A pile of laundry waits to be folded, dishes sprinkle the kitchen counter from a chaotic breakfast, and my toddler is throwing a tantrum because I told her no more juice. Instantly, my hands grasp for my phone in it’s pink case.
Without even thinking, I open to Facebook and begin to scroll. The chaos ensues around me and then I see the article. You know the one. In fact, you may be thinking this is one of those articles. The very well intended articles about how moms are too wrapped up in their phones.
Enter a truckload of guilt pouring over my already weary self. “I am such a bad mom,” the lies whisper to me.
With a sigh, I put down the phone and promise myself that I am going to start limiting phone time.
With a hopeful heart, I start limiting phone time. Nevertheless, a few days later, I am right back where I started, justifying with little, “I get it but…” statements as to why I need to be on my phone.
I am just so tired.
The kids never give me a moment to myself.
Sometimes I just need to escape the chaos of the present moment.
Sadly, all these excuses did were prove to my weary soul more then ever the need to put down the phone. That little glowing rectangle had a greater hold on my life than I ever realized before.
Many times, I think when we read the articles about putting down our phones or having less screen time, the guilt overwhelms us. We put down our phones for a few days because we feel like we are bad moms if we look at our phones. Guilt consumes but eventually old habits creep back in, just as they did with me.
Those little trusted devices find themselves in our clutches again, screens glowing, fingers scrolling.
And then we see another article and feel the guilt. It is an endless cycle.
As I have thought more and more about this, I have realized something.
I am not a bad mom because I look at my phone. The problem lies in the reasons why I am going to my phone.
The majority of the time, the mindless scrolling was an empty effort to escape. I cringe as I write this, because of the ugly selfish truth that it is? However, I do not think I am alone in this.
We scroll to escape the screaming toddler, the mounds of laundry, the unfulfilling job, the struggling marriage, the pile of bills. We scroll to escape reality.
When I realized what was at the root of it all, I shrunk back from my phone. My phone had become my escape and that was never what I intended it to become, so I knew it was time for some serious changes. Changes for real, not just changes out of guilt but changes out of healing myself.
So how do we go about truly changing and healing?
There are a few things that I have done that have been helpful.
It is good and healthy to have limits on things. We teach our kids to practice self-control, which is exactly what we need to do with phones. This is going to look differently for everyone. To give you some ideas, here is what I decided to do.
- 6pm-8pm no phone time
- Social Media Free Weekends
- No Phone in Bed (I can read instead!)
Ask Myself Why
Anytime I get on my phone, I ask myself, “Why am I getting on here?” This has helped me to be intentional with my time. As a blogger, social media is an important part of my influence, so setting specific times to be on Instagram or Facebook has been helpful. If I am escaping to my phone, I can seek comfort in more intentional ways.
When life feels chaotic and out of control and I want to escape, I can do these things:
- Take a deep breath
- Turn on music
- Remind yourself that you are a good mom (read through the mama affirmations printable- sign up at end of post)
- Call/Text a friend (yes on your phone but in a good way)
- Go outside
As I started to implement these changes, I realized I was rarely sitting and scrolling on my phone. Instead, I was picking up a book to read, messaging a friend to check on them, playing with my kids, closing my eyes as the sun warmed my face. At times I even do get on to scroll, but with the right heart- not out of a need to escape reality. Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments when my fingers feel that desire to scroll mindlessly, and sometimes I do, but I am more aware of it all and able to redirect myself.
Mamas, I know mothering is hard. We are not just moms. We wear many hats and handle countless situations every day. It is normal to want to escape and have a moment to ourselves. The question lies in, where do you want to be escaping to? Wouldn’t you rather make the choice that leads to freedom?
What about you? Do you struggle with this? Do you also believe in limiting phone time? Share below in the comments- I would love to hear your thoughts!
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