Late to the smart phone game, I didn’t have one when my first son was born eight years ago. He got my undivided attention. I didn’t even have a camera on my phone to distract me. Now, on my fourth child who is approaching her second birthday, I’m wrought with regret. For years I’ve known how much I dislike my smart phone. But it’s an addiction. I needed it to take pictures. I had to have it in case someone texted me. What if I got lost or locked out? I knew it was a distraction, but I didn’t realize quite how much. I didn’t realize how much it was taking me away from. How much of myself, and others, I’d lost.
Then one day I just put it down. I put it in a box. I had the volume on, set to a specific ring tone (I told you I’m slow to this) if it was certain people who would need me in case of an emergency. I only checked it at specific times throughout the day.
I’m so grateful for the things that happened once I put my phone down:
I read more. I read more books than I’d probably read in the last five years cumulatively. I read books that helped inspire me to focus on who I want to be, how to be the mom I challenge myself to be, how to be in the moment, and how to love, live, travel, and laugh.
I saw the things I’d have otherwise missed. I truly engaged with my kids. I saw every nuance. I added “heart open” to the expression “hands free.” Rather than watching my friends’ kids grow up while scrolling through social media, I watched my own. I didn’t want to take their precious childhood for granted one second longer.
I felt the snuggles. I sat on the couch and watched the 30-minute show I probably would have tuned out and I felt my child shiver at a scary part, saw his lip quiver at an emotional part, and saw that glean of laughter in his innocent eyes. I rocked my baby girl longer before her nap. I slowed down.
I wrote. I wrote blog articles, magazine articles (to hopefully submit one of these days), book ideas, letters to my children, journal entries, and memory logs.
I sorted pictures. A constant battle for me, I finally made more photo books, got newer photos in the frames, and relished in reliving our cherished memories.
I worked out. I regained my strength, some of my speed (lol), and challenged myself in ways I hadn’t in years. In many ways this was how I found myself again.
I connected with people. By reducing my time simply scrolling and mindlessly “liking” posts on social media, I had actual one-on-one conversations. I caught up with old friends and reached out to family I hadn’t heard from in awhile. Our interactions feel much more intentional now.
I slept more. Without late night check-ins on social media or random late night texting with friends, I grabbed a book and went to bed. Although I do still get awoken several times a night, I was at least getting more sleep than previously and woke up more energized.
I taught. I didn’t just go through the motions; I carefully planned our school days and lessons. I read books aloud with intention and passion. I experienced the stories and learned alongside my children.
I reexamined my goals and priorities. I’m more focused and ready to head into the new year. I’m more focused in general.
I was present. I made sure my kids and husband knew that nothing was more important to me. Words are words, actions are actions. They saw a phone in my hand even when my words were that I was listening. They saw a phone in my hand even when I said I wanted to play with them.