A few weeks ago I went to bed with crippling mom guilt. The kind that made me want to go take my boys out of bed so I could apologize profusely to them and give them my 100% undivided attention. I wanted to watch their every single move and spend all of my time complimenting their curiosity, their brains, their friendship, their quirks, their looks – I wanted to study every piece and aspect of them and I wanted to let them know very clearly just how much I love them and cherish being their mom.
That day I’d spent a stupid amount of time on my phone. Instead of getting down on the floor and playing Avengers with my boys, I sat on the couch and wasted time scrolling instagram, reading blogs, watching YouTube and researching new Podcasts. That particular day I even caught myself spending more time on my phone while we had lunch ‘together’ than actually socializing with these wonderful little boys I had sitting beside me.
As I laid in my bed, I literally cried myself to sleep. I’d let them down, horribly. They deserved me and my attention and I didn’t give that to them. This day was a particularly bad one for me – I’m never usually that distracted by my phone, but it made me realize I definitely spend more time on my phone than necessary. I thought about all the memories I’d missed because I was staring at a screen. I thought about the little conversations I could have listened to while my boys played together that I missed because I was listening to Instagram stories all day. I thought about the way my boys must have felt as I was so distant. I made the goal then and there that I needed to be way more aware of my time spent on my phone.
For the last few weeks I’ve been hyper-aware of where my phone is and what I’m doing with it. I’ve been training myself that its ok to leave it in a room I’m not in and not touch it for a few hours. I’ve reinforced the rule that cell phones do not belong at the kitchen table. If I was on my phone and one of my kids spoke to me, I consciously put it down and pushed it away from me – giving my sons my full attention. I somehow convinced myself I didn’t need to watch everyones stories and I didn’t need to scroll through Instagram every several minutes to see if anything had changed. I rededicated myself to my sweet boys and my husband. I still check my phone. I give myself those mom-time-outs/me-time here and there throughout the day, but I don’t let social media own me anymore, like I did a few weeks ago. I keep myself busy playing with my boys, being productive in the house or working on a craft or project. I try to actively be aware of my phone – no matter how near or far it is from me and I’m trying really hard to resist the temptation to pick it up just to scroll and waste time. I’m trying to touch it way, way less.
The phrase that has really helped me turn my mindset around is this:
Is anything on my phone more important than my boys? Nope. Not at all. So it can wait.
Its changed me in all of the best ways. I feel so much better about myself as a mom after making this change. I go to bed more fulfilled and proud of how I spent my day. I feel as if my boys have noticed the change too, and are fully aware of how much their mom loves and values them. I really hope they know that they are far, far more important to me than my dumb phone ever could be.
I’ll still take part in social media. In a lot of ways, social media is good for me. I’ll still have days I post a lot on my stories, and I’ll certainly continue listening to podcasts frequently, but I’m not going to let it own me. I’m not going to let social media steal precious moments from me that I could be spending with my kids.