Chaos can come in so many different forms. If you are a parent and you love technology like I do it can hit you in a lot of directions. Let’s just start with this number below on my computer…15,907 photos and videos! What?!?! And I haven’t even transferred the 1,551 that are sitting on my phone!
This is absurd and causes major anxiety. The good news is I have learned to cut the chaos and start connecting again…let me share a story and then offer you a challenge…
One day, I dropped my son and daughter off at gymnastics. My phone was dead so I left it in the car to charge. My husband got off work early and met me there. The two of us were sitting chatting about our day and my husband says, “Look around you”….I stopped, looked around and I couldn’t believe it. Every single parent was looking down on their phone. If they weren’t looking down they were taking a picture..everyone had a device in their hand and they were either not looking at their child or looking at them through a screen. I would never have noticed this had my phone not died because I too would have been on my phone. Our kids noticed my husband and I watching them and they were beaming with joy – it was like their faces were saying, “Oh my gosh, Mom and Dad are actually watching me!!!” It wasn’t long until other people’s kids were also beaming with joy because we were watching them as well. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to shake all the other parents and say, “Look up! Look up! Look how happy your kid is!”
This was a pivotal moment for me. It was at this point that I started the “no phone” rule. I started to leave my phone in my car or in my purse when I was at my child’s activities. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule but I try to follow this as much as possible. It made a world of difference. I felt more connected to my kids, my kids felt love, and I could feel positive things happening in our family. I started looking at what technology was doing to us as a family and slowly started to change some things. I noticed how much we depended on it and looked for ways to eliminate it in hopes of creating more balance and connection. Yes, as “Media Mom” I love using technology for this reason but I also love NOT using it for this reason.
So I invite you to try the “Ditch Technology” Challenge. These are simple steps you can challenge yourself to do to help cut down the chaos and bring connection and balance in your life.
No Phone or Camera Rule
There are conversations that can wait. We have voicemail for a reason…so people can leave a message and you can call them back. Unless it is absolutely necessary to have your phone on, leave it behind while you are at an event or your kid’s function. See what it feels like to actually watch your child play or perform. Look at their smile when they see you paying attention. It is pretty cool! Also, leave the phone behind at family events and when you are having lunch with a friend. It is amazing how different it is.
No More Than 3-5 Photos
If you want to take pictures at an event, try not to take more than 3-5 photos. Yep, that’s right. Think back to the days of film when you only had 24 pictures and you didn’t want to waste one. Our days of digital have turned us into photo hoarders…I have more than 300 photos from one of my son’s soccer tournaments! It is stressful to even look at them on my computer. How do I choose?!?! So I don’t. And so they sit, on my computer. Which is why I have 1,509 photos and videos on there! We believe that if we take a picture of every single thing our child does we will remember it…when we would actually remember it more if we just put the camera down and focused on being in the moment. A friend of mine had an unplugged wedding…no phones or cameras were allowed. I thought she was crazy, it gave me anxiety sitting there as she walked down the aisle. I kept thinking…”What if her photographer doesn’t capture this moment?! Someone needs a picture of this!” Well, you know what…I can tell you every detail of that day. I can tell you how the air smelled, what people were wearing, their expressions on their face, and even what was said during the ceremony. Want to know why? Because I was actually “in” the moment and not viewing it through a screen. It was remarkable!
Ditch the GPS
I have been to my brother and sister-in-law’s house a million times…but I could not tell you how to get there. Why? Because I use a GPS to get there. I have no idea what streets or landmarks are around them because when I go there all I do is push a pedal and steer a wheel and a voice on my phone tells me what to do. It’s absurd. I didn’t realize this absurdity until my GPS wasn’t working one day. I was trying to find their house and I was completely lost and helpless. I embarrassingly had to call them for directions…that is when I realized how much I was missing out on what goes on around me. As I jotted down the directions, I learned about the cute boutique and coffee shop down the block. Now I get to places the old way. I will still type the address in the GPS but I handwrite the directions and find my way. Look at all the amazing things I would have missed if I continued as a robot:
Buy or Put on a Watch
Hey, it’s a great excuse to buy something new! 🙂 So many of us rely on our phones to tell us what time it is…but guess what you do when you check the time…you check your messages, then Facebook, and then email…and then you are playing Candy Crush…etc etc etc. Next thing you know, the time is a half hour later because you just checked out from the world.
Leave the electronics at home
This was the scene last summer at our family cottage. Yes, pathetic. Okay it is nighttime…but really?! Yep, we can do better…and we did…
We learned and ditch the technology. This was the scene a couple weekends ago…guess what happens when kids don’t have electronics? They find other things to do! Here, they built a fort with rocks and sticks! Who knew?!
And yes parents, I totally understand that sometimes it is nice to have those electronics to keep them busy. I would do it all the time while I played soccer…but guess what happens if you “accidentally” forget the electronics???
They may actually watch their mom play soccer and cheer her on!