This weekend I did something I’ve never done since having kids. I unplugged. Completely. I locked that little device that’s normally chained to my hand in a tiny little locker and I spent the entire day with my family at the water park, completely free of uninvited interruptions. And guess what; it was nothing short of AMAZING!
As I closed the door to that tiny little locker, fear struck deep inside my heart. What if someone needed me? What would I do about pictures? What if I missed capturing video of some completely amazing first that happened to my kids? I wouldn’t be able to share! Maybe I should have bought one of those overpriced cell phone bags to wear around my neck that all the other mom’s wearing around the park.
But you know what? As I set foot into the kiddie pool and I began to play with my kids, undistracted and without the temptation to check my phone every few minutes, something amazing happened.
The stress levels I seem to always carry around these days, suddenly seemed to disappear and the only thing that mattered, was living in the moment with my family.
We spent the entire day at the water park. I didn’t have the need to check the time, log on to Facebook to see what and how my friends were spending their Saturday, or check text messages. Instead, I splashed in the splash pad. I floated down the lazy river with my family. I took my daughters down their very first actual water slide.
By locking my phone in that tiny locker, for an entire day, I lived in the moment.
Some may argue, but Misty, you don’t have a single picture to show for it. You’re right, I don’t. I have something better. I have memories with my family free from my phone’s distractions. I didn’t stare at a little screen in my hand. I splashed. I laughed. I made memories. I taught my kids how to swim. And those memories, are far more priceless than any photo that would distract me from the people who mean the most to me.
Being a Mom in today’s world is hard. We lose touch with our friends and as a result, are forced to connect with people any way we can. Often, virtually, is the only way to maintain friendships. After my kids were born, because they were so premature, I spent the first couple of years basically living on lock down. My husband worked out of town for two weeks at a time and I lived in a new city where I’d yet to make any new friends. The only connection I had to “friends” was my phone. I quickly fell into the trap of connecting to people on my phone via text and instant message and slowly, I started to feel that my phone was the only “connection” I had to the outside world.
Before I knew it, my phone had become “my best friend” and without it, I was lost.
As I rescued my phone from it’s prison cell at the end of the day, I expected to find it full of text messages, Facebook notifications, and more alerts. To my surprise, I missed two text messages from my best friend. While I felt bad that I couldn’t respond to her right away, I know she understood. Nobody needed me. There was no emergency. Facebook went on without me. In fact, I’m pretty sure very few people even noticed I was unplugged. But you know who did notice? My family. The people most important to me noticed that they had my full attention. To me, that means more than anything else.
In the future, I plan to make unplugging something that happens regularly. I want the people I love to know they mean more to me than any little electronic device, and I want my kids to grow up knowing their Mom is present in the moment, not distracted by a piece of metal in her hand and “friends” she only “sees” virtually.