How “Logging Out” Helps Me Be a Better Mom

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344 times per day. Once every 4 minutes.

That’s how often the average person checks their phone. I feel like I’m on my phone quite a bit, but even I was shocked at those numbers! 

I’m a homeschool mom, on top of being a regular ol’ stay-at-home mom. That means my kids are with me twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. I spend the bulk of my day conversing with four little people ages six and under. Despite them being hilarious tiny humans, sometimes I still crave additional interaction with other adults. Cut scene to me logging into Facebook or Instagram to scroll mindlessly and get a quick dopamine hit. Next, I might hop over to the 90-Day Fiance subreddit to see what craziness Jasmine and Gino are up to now, or watch whatever funny clip my husband just sent me on TikTok. 

My phone doesn’t just serve as entertainment, but also as: a dictionary, thermometer, camera, communication device, an encyclopedia, a map, a stereo; the list goes on and on. It’s not an exaggeration to say we turn to our phones to solve almost every question or problem we encounter during our day. 

Those add up to a lot of opportunities for my children to see their mom with her face glued to a screen. 

A month ago, my family and I were planning on taking a road trip up to Minnesota to visit some family. The day before we left, my phone completely crashed and wouldn’t turn on at all. We didn’t have time to get it fixed or replaced before we left, so I decided I’d just be phone-less for a few days until we returned home and could figure it out.

I was without a cell phone for FIVE days, and guess what?

I didn’t die. I didn’t even really miss it. In fact, I kind of *loved* it. 

It was SO freeing to be without this huge distraction in my daily life. I wasn’t worried about capturing every moment on camera, and I was more focused on genuinely enjoying my time with my family. I learned that I didn’t need to Google every single question that crossed my mind every minute of the day. I could just…wonder…and then let it go? It sounds silly, but it’s true. Not everything needs to be examined and checked out, or immediately Googled. Sometimes we can just use our noggins to figure things out, other times we can just be okay without knowing if Ariana Grande’s hair is a clip-on, or maybe even open up an heirloom cookbook to find a family recipe instead of finding one written by a stranger on the web. 

I found that I had way more patience with my kids. I felt more at peace and less over-stimulated. Sometimes I wished I had my camera, but I realized that one day we’ll have more photos to look at than time to look at them, and it made me be more selective with what I wanted to capture. 

We returned from our trip and I got a new phone. Honestly, I’m still a little bummed about it. I know it’s not practical for a mother to not have a phone on her these days, but I do sometimes wish I’d gotten a flip phone, or something less tempting than a smartphone.

I have slowly but surely slipped back into my old habits, and that discontented feeling is creeping in again.

This time, I want to be proactive and catch it while I’m ahead – so I’ve decided to actively monitor myself and be more cognizant of how I’m spending my time. I want my kids to see me reaching for a book more often than my iPhone. I’d like to cheerfully engage in conversations with my kids, rather than be irritated that they’re interrupting my “me time” while I read an article or Google something unimportant.

Because at the end of the day, no faux “community” that can fit in my back pocket can replace the relationships I’m fostering with my family – and no Facebook post is more worthy of my time or attention than my kids.

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