Six weeks ago I decided to start a 30 day challenge to walk every day & I loved all of it, most of it. I loved incorporating exercise into my life and feeling productive no matter how unproductive my day might have turned out. As the challenge was coming to an end I started thinking of something new I can take upon myself for the upcoming month.
I decided on putting my phone away between 330pm and 630 pm. (yikes)
So I’m going to talk about the stages and my thoughts on the first 2 weeks of this challenge. The first day I had a lot of anxiety going into it, I kept thinking to myself, “What am I going to do? I’m going to need to in-ter-act with my kids without any interruptions.. I will need to give them eye contact the entire time. What will that be like?” It turned out to be manageable and much better than I expected. The adrenaline of doing something different kicked in and I barely felt the “loss” of not having my phone. I also think its important to note that I experienced zero FOMO which is a big deal.
Then came Day 7, which was my hardest so far, I’m not sure why. I had a busy morning and a lot on my mind so turning that off for me was really hard. The idea of being present was so unappealing. I wanted to be distracted and on my phone. Isn’t that good for my kids, to have a distracted mother so they can learn to figure it out? It turns out the afternoon was really pleasant and I ended up playing a game with my kids, on a Wednesday afternoon. We sat around the kitchen table and played a game, so old school that it made me really happy. So on Day 7 I started off pretty low and in the end I felt fairly content.
There are times that my phone is away and I don’t want to be present or engaged, I just want to relax and reprieve for a little bit. At this point of our lives, relax and reprieve means to mindlessly go through our phones, wrong or right, that’s the reality. How do I relax without my phone, or disengage when I need to. My kids have found me sitting on the couch with a coffee in hand looking out the window, “mommy what are u thinking about?” I’m thinking about how even sometimes when I set up my circumstances to be totally present and available to my kids and my life right now, I still don’t want to be. “I’m thinking about how much I love you,” is the answer I usually give. Total honesty is not always the way with young vulnerable children. When they are ready and susceptible to it, I have journals for them. I’ve also come to realize that not wanting to engage is also totally fine. I’m a human and humans are imperfect. Humans need to go inward to give outward and sometimes I do that well and sometimes I do it terribly. I want my kids to be ok with their imperfect selves and know that’s the way it should be, feeling imperfect is a sign that you’re still alive. That’s what we all want in the end, to be here, to be alive and to still have time. Not having my phone has given me more time to think, good thoughts, bad thoughts, terrible thoughts – all thoughts are welcome and I’m working on engaging in only good thoughts (hint for my next challenge)
Its also taken away the rush of things, now I literally feel every minute in the afternoon. It doesn’t fly by because any time I want to switch off for a moment I don’t have my fall back, I don’t have my phone. I cant quickly text an old friend about how kids are assholes or make a quick purchase and count in my head how many days it will take to get the package. I don’t search summer activities for kids to inspire me which usually stops there, inspires me then nothing happens. Well there’s always May of 2019 to solely be inspired again.
How has the no phone plan helped my marriage or has it helped my marriage? I don’t think its improved our relationship in particular. He’s usually home between 7 and 730, which gives me enough time to check in with reality and then focus on him and his day, which I rarely do because my therapist says I have narcissistic tendencies. So the no phone rule doesn’t help that aspect of my personality or our relationship. I don’t think he’s bothered by the idea of me being unreachable for 3 hours in the afternoon, on the contrary, I think he’s enjoying it. He’s not missing those texts or phone calls “When are you coming home, these are your kids too and they’re not listening- they totally get that from your mother, btw.”
So in conclusion I don’t have sufficient evidence on whether or not this challenge has been good for my marriage.
What I do know is that this challenge has brought me some joy in small doses. Its brought me more focus and attention during times I’ve usually done anything I could to escape. It’s also brought me time with my kids that I will never get back, because as each day passes, so does this precious, fleeting time with them.
Will this change my life, or who I am? Most probably not, my genetics are really REALLY strong. But it will help me become more comfortable with challenging myself and learning to be open to change. I like my kids to see me try new things, take on new things, drop those new things fairly quickly because again I’m showing them humanity and I’m showing them what’s real.