Minimalist Lifestyle

I am putting my *phone* down! (And reclaiming my life)

I wake up and quickly check my phone before my kids wake up.  I reply to Instagram comments, like Facebook posts and check my email…

Baby girl falls asleep on me after breakfast and I reach for my phone.  I check my credit score, bank account and pay a bill that I had forgotten about…

I grab my phone to get a recipe for lunch but get distracted by a new message on Instagram.  I respond and then my bestie is sending me a Marco Polo message, which I listen to and respond and the next thing I know, 45 minutes have passed…

I take my kids to the park.  I get out my phone to snap some pictures but of new email and comments on my recent Instagram post draw me in.

Sound familiar?

addicted to my phone

This trend continues throughout the day until I end my day checking all my social media channels one last time.  While it is true that some of the time spent on my phone is for work, I have to admit that the lines between work and time wasting are easily blurred.

And the most disturbing part is the message that I am sending my kids.  I choose my phone over them every. single. day.

I am addicted to my phone

This seems insane- what mother would choose her phone over her kids?  And yet, it’s true.  and it’s time to make a change.

All of this hit me recently as a read an article in Simplify magazine’s Technology issue.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized the truth in what I was reading.  The author wrote about her struggle with choosing her phone over her daughter, and her journey to become a “Hands-Free Mama.”   I was reading an article in a magazine but I might as well have been looking in a mirror.

The reality of my addiction to my phone was staring me straight in the face.

What’s so bad about technology?

Our phones are mini computers with the capacity to connect us to the world. We have endless information at our fingertips, abundant resources. I can work on my phone and connect with anyone from loved ones to complete strangers.

With so much knowledge to be had, so many people to know, it’s easy to get lost in cyber world at the expense of what is right in front of us- our family, our life, our actual physical experience.

It’s easy to get out of balance- I start out with a simple work-related task.  But before I know it I am scrolling the endless pages of Instagram dreaming about a life that is not my own.

Meanwhile, my kids are looking at me for attention. Sometimes ramping up their techniques for getting it until I lash out in a fit of frustration. But hey, they have my attention now, don’t they?

But the truth of this problem lies deeper.

My phone has become more than a tool, it has become a false sense of comfort. I use it to ward off boredom, and the numb discomfort. It’s an easy distraction when things aren’t going the way I’d like. It’s an easy way to escape and cut myself off from an undesirable reality.  When looking at it this way, it’s easy for me to see that I am addicted to my phone.

Seeking Comfort

I believe as humans we naturally look for the path of least resistance, which is what keeps us in our comfort zones and ultimately prevents growth and change. My phone has been doing that for me. It has been keeping me from doing the hard work of internal growth, parenting, and fostering a relationship with my spouse.

My phone only perpetuates my own tendency for “when…. then….” thinking by allowing me to fantasize about my future life, watching YouTube videos of RVers while believing the lie that everything will be different when…. [fill in the blank].

i can change

My desire for comfort and “easy” is coming at the expense of my kids. You see, they are the hardest work of all. I love them and I like them and I want to be the best mom I can be. But when I am truly honest, I feel like a complete failure at parenting. I feel like I am getting it wrong most of the time. And I am afraid that I am completely inadequate. It’s easier to read parenting articles on my phone than it is to admit that I left my career (which I did well), to come home and be a parent (at which I feel I do not do well).

But I can change.

I can change.

Minimizing technology

For me, the journey to full-time RV living is more than just a way to travel with my family.  It’s a way to minimize the excess in my life so that I can focus on what is really important.  That means less house and less stuff, but it also means less technology.

I need to find a way to strike a balance between using technology to grow a business and gain financial freedom while limiting it’s use so that I can be truly present with my family.  

This is no easy task and it’s something that I am figuring out as I go.

So I am taking a note from Hands-Free Mama, and I am putting my phone down. It’s not easy and I fail often, but each day is a new day to choose my kids over my phone.

Beginning steps

I definitely haven’t got it all figured out yet, but I am starting with a few important steps.

  1. Looking up and making eye contact when my kids enter the room.  This small act reminds them (and me) that they are more important than anything I might be doing on my phone.hands free mama
  2. Turning off notifications.  Those little red circles draw me in without a second thought.  By turning them off I can actively choose when to check for messages.
  3. I turn on Do Not Disturb mode to block alerts so I am not interrupted when I am playing a game with my kids or driving.
  4. Saying “yes” more to my kids.  Instead of asking my kids to “wait” or telling them “mama’s working”, I am dropping everything when they specifically request my attention.  There will always be a balance to strike here, and I am working on tipping the scales in the direction of my kids.

I know that I will fail and I know that this is a process.  But this is one area of my life that I need to work on no matter where I live.  Because I no longer want to be addicted to my phone.

I’d love to hear from you!  Mostly I’d love to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this!  Also, I need tips!  Please share your experience in the comments below!  And if you want to join me in learning how to stop the mindless addiction to scrolling and start using your phone with intention, join my FREE 5-day Phone Detox Challenge! 

Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

16 Comments

  • Lindsay

    I think I’m addicted to my phone as well. The first step I took was turning off my notifications. Somedays, I log off my social media accounts and when the sign in page shows up I remember I’m NOT supposed to be using it that day. Our cellphone use is so habitual, we definately all need a break.

  • Elizabeth

    I should put my phone down but I just had to say, totally do what you described. It’s so easy to get distracted and waste time on my phone. I hate getting chained to my phone. I’ve worked in designated times and put it in another room when not in use. Only keep my ringer on. Helps alot

  • Kimberly

    Yes! Being addicted to your phone is so harmful to kids! I do my best to get my morning scroll/posts done while I eat breakfast and then I work a little more during nap time and finish up after bed time. I occasionally scroll through while I’m breastfeeding my baby but do my best to avoid it. My husband is ALWAYS on his phone and now my 2yr old always wants to “play” on it too. It’s so hard to tell him no or limit his time when he sees us on our phones!

    • Jenny

      Ugh! Yes! It’s so hard especially if you and your husband aren’t on the same page! I have had to stop the phone-while-breastfeeding habit too!

    • Jenny

      Thank you! I don’t want to look back on my life and realize that I missed my kids’ childhood because I was on my phone- YIKES!

  • D

    You are absolutly right! Spot on! I actually try to set times for things like replying to emails and instagram posts etc. In the morning I get up get dressed prepare lunch and make a coffee. This is when I check my instagram, I add a photos and reply to comments. Then it’s off to work. After work I have a different routine regarding the blog and my phone. But the biggest difference I made was when I go out to dinner or coffee with hubby we are only allowed to use our phone if it’s a telephone call, message or to take a photo. Thats it. Thank you for this read.

    D, xo || from https://livedreamcreate-d.com

    • Jenny

      Thank you for commenting! These are great tips and I find it’s hardest when it’s just my husband and me. Setting times and boundaries is so important!

  • Rachael

    Have you checked out the Moment app? It’s designed to help you track and minimize your phone time – and it’s designed by an RVer!

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