Two weeks ago I received an odd piece of mail that had no return address or signature. The card referenced my son and just seemed creepy and odd coming from someone anonymous. I worried someone had found my address online and sent me something. I looked back on previous posts and noticed maybe I hadn’t been careful enough with tagging and details I was putting out there. Thankfully the anonymous letter ended up being a family friend that was in a rush and forgot to sign the parcel on their way out the door. I, However, couldn’t help but have a million questions running through my mind that night when I received it.
I was standing in the shower and yelled to Dale from the other room, “should I delete my social media?”. He asked me why I thought I should. I told him that I just didn’t feel right and that I had some sort of anxiety associated with being on my phone and scrolling all day. I knew I had an addiction of opening app after app to find nothing and aimlessly repeating the cycle again. I seriously questioned the idea all night. I ran a pros and cons list with Dale and told him I just fear we aren’t being a good example to Arrow if we are zombies starring at our phones all day. I knew I wouldn’t want Arrow behaving how we had been. How could we tell our son as he grows up to get his head out of electronics as we hold our phones in our own hands while saying it?
We came to the conclusion that technology is here to stay, and we would be setting a better example for our son if we taught him balance. Also regardless of deleting all my social media accounts, as long as I had a smart phone, I would be tempted to surf the web. I want Arrow to know that electronics can be fun when used in moderation and at the right time.
The next day I sat down with a pen and piece of paper and jotted down 10 rules for our family. I ran the rules past Dale and he added his input as well. Here is what we came up with:
1. No Geo-Tagging Personal Places: This goes back to the weird piece of mail I thought we received from a stranger. I decided that while sharing my daily life can be fun, people don’t need to know my every move to the point that they could track me down. So my home, where my kids will one day go to school, etc. *que creepy music*
2. No Phones While Eating: This is simple. Meal times are meant to be spent having conversations with family and friends.
3. Camera Only With Company: Only use your phone as a camera when you’re with company. Let’s be real before phones our grandparents still needed a family photo and a picture of us opening every gift on our birthday. We don’t however have to spend an hour editing and posting that picture while with said family and friends.
4. Unplug at Night: 1 hour before bed put your phone down and relax. This has really helped me fall asleep and sleep more soundly.
5. Only One Parent Working at a Time: Dale and I both work from home at times and that means typing away and answering emails. We decided that only one parent should be distracted so that the other can be there if Arrow needs something.
6. Don’t Take Pictures/ Videos Everyday: I love documenting the things my family and son do but my son also doesn’t need a camera in his face every single day. This is a great tip I got from Oldjoy.com in a similar blog post she wrote, which actually inspired me to create my own rules! She said, “Even though they are little, they are still people and people have boundaries that need to be respected”.
7. Only Check Phone During Nap-time/Bedtime: This blog post is sponsored by Arrows nap-time. I am starring at the monitor on the table now and taking in the peace and quite.
8. Read a Book While Nursing: This has been such a fulfilling rule. In the beginning of nursing I would scroll and scroll and scroll some more through my phone. When I started reading books I noticed how much I was learning. I would get done nursing before Arrow’s bedtime and have so many things to tell Dale about the book I am reading.
9. Turn off Notifications: By turning off all your social media notifications you will be less tempted to pick up your phone and check it.
10. Give Yourself Grace: Know that you are more then that little electronic box and you are more valuable then all the likes and comments of affirmation on your social media accounts.
Lastly, putting this out there is helping me to be accountable for phone use. I have come back to this list a few times to check myself. This has not been an easy process for me and honestly that makes me more sure that this is something I need to do. It’s really helpful doing it with my husband because he will say things to me like, “isn’t it time to unplug for the night?” or “is now an okay time for me to check my phone?”.
This is not for everyone, but for me, and I am seeing so much freedom. I want to feel more alive and alert. So far, I can really see a difference in how present and productive I am. I want to be the best mom I can be and that starts for me with constantly reflecting on what kind of examples I am setting. So here is my new mom struggle out there in the open. If this has been a struggle for you I would love to know I am not alone, because mom or not we can encourage each other.
Dress: She In