I have a secret hiding place, between my fridge and cabinet, where I can use my phone, and my husband and kids can’t see me. You may be asking yourself, “Why does this grown woman need to hide from her husband and kids?”
Because I’m a hypocrite!
I continually tell my four kids how bad it is to be glued to their phone all day, yet I struggle with this constantly! I can’t WAIT for the day of the week when my husband, Jon, and I share our FASTER Scales together. I feel such satisfaction when he highlights “preoccupation with entertainment” because Dork-Sidious has been playing that dumb Star Wars game way too much this week.
Don’t worry, he knows I call him that and he thinks it’s funny.
I’m such a HYPOCRITE! If I were honest with myself, and Jon, I would be highlighting “preoccupation with entertainment” as well because I am CONSTANTLY on my phone. Ask any of my friends. When they text me, before they even hit send, I will respond. It’s sick.
Recently, I was laying in bed on my phone when my 6-year-old came to hang out with me. My phone sounded it’s notorious “ding!” and I went to pick it up. He walked to the side of my bed, looked me straight in my eyes, with both of his hands out in front of him as if he was REALLY trying to capture my attention. I wonder where he gets that? As he moved his hands slowly up and down as he said…
Don’t answer that because you said you were going to slow things down and not be on electronics. That’s what adults do. They work on electronics all day and it gets their brains all mixed up and it’s time to just slow down. That’s what I do. Whenever you tell me I can’t have electronics, I start to whine. You should put your phone downstairs so you’re not ‘attempted.’
Because I work from home, it’s easy to blame my phone overuse on my job. There have been times when I’ve lied and told Jon or the kids that I’m working when really I’m texting a friend about my belly fat, paint color, or dinner ideas. Okay self...highlight lying on the FASTER Scale. Man I’m really digging a hole here.
I WANT to be healthy. I LONG for self-control. You know, the kind you see on TV and Pinterest?
Writing this blog is a great reminder that I need to reign-in my behaviors. These subtle, sneaky behaviors can be just as damaging as big obvious addictions.
Have you ever been in the middle of judging somebody on Facebook when your kid comes to show you something and you say, “Hold on. Let mommy finish this?” I have, and I hate this about myself. I don’t want to forsake the precious people in front of me for the people on social media who don’t even know I’m stalking them.
In order to do this, I need to be honest, decide what’s important, and start practicing healthy phone use!
I don’t want to hear my teen say, “Why do you get to have your phone in the bedroom, but we can’t have ours in our room?” I want to lead by example. Healthy is healthy. It’s not unhealthy for them to have their phone in their room because they’re teens. We ALL need to have healthy boundaries with our electronics.
Starting TODAY, here are a couple things I am going to commit to practicing! Who will join me?
If working then work. If playing then play. If driving then drive. You get the point? Stay engaged and present. You might have to silence your phone or put it on “Do not disturb” so you can stay focused. I once heard, it takes someone 23 minutes to get back on track after being interrupted. You’ll have to fact-check that yourself but NOT NOW; you’re doing something else right now.
Do you have a special routine when you pick up your phone? Check Facebook, then Gmail, then my bank account, then my texts, then hotmail, stop by my pictures and admire that cute selfie I took the other day (I really did look good in that lighting)…then do it all over again. If I commit to rolling through my routine once, and stopping, it really helps cut down the time I waste on my phone. Now, I can “roll through my routine” three times a day, but I need to make sure the rolling stops.
It can feel good to give your brain a rest and look at mindless things. Putting a limit on this will keep you from having to yank yourself out of the twilight zone or battle the shame that accompanies the realization that you’ve just wasted an hour on your phone. Scroll away, for 15 minutes and then stop. You’ll enjoy your time more because you know that it’s scheduled and there is a stopping point.
If I put my phone in the kitchen before bed, I sleep better—I can’t check my phone in the middle of the night and get sucked into some juicy article on the brain. When my phone isn’t next to me, I read more, have great conversations with my husband, and often do other things that are great for our marriage, if you know what I mean. ;) Aside from all of that, it helps me avoid being a hypocrite to my teenage boys and reduces the risk of brain cancer…I think.
When I get really stuck in a bad phone use pattern, I will actually document every time I use my phone. This helps me see how often I reach for my phone without thinking and how much time I’m wasting. Once I become aware of my behaviors, it’s easier for me to make changes. I encourage you to keep track if you find yourself on your phone, forgetting to follow your own rules.
Having and using technology is not the issue. It’s a reality of the world we live in. Developing healthy boundaries and having practices in place is the issue, not only for the example we’re setting for others, but for our own health: physically, mentally, and relationally.
I’m looking forward to starting this week off right and being present with the people I love!
Ashley is the International Groups Coordinator for all of Pure Desire's Women's Groups. She oversees all Women Regional Groups Leaders (RGL'S) and is a member of the Pure Desire Speaking Team.