A Technology Limited Life Filled With Meaningful Connection
The moment I knew I was part of the problem was at my sons T-ball practice. There was an array of parents glued to their phones only looking up to take a picture or shout a few criticisms from the sidelines. That time I had a book to read but just as many other times I too would be sitting there “multi-tasking” as many of us prefer to call it. Because I had a book, the draw to be distracted from the practice was minimal and gave me the chance to gain some much needed perspective.
Meanwhile these little boy eyes were constantly checking to see if their parents saw that catch or smack of the ball off the tee directly between second and third base. Once they realize nobody is watching they carry on, but you can see their hearts sink. Sure it was only a practice, not even a game, I could tell myself it’s not even important to give it my full attention. However I sadly realized that too often we are missing 90% of our kids best because we are too absorbed in the tiny computer in our hand. Some of the most wonderful moments of parenthood are the ordinary ones, the memories we are most easily distracted from as parents are likely some of your favorite memories as a kid. Our kids look up from these moments that will become memories and we aren’t even watching.
This wake up call along with attending my local Homeschool Conference in May had given me all the perspective I needed. It was time for me to be a more fun mom and technology was one of the triggers sucking the fun right out of me. So when I heard about the chance to be involved in the 7 Day Technology Detox I was all in. I knew it would be tough but when you want to overcome something bad enough, you do it!
What did I miss during The Technology Detox?
I did miss my friends! There are many new friendships I have developed online and also keeping up on old friendships that may be impossible to keep up on without the powers of the internet. There is nothing wrong with maintaining these bonds we have with real people online. As a Homeschool Mom the fact that I can connect and gain encouragement with other Moms during the week through social media is incredible.
The gorgeous, Summer week I started the detox all of my kids got sick, not very good timing! Not only were we shut inside the house with our germs, I was also lonely from not getting to see friends I would have otherwise seen that week if my kids had been healthy. During times like this social media has been a lifesaver for me. Times I cannot get out of the house for adult conversation, being connected with other moms has been so wonderful for me!
I decided to do my “screen free” day on Father’s Day thinking that would give me the chance to focus on my husband and make the day a really special one. I failed to remember that his favorite way to relax on Father’s Day is to spend the afternoon after church napping and watching TV. Totally fine however this left me screen free for hours that afternoon, outside with my kids in the hot sun while they ran around with squirt guns, with no one to talk to! By the time he emerged from his Father’s Day slumber I was ready to talk to my poor husband non-stop the rest of the night.
What’s to gain by taking the detox?
Craving Real Life Connection
During the detox I found myself craving connection within my own family that was unlike anything I have felt in a long time. We have all been given this need to connect with others! When I chose to connect through technology, I had satisfied this craving to connect often before even seeing my kids in the morning. The mornings I left social media alone until after breakfast I found myself talking with my kids in the morning more than I did before. When I limited my technology time to an hour in the afternoon I found myself looking extremely forward to my husband arriving home from work. My craving to connect was at an all time high instead of spent on social media newsfeeds.
Time Management Skills
Have you ever tried listening to a song or playing a song on the piano only to be interrupted every measure by an urgent news article, or to stop to open a letter or look through your friends picture album? It’d be pretty maddening wouldn’t it? In this current time, nearly everything we do is done with this level of distraction. I had no idea how refreshing it would be to set aside time just for technology use and leave the other hours of my day to get something done, start to finish. To bake a cake, read a book, go for a walk or even watch a show without the distraction of my phone. We don’t even watch movies with our full attention anymore!
On day one of the detox, I created my guidelines to allowed myself 3 sections of time each day: 15 minutes in the morning, 1 hour in the afternoon during my toddlers na hours at night. As a blogger I thought this wouldn’t be nearly enough time to write and accomplish the other things I had to get done online for our family but instead it did the opposite. It actually gave me more time because when I sat down to accomplish something I was fully devoted to it. When I sat down to write, I wrote. When I paid bills, I just paid bills. When I made my homeschool booklist, that is all I did. When I checked Facebook, I only did that. One thing at a time, done well with a focused frame of mind.
More Care For Myself
As Moms we have the tendency to say we don’t have time to do anything for ourselves. As a Mother of four children I’d agree that there are a lot of things I simply cannot do for myself right now, it’s a phase of life I am in that is temporary and I’m okay with that. When I cast technology aside what I learned is that I had more time to care for my needs than I thought, however I’ve been wasting too much time on the connections that do not satisfy my families needs or my own. When I limited how much time I spent on social media I had far more time than I realized to do things for myself that truly allow me to relax like reading a book, taking a nap or watching a good show with my undivided attention. It was glorious!
Becoming a Fun Parent
As parents if you can learn to be the parent that puts your phone down, you’ll be the fun parent, hands down. We all had parents that we thought were cool as kids and our generation of littles will probably just be thankful for some eye contact and meaningful conversation. Sad but true, it’s never been easier to be the fun and awesome parent. I am not the Mom that plays with my kids every minute of the day but I do want to have meaningful moments of connection with my kids throughout our day. I want them to look back on our family and be glad I was their Mom. I see this was a good place to start!
Overall the wins so far outweighed any of what I missed by limiting my use of social media and technology.
Technology isn’t going anywhere, but someday my kids will be heading off to college or getting married.
In a moment like that there is a chance you will resent that tiny computer in your hand.
Let’s figure out a way to manage it! Take The Technology Detox !
What would you be glad to see changed by giving up technology?