Last week I wrote a confession about my iPhone addiction and how it is negatively impacting my parenting. Since then, I’ve struggled a bit with how to write this post about the changes I’ve made. I don’t want it to come across as boastful. “Look at me! I’m supermom! I’ve deleted all my fun apps, and so should you, or you’ll never be as great a mom as me!” This is not the statement I’m trying to make. One of my purposes for this blog is that it exalts the name of Jesus Christ, not me.
So I want to start by saying that these are some rules I have imposed on myself because this little rectangular screen has become an idol. Rules that I need because, despite spending months away from my kids battling a rare cancer that still threatens to take me from them someday, I often choose meaningless entertainment over spending these fleeting days and years wisely with the children whom God has entrusted to me.
Not exactly anything to boast about, right? I didn’t think so. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here is my iPhone Detox Plan.
Here’s a BEFORE shot of my iPhone:
I realized that every time I turn on my phone to make a call or answer a text, I see those tempting little numbers by my email or Facebook or Words With Friends. So reflexively, I tap to see who likes my status or how badly my grandmother is beating me at Words. (Embarrassing, but true.) Next thing I know, my six-year-old is talking to me, and I’m giving him the I’m-checking-facebook-and-pretending-to-be-listening-”uh-huh.”
(Side note: My six-year-old feels the need to tell me pretty much everything he thinks, all day long. Ten years from now, it will really come in handy if he still wants to do this. So I should probably PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND LISTEN NOW.)
To fight against these distracting little numbers, I decided to hide them on the third screen of my iPhone. This is what my home screen looks like now:
Very boring, right? I can call, text, look up a Bible verse, take a picture, check my calendar or to-do list, and renew library books. (Not that the Bible is boring. But you get the point.)
And if I want to browse Pinterest, check email, or play a game? I have to swipe all the way to the third screen and open a folder titled “Are Kids There?” How’s that for conviction?? These apps are all off-limits if my kids are around.
Here is the rest of my iPhone Detox Plan:
1. I’m not carrying my phone around in my pocket anymore. It stays on the kitchen counter, and I check it periodically. If someone needs something urgent, they can call my home phone. This eliminates the temptation to answer calls or texts while reading to my kids or to check email every five minutes when I get bored.
2. When I’m out with my kids, my phone stays in my purse. This applies to spending time with friends and date nights with Noel whenever possible. No more Pinterest at the park.
3. When I’m driving, my phone stays in my purse. My bluetooth lets me know if I get a call and who it’s from. I can even answer it hands-free if needed. No more texting at stoplights! I’ve asked my kids to hold me accountable on this one.
4. I’m trying to reduce talking on the phone while driving with my kids and spend that time chatting with them while I have a captive audience.
5. Unless it is a special situation, I am no longer answering call-waiting. The person I’m talking to is important and deserves my attention. (This doesn’t have anything to do with my kids or my iPhone. But it’s part of life in 1982 that I miss–the ability to talk to just one person at a time.)
6. My husband and I have decided that 6-8 p.m. will be phone-free and computer-free time in our home. We are not militant about it, but we are trying to be more aware and really devote those hours to spending time together as a family. I’m much more likely to read one more bedtime story if I know I can’t use my laptop for another 20 minutes anyway.
As I mentioned earlier, I have already broken these rules a few times. I’m amazed at how reflexively I reach for my back pocket, how often I wonder if I have any email, how I feel compelled to read every text message within five seconds of hearing that chime.
Let’s be honest. I am a housewife. None of my emails are urgent. But these kids are growing up at lightening speed, and in a few years, they won’t want to talk to me or play Monopoly with me or tell me every detail of the Magic Tree House book they just read. That’s the urgent stuff, and I want my minute-to-minute choices to reflect that.
If you have felt convicted about technology use or another distraction in your life, what changes are you making? Will you leave a comment and let me know?
To God be the glory.