Last May I set a challenge for myself. I was participating in a 31 days of yoga challenge and, I won’t lie, not many people thought I could do it. But I did. I did 28 out of those 31 days. I had to hire a babysitter and beg, borrow and steal time away from my children to do it but I did it.
I felt great.
During the same month I set a couple other challenges: I gave up sugar, ate minimal bread products, greatly reduced my caffeine intake. I even weaned the baby that month.
All of that was easy-peasy compared to the one challenge I failed at miserably: giving up my phone.
That advertisement above? The one with the family each staring at their own devices? That’s kind of my biggest fear. Except, I’m the one staring at my device.
I’m the one who is modelling that for my children.
I will admit to having a love/hate relationship with my phone. I love to take photos and the camera on it is both more convenient and better than my non-phone camera. I enjoy posting those photos and reading the comments. I like to check in with friends and text the Mister to make sure he gets a couple good LOLs throughout his day. I know it makes him feel connected to his family while he is at work. I enjoy the freedom of being able to read on my phone.
But it’s too much. My face is attached to it all the time. I go to check the time and end up checking my email at the same time. Maybe I will send off a quick text to a friend that turns into a discuss about (essentially) nothing. One thing turns into a dozen – none of which were necessary or important.
I’m not even sure how to break the cycle but I know I need to – I know I owe it to my girls to be more present in their lives.
I won’t lie, last year was a long hard year. Having three children ages 5 and under was probably the biggest challenge I have had to face in life thus-far. Especially when one of those was a non-stop nursing baby and another one was an miserable tantrumy 3-year old.
Plus the winter was seemingly never-ending and I had to walk the kids to school every day up hill in a snowstorm both ways in bare feet whine whine whine. I know, we all have hard lives sometimes. However, my coping mechanism was to escape and read stories on my phone. Once the noise and the whining pick up I would reach for my phone so my brain could go to it’s happy place – which is far far away.
Life is so much better these days. That baby is now a hilarious toddler (who is now entering her tantrum phase – why do I get such tantrumy girls?) The 3-year old is now a 4-year who happily goes to preschool and is almost a different person than this time last year. The 5-year old is now a 6-year old in grade one and is out of the house all day long, I actually miss her these days. It’s great!
My coping mechanisms need to change. Even if this winter turns out to be another hard one (we’ve already had our first snow storm) I don’t need to let it beat me. Life is too precious and I have too many more interesting and important things to do than have my face glued to my phone all the time.
So I’m turning it off again. I will have to dig out my watch and get a clock in the bedroom so I’m not reaching for it in the middle of the night as both clock and flashlight when I have to go hunt for someone’s soothie under her crib. I’ll have to pull out the regular camera and re-learn how to use it.
I’m thinking of locking the phone in the car and not having it in the house at all.
It’s going to be really hard.
My kids are going to love it.
Question: How much time do you spend on your phone? Have you had to break this habit and do you have any advice for the withdrawal symptoms I’m inevitably going to face?