Intentional Momming (Part 1): Technology & Social Media

Intentional Mom 1

Do you ever find yourself staring at your phone mindlessly? Scrolling through social media posts, with no real end goal in mind? Do you look at your phone for so long that you start to realize that you’re not even enjoying it, and nothing you’re reading is important? Or maybe it was important the first time you read it. But now you’ve read about 40 different summaries of the same news story, and 100 different opinions that people hold about it, and it’s getting old. But your eyes are glued.

Do you miss valuable productive time during your day, because your hand keeps reaching for your phone? Or you keep opening tabs on your browser to look at that Facebook feed one more time, even though you know it won’t be any different than it was 10 minutes ago?

Do you keep the TV on for way too long, and catch yourself watching daytime or evening tv that your really don’t care about? Do you stay up way too late just because the show is on?

I can describe all of these scenarios, because it’s totally me. I do all of these things. I made it my New Year’s Resolution this year to live more intentionally, and I’ve fallen off the wagon big time with teaching and parenting. I find myself  sitting with my phone at night after Isaiah is asleep, not talking to my husband, not reading that book that’s been collecting dust on my end table, not bettering myself in any way…

I’ve planned to write a series of posts about “Intentional Momming”. To me, this means approaching my entire life, not just motherhood, with more intentionality, and letting it spill over into my mom life. If my mental health, marriage, friendships, and spirituality are all in healthy places, my babies can only benefit. I have just been feeling like I desperately need to hit reset on some of my daily habits, especially with a 2nd baby almost here! If I don’t establish some positive rhythms now, when am I going to find the time later??

I wanted to write about my experiences with this, and document how it’s going. So, let’s get started. My first topic of intentionality is Social Media & Technology. All of the bad habits I listed above are nothing more than that, bad habits. Habits can be changed and broken if you simply decide that they should be. These are some tips & tricks I’ve tried to curb my technology addiction and focus more on my family:

Schedule technology times for yourself throughout the day, but not first thing in the morning.

I sleep with my phone charging far away from my bed. I thought that this was going to prevent me from mindlessly scrolling through my phone as soon as I open my eyes. It worked for about a week, and then I started going to get my phone, getting back in bed, and looking at Facebook at Instagram until I literally was going to be late to work if I didn’t get up and get moving. It’s a terrible way to start my day. I’m instantly annoyed with someone I barely know for their political opinions, or I’m discouraged by the news.

There’s a time and place to catch up on your feed, if it’s important to you, and I definitely think it’s important to be informed of current events, but this all doesn’t have to happen at 6:00 in the morning, before you’ve even said hello to your family. The way you begin your day can have such an impact on your mood as you tackle the rest of the day. When I waste too much time on my phone, I end up rushing to get ready and out the door in time. I don’t get to play with Isaiah before I leave. I don’t get to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee-I have to take it to go. The things that matter more to me end up getting the shaft when I place technology in front of them.

Instead, there’s this 10-15 minute period when I get to work where I stay in my car putting make up on and listening to music. I’ve tried to stay off of Instagram (my biggest social media weakness) until my makeup is all done. I can scroll through, see my friends pictures, and then move on with my day. Just as I suspected, I haven’t been ‘missing out’ on anything by only looking once each morning. I also have an afternoon time where I let myself look before I go home to Isaiah. I try to get it out of my system-see my likes, respond to comments, etc- and then I go in and focus on my baby.

Block out times of the day that are ‘tech-free’.

That time where I come home from work really has become tech-free for me. It has to be.  My time with Isaiah is so limited, and it’s about to be even more strained as those short bursts of family time in the afternoon are filled with two kids. I get so upset with myself when I think about the times when he was so excited to see me walk through the door in the afternoon, and I gave him a quick kiss and put him down…and picked up my phone.

I’ve had to make that time from 4:30-7 as phone-free as it can be. Sometimes I just need to take a picture of his cuteness. Sometimes a friend is going through a rough patch and I feel like I need to be easy to reach. Sometimes my husband is coaching and I want to follow the updates on his game. But, you can have your phone nearby to help you accomplish other tasks or stay in touch in a productive way, or you can have your phone around as a way to fill your time. It can be a tool or a time-stealer. There’s a difference, and it’s your choice.

Also, looking at my phone right before I fall asleep is so bad for me. Maybe you can turn your brain off and fall asleep without any trouble. I definitely can’t. My brain will reel with everything it has taken in the past 10 minutes as soon as I turn out the lights. I sleep better when the computer is closed, my phone is put away, and I end the night with a book or a conversation with my husband instead.

Replace social media/tv with more productive ways to relax.

My 30 minutes of wasted phone time in the morning has become a time for me to meditate, pray, read, and drink hot coffee. I’m dressed a little earlier, and I have a few extra minutes to hang out with Isaiah without trying to get ready with him pulling at my ankles. It’s a much better start to my morning, and it puts me in a more productive mindset for the rest of the day.

When I have down time (which is rare, but it does happen), I want to kick myself if I spend all of it on the couch with my phone. I try to listen to podcasts or read instead.

If Isaiah is fussy, and I feel like the only thing that will save us all is some TV time, I’ve been trying to muster up the energy to take him out for a walk or read a book with him, or get out a toy he hasn’t seen in a while. (I’m not a superwoman, so we definitely still turn to TV more often than not…but I’m trying!)

So, mamas, that’s where I am with my struggle with technology. I want to be a more intentional mom, and there is a big difference between my mom skills (and my baby’s mood) on they days when I’m keyed into him and the days when I’m easily distracted.

I have more intentional living struggles in my life that I will be sharing these next few weeks.

In the mean time, I have put the essentials from this post in an Intentional Momming Tip Sheet. Print it out, fill it out, hang it somewhere you can see it! Come on this journey with me! 🙂

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