This concept is difficult for me; especially with my children. Perfect example from the other day. My oldest had left for preschool and my youngest wanted me to play. I figured 10 minutes of playtime with him wouldn’t be an issue, he isn’t used to being alone to play. During that 10 minutes he wanted to play with cars and trains (I’m still learning to play how boys play there is a lot of crashing involved) and the whole time I couldn’t help but think of what else I wanted to do immediately after, how I could be folding their clothes and putting them away while I was in that room playing, basically everything else but the game we were playing. I realized that what I was doing took away the connection I was trying to build with my son because I wasn’t present. I decided to play longer than the 10 minutes and after I finally gave him my full attention when I did go to mop, he was happy to let me go didn’t beg for me to stay and keep playing. I was happy to have taken the time to make that happen.
This made me ponder my cell phone goal for this year. I have decided to keep my cell phone in the kitchen with a simple charging station instead of by my bedside. I did this for several reasons, first being my husband and I had discussed when our children get older we wanted a family charging station there would be no phones in their bedroom and I realized why wait 10 years for that habit, why not start now? I don’t use my phone as an alarm, although if I went to the bathroom at 4a and if I had the slightest issue with falling asleep again I instantly would get on my phone. Second, at night the last thing my husband and I did before going to bed was checking our phones and for nothing that was especially important. It kept us from being present with one another.
Since sharing this I had several people ask about if I recieved an emergency call how wouldn’t I hear my phone? My answer? I keep the volume up on my phone at night and my kitchen is maybe 15 feet away from my room, if I can hear my kids crying on the other side of the house without a monitor I’m confident that I can hear my phone at night. The point is for me that to keep my phone next to my bed for the simple possibility of the rare call then I felt I was holding myself back from being in the moment where it counted.
Last year I wanted to instill in myself to put my phone down I didn’t need it in my hand constantly, it was difficult! I kept checking my phone where it was just for the possibility of some notification, now it’s easier. My kids would bring me my phone a lot when I didn’t have it then and it made me realize how much I did have it on me! It’s made me laugh and just try to stay committed. Could I have drowned myself in mom guilt (aka mommy shame really) about that? YES. I didn’t let myself go there because even though I made some mistakes, I was trying to change and that is what was important.
My conclusion lately from constantly thinking of what to do next and realizing I’m not as ‘in the moment’ as I would like has strengthened my resolve to get rid of my need for my phone and to practice just being where I am. I do think that I can get caught up in the need for instant everything (that’s the generation I’ve grown up in with technology) which is probably why I’m terrible at gardening. Something I’d like to learn sometime this year (not a current goal I have enough now) is to meditate for 10 minutes. I have thoughts moving through my mind constantly! It would amaze me to learn to have the control to empty my mind for just 10 minutes; this small task seems like a mountain right now and I have enough on my plate but I will get there.
My challenge to you is to be self aware of when you plug into something, what are you thinking about? How often do you have face time in person? How close do you have your phone next to you throughout the day? Do you have any boundaries for your phone?
I’d love to hear your answers!
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