Well recently, I have allowed myself to once again become aware of just how much of my life has become "plugged in" to my phone and social media. Over the last couple of weeks, I have started to realize that the guilt I've been feeling is really the Lord convicting me to "unplug" my life a little more and focus on the things that really matter a.k.a my daughter, my family, and my close friendships. And after watching this video yesterday that a friend of mine shared on her Facebook, I knew that it was time.
I have been praying for a way to help Emma get through this chapter in our lives, and I feel like the Lord is showing me that this could be one of the best ways for me to make her feel safe and secure when she is with me. I mean, how many times has Emma ran up to me in the kitchen to show me how perfect her "glass slippers" look with her angel costume or attempted to tell me a story, and I find myself only half listening because I'm texting someone or browsing Facebook for the 1,000th time that day? Too many. It's actually kind of embarrassing when I stop and allowing myself to think about it.
I believe that children feel the most secure when they have routine and when they are validated. As a parent, I have found that my daughter feels the most understood when I take the time to stop what I'm doing, look her in the face, and really listen to her. If I do this on particularly rough nights, I have found that really listening and asking the right questions can eliminate a tantrum within minutes. I have also found that when I make time to do an uninterrupted activity with her, she feels like I'm really paying attention to her and making the most of our short time together. I have especially noticed this during Emma's first night home from her dad's. If she feels like I am distracted in any way during that time, she acts out more, because that is just her way of trying to get my attention.
Listen, I know that all of you seasoned moms out there are probably rolling your eyes at me and thinking, "Well, duh!". But, I think that in today's society we have ten times the distractions that our mothers had, and it's so easy to get caught up in how unfocused we can become in our everyday lives. I don't know about you, but I don't want my daughter to remember me texting all the time or browsing Facebook while we watched a movie together. I don't want to miss out on the conversation about unicorns because I'm too busy pinning quotes on Pinterest or opt out of singing her a lullaby because my phone is ringing or dinging and that causes me to rush through her bedtime routine.
I want to be present in my daughter's life. Really, truly, 100% present. And I know that the only way to do that is to eliminate my dependency on my phone and social media. So, starting today, I am accepting the challenge to become an unplugged mom. Will you?
Can you imagine the revolution we would see in our children and in our homes if we were to turn off our cell phones for a few hours every night or if we took a hiatus from Facebook? I mean honestly, does it really make me a better mom because I post pictures of my kid every hour? No. And what do you think would happen in the lives of our children if our Pinterest boards went un-touched for weeks, because we were too busy actually doing some of those crafts we pinned to do with our kids or if we left our phones in the car while we were at the park with them? And how do you think our kids would feel if we took the time to silence our phones or turn them completely off during dinner?
You know, the real question is as simple as this:
What kind of kids would we be raising if we actually took the time to raise them?
I don't know about you, but when I actually let this question hit me smack in the face and really sink in, it was a profound moment for me.
I mean I get it, mothering/parenting is hard. It's really freaking hard. And I know that leaving my phone in the car while Emma and I are at the park doesn't mean she won't throw a fit when it's time to leave because she wants to stay, or that choosing to not be on Facebook while we eat dinner won't make her eat her food any faster. I'm not saying that "unplugging" my life is going to suddenly turn my daughter into the perfect child or me into the perfect mother. I'm sure that I'm still going to fail every single day. But, if doing this makes me try that much harder to be the mom I need to be-I want to be-then it's worth it. Completely worth it.
I also know that "unplugging" can mean something completely different to me than it does to you. For instance, you may not struggle with being on Facebook all the time (tell me your secrets, please!), or you may be married to your best friend, so you don't feel the need to text them all time. If that's you, I commend you! But, I think that our generation of mothers is definitely too distracted, and I think that because of that, you just need to target the things that are distracting you specifically. For me, it's Facebook and my iPhone.
So, here's my plan:
- I will be inactivating my Facebook tomorrow with the goal to go at least 30 days (hopefully longer!) without it.
- I have committed to not turning my phone on until at least 8:30 am on the days that I have Emma, including weekends.
- I have committed to turn my phone off (completely off!) between the hours of 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm (Emma's bedtime) on the nights she is at home with me.
I will be staying on Instagram as my way of keeping up with my family and friends, and I will be allowing myself to keep Pinterest, but I have committed to using it in moderation and basically only on the nights I don't have Emma. I am perfectly willing to discontinue both of them if they start to become a distraction in my life.
Do I think this will be easy? No. Not at all. In fact, I expect some form of detoxing to ensue. But, I feel as Emma's mom that this is the best thing I can do to help us get through this particular chapter of our lives.
What about you? Would you be willing to take the challenge with me to become an unplugged mom?
I hope so, because I really think I'm onto something here. Something that could actually transform me into the mother I not only want to be, but need to be.