I confess, I’ve been glued to my phone lately. Way worse than normal. With the frontier of the pandemic landscape changing everyday, it’s compelled me to stay up date with the latest information or so I tell myself.
But the other day was an eye opener. I had just read something about the latest stats on COVID and was getting ready to share it with my spouse. As I started to speak, I looked up and found three reflections of myself. Husband, son, and daughter, all of us sitting together in the same room wholly disconnected from each other.
The situation wasn’t dramatic but nonetheless, it woke me up to the reality I was on my phone way too much. As moms, we are the heart of the home. We set the example, we set the tone; even in a world that’s turned itself outside in with social distancing and COVID-19.
My need to disconnect from reality through the virtual vortex was creating the worst example for my kids. As I sit here, curled up on my couch, phone in hand, scrolling away, says this to my children:
- I’d rather be distracted then pay attention to you.
- It’s okay to let a little rectangle run my life.
- Alerts take precedence over you.
And the result? Distracted children. As distracted parenting becomes more widespread, children seem to have accepted this lack of attention by being equally distracted on their own devices.
When we make no time and space for our children and constantly ignore their existence, it doesn’t contribute to nurturing a deep and meaningful relationship.
We Don’t Need Distraction – We Need Soul Filled Interaction
But here’s the thing, we don’t need to escape our reality. We need spiritual vitality. That feeling you feel when the world is quiet, when everything stops, when you are fully present—that is the God sized shape in your soul that is meant to be filled by God. Inside each of us is a God-shaped hole…a place inside of our hearts that only God can fill. We fill this when we saturate ourselves in his presence, when we take our anxieties, our stressors, and everything else to Him. We fill this void by digesting his Word on the daily.
Are you scared about what’s going on with the world?
Is it because of social distancing and COVID?
Maybe deep down you scroll to look at other women’s lives because you question if you are enough.
Or maybe you scroll to escape how you feel about yourself.
Whatever the reason, we don’t need distraction, we soul filled interaction.
Phones are tools. They don’t own us. They don’t run our lives. We have set boundaries and manage them well so they don’t negatively impact us and our families. After that moment when I looked up to see all of us gorging on our devices, I took drastic measures. My phone is no longer my companion. It doesn’t sit in my hand or beckon me from my back pocket.
Gone are the days of being together, yet so far apart. Gone are the days of distracted living. News, social media, Voxer, and updates about living through this pandemic can wait. Real relationships trump virtual relationships every time. If you’re ready to make this change too, here are four ways to keep everyone’s devices where they belong—as tools with set boundaries.
3 Ways To Put Your Phone Down Right Now
Turn Off Notifications
You know that excited, jumpy feeling you get when you hear your phone chime? That’s dopamine. God created our brains with this amazing chemical to encourage us toward things that are pleasurable and rewarding. And it’s also the reason we get addicted to our phones. So when your phone buzzes, the hopeful surge you feel rushing through your brain is telling you, “You need to check this now.”
Lots of things stimulate dopamine. Hugs from a loved one, your favorite dessert, and even music. But when your brain is wiring itself to the chime of your phone, it’s time to turn off those notifications.
If you don’t feel the vibration of your phone or the sound of the notifications from texts, email, and social media platforms, dopamine loses its power.
It’s time to be honest with yourself. Do you really have to read about every post, message, or tweet right now? When you think about it, I bet you’ll realize that most of them (maybe even all?) aren’t exactly urgent. Do you know what is urgent? Your family. Time spent with them.
Create “no phone” zones
Rather than have my phone in my hand, all phones get docked in the office. Rather than create a schedule of when I can and can’t have my phone, it’s in a central location for phone calls, and schedule reminders.
Phones are not allowed in the family room, kitchen, at the table, and bedrooms because these locations are where we spend the majority of our time. This is where we grow, interact, live, and make memories. This is the example I want my children to model when they have children.
Create a Docking Station
I found the best organizational docking station for our phones. It has enough room to hold all our tablets, iPads, phones and other Bluetooth devices. The best part is it can charge up to eight devices at once. And what’s even better, I can see at a glance who’s device isn’t docked.
Change isn’t easy but it’s worth it. The more time we’ve been away from our phones, the more I realize this time together and all the down time in between is a gift. Our kids deserve our attention. Our kids don’t benefit from distracted moms and dads. Our souls deserve to be filled with ordinary moments too. And the phone can wait. Our kids can’t.