exercise in, some peace and quiet, and both of us got fresh air and some nature time.  

I started taking Alex to library story times, which gave both of us some social time.  Through the library story times, I met another mom who created a mommy group.  I joined the mommy group, and play dates, library story times, park meet ups and walks became a large part of our routine.  The mommy group was definitely the best thing that could have happened to Alex and I.  I gained some amazing friends, experiences and life lessons that have helped mold me into the mommy and person I am today.  The greatest assets and resources we have as new moms and moms in new areas, are other moms, dads and parents.

Life has several chapters, each one of them is different and shapes the character you ultimately become, but if you come across the chapter where you become Mommy, be sure to take the time to find you again in your new role as Mommy.

 

 

 

Family Unplugged

My husband and I always try to find ways to cut waste out of our lives and keep things simple and basic.  For the last three years, we have lived without cable television services and have saved a noticeable amount of money as well as gained peace of mind concerning our children and television.  We bought an Apple TV and Kindle Fire TV.  We have movies and TV shows that we previously purchased on the iTunes store, so it made sense for us to have both TVs.  We subscribe to Hulu Limited, Netflix 2 Screen + HD, Netflix 1 DVD disc Unlimited, and Amazon Prime.  Our total monthly bill for our television services is $32.22 per month, a total of 386.64 per year.  Not a single person in our household misses cable television.  My husband does wish that the NFL would sell a streaming service, even if it was just the Red Zone channel, and I wish Disney would sell their app for Disney Junior as a streaming service, but other than that, we do not feel that we are missing out on anything.

Financial savings is not the only reason we made the decision to unplug from cable services.  With streaming services, there are limited to no commercials, and you have better control over what your children are allowed to watch and when.  We have several educational, award winning shows at our fingertips to turn on for our children when we allow them to watch television.  Some of these shows include, but are not limited to: Tumbleweed and Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime, Little Einsteins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Octonauts on Netflix, Wild Kratts, Word World and Sesame Street on Hulu.  Having these shows available at the time that we are allowing our toddler and 4 year old to watch television has made the experience of television more enriching.  Our thirteen year old enjoys the streaming service because she has had the opportunity to catch up on shows such as Dr. Who, Supernatural and Once Upon a Time.  My husband and I have been able to stay up to date with the Marvel cinematic universe through Shield, Dare Devil, Agent Carter, and Jessica Jones.  We are able to enjoy shows from the Food Network such as Good Eats, and were avid follower of the Daily Show.  The services we utilize have not left us wanting for anything except football (my husband misses this the most, but he goes out to watch his Eagles if we can’t pick the game up on our antenna). With cable or satellite, unless you have DVRed the shows, you are forced to watch what the networks are airing at that particular time. As opposed to paying for a service that supplies hundreds of channels that are never playing anything that interests us, we can select from thousands of shows on Netflix and Amazon, and stay current on shows we follow through Hulu.

There is also an app, for those who really enjoy the live television feed, called Sling Television.  This app, from reviews on Amazon, appears to work decently, though bugs are still being worked out, and allows users to stream ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family, CNN, El Rey, Galavision, Makers, IFC, A&E, HISTORY, H2, Lifetime, Polaris+ and Bloomberg TV.  There are also  packages that can be added on for an additional $5 per month per package. Depending on the networks you typically watch, this could be a huge savings compared to what current cable packages cost.  I have personally not used this app because we have grown to used to being able to select the shows we would like to see, and cannot vouch for it, but it is an alternative for those of you out there who have not switched because you enjoy live TV.

Below, I have broken down the cost based on two years of service with streaming and with cable/satellite services.  In my opinion, online television is a much better value than cable or satellite, but this is information for you to look at and decide for yourself.

Please note:  *Data shown below is over a two year period. Some cable companies did not provide information on what prices would be after a 1 year contract, so those prices were kept the same for both years. I based this on two years because some of the cable/satellite companies required a two year contract to receive discounted prices.  Equipment costs were hidden and difficult to find with most cable/satellite companies, but I included what I was able to find. Installation and start up fees are not included in calculations for Cable/Satellite companies. Monthly internet fee not included for prices with streaming services as that cost greatly varies.  If you are new to streaming services, you will have an out of pocket cost for streaming equipment if you do not already have a smart TV, a Playstation, X-Box, Wii, etc.  The Amazon Fire runs around $99.99 and if you are going to get Prime, is the most cost effective purchase. Prices valid as of 12/04/2015 as advertised online at official sites for companies listed.

CableStream

Serviceinfo

For those of you who have been tinkering with the idea of looking into streaming services, if you are not using Dish, the financial savings are incredible.  I was pleased to see that there was one cable company that was reasonably priced in comparison to streaming.  I have never received a bill from Dish, so if they do have hidden costs and fees, I am unaware of them.  For a more thorough breakdown of what I was comparing, please click on PriceBreakdown.

The most incredible information I came across was that even though cable and satellite subscriber numbers have been dropping, the revenue of cable and satellite providers has been growing.  I wonder if hidden fees have grown, or if subscribers even know how much they are paying after their first year in contract because most of the cable and satellite companies require auto payment set up to receive the discounted rates advertised.  There are no hidden fees or additional costs for online television, you pay the monthly cost and that is it.  The only additional cost that is not included is the monthly fee for internet service.

In summary, if you are interested in unplugging and have been hesitant, I hope that I have supplied you with enough information to consider taking the plunge.  Please feel free to ask me any questions about streaming services.  I am not an affiliate of any of the above services, and am not receiving any compensation from anyone for this article.  I just wanted to put this information out there so people could see the differences and ask any lingering questions they may have.  For those of you who have already unplugged, I believe we are the pioneers of the television of tomorrow and it is only a matter of time before networks will take the steps that CBS, Showtime and HBO already have, in selling streaming apps for their networks that don’t require a cable subscription.