A few days ago, I was nursing my son, Judah, while browsing online—then all of a sudden, he slowly put his hand to my cheek and moved my face towards him. I was smack dab staring into my sweet boy’s eyes, and quickly realized that I was missing out on a moment that is fleeting—a moment that I fought so hard for 17 months ago.
In my head I know I should cherish every ounce of time with Judah and Joel because I’m not guaranteed any of it. So why do I dive deep into my phone at the first moment of silence and allow a device notorious for wasting time to hijack a nursing session with my son or date night with my husband?
I was one of the stubborn few who refused to get a smartphone until this year. My reason was simple: I know myself. I knew that having so much information at my fingertips would be tempting, and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let myself get out of control. However, when I noticed myself grabbing it during movie night or pulling up my email while I was strolling Judah around the neighborhood, I knew something needed to change. So I narrowed it down to three things that have really helped me focus my time when I’m with my family.
- Leave the phone at the door. I turn on the sound, so I’ll know if something is an emergency, but for the most part, I leave my phone on a charging station and try not to look at it until after 7 pm. Here are a few of my favorites I found online:
- Take a couple pictures, but enjoy the moment. I feel like this is a big one that I am slowly getting better at doing. When something great is happening with Judah or with Joel and Judah, my first instinct is to pull out my phone to get the perfect Instagram-worthy shot, so I’ll never forget it. But what I miss is the actual moment. So instead, I allow myself to take one or two pictures, but then I put my phone up. If I captured it, great; if not, then at least I know that I was present in the moment—plus, my memory deserves more credit than I give it.
- Listen to my child. I came to realize that most of the times that Judah acted out consistently were when I was on my phone. As I started putting my phone down at the first sign of fussiness, I noticed that all he really wanted was my attention. He can’t really communicate well yet, but if he could, I feel like he would be saying, “Mom, put down the phone and watch me throw this ball a thousand more times!” And I’m happy to do it—facebook can wait.
What are some ways you stay unplugged when you’re with your family?
This post is a part of our Red Stick Moms Blog CONNECTS series for the 2013 Holiday Season. We hope you will join us as we aim to connect with our kids, our friends and family, and our community. Read more about it here.