My family and I have started what we like to call “Hands Free Sundays.” This means that when Sunday rolls around, our cell phones go away. Why do we do this? Because we started to notice that cell phones were taking over our lives and we were spending way more time than we wanted to glued to our devices. We felt like we were missing out on a lot, and we wanted to devote at least one day a week where we were living in the moment, spending time with our son, and away from technology.
Here’s the thing- cell phones are great. They are amazing for so many things. Keeping in touch, checking emails, quick Google searches, cell phones offer a wide variety of useful things right at our fingertips. But here’s the problem- cell phones are addicting, and they get in the way of a lot of important things sometimes. Even your children. I am embarrassed to admit that there have been plenty of times that my son grabs my face with his chubby little hands and prys it away from my cell phone because I’m not paying attention. I’m not watching what he’s doing. And he notices! He isn’t even two yet and he knows that his mommy is neglecting watching him because she’s too busy on her stupid phone. Once I realized this, I was ashamed and I was sad. And I vowed to never let that happen again.
Sometimes we don’t realize that our kids are watching and if we are on our phones all the time, we’re sending them a message. Without saying it, we’re telling them that our cell phone is more important than them. No more. I did not want my son getting that message so I stopped. You can, too.
-Devote at least one day a week to being hands free. Put your cell phone away for the day and unplug. Unplug from the TV, the radio, everything with a cord. Go have a picnic in the park, read books, go to the playground. Be creative and go experience life without the technology that we all depend so much on.
-Vow to only check your phone when your child is napping, sleeping, or at school. This is the perfect time for you to check your emails, catch up on your social media sites, read your blogs, and text. Let’s be honest, all these social media sites aren’t that important. And they can wait. Your children shouldn’t have to.
-Let people know you’re going hands free. So your family members and friends don’t think you’ve died, tell them you’re going hands free. Encourage them to do the same. People will understand if you can’t respond to them right away.
-Be realistic. Sometimes you do NEED your phone on you, and that’s okay. If you’re making an effort in the right direction, the rest will come.
-Accept failure. No one is perfect and we’re all bound to break the rules sometimes. Make strides in the right direction. Remember what’s important and if you fail, try again.
This post isn’t written to make anyone feel bad, rather being on my phone so much made ME feel bad and I was compelled to write about it. I can say that since I’ve made a conscious decision to be more hands free, things have been so much better. My son and I are at the playground every day. We feed the ducks, we read stories, we play together on the floor. My little guy is so much happier now that mommy gives him full undivided attention and those few times that I really do need to be on my phone, he understands or he’s sleeping and will never know.
No parent is perfect, but as a parent we should try to be the best that we possibly can for our children. Living in the moment and being involved in your child’s life is so important. Don’t let your cell phone rob you of your baby’s childhood. You’ll never regret not checking Facebook, but I promise you will regret missing milestones in your child’s life.