Being More Present

I watched a video on Facebook last night that had a lasting impression on me. It is about 15 minutes long, but I recommend everyone watching it, because it made me want to change. (Here is the link for it https://www.facebook.com/simonsinek/videos/10154844919181499/)

In the video Simon talks about technology and the impact it has on us in regards to relationships and joy. After Adam and I watched it together, we decided that we were going implement some changes in how we use our cell phones. I have noticed that a majority of my “Mommy guilt” comes from laying down at night and realizing I was on my phone way too much. When I play back the video loop of the day in my head, I see moments where I should have been interacting with my children or my husband, and instead I was zoning out on my phone. Wasting time. Because in reality, I mainly just waste time on my phone. Yes I text my family and friends and will get recipes for dinner and such….but that makes up probably 30% of my phone usage. The rest is spent on Facebook, Pokemon, mom forums, browsing Amazon, watching random YouTube videos, and reading different tumblr blogs. I realized how bad it has gotten when I cant even watch a movie with my family without looking at my phone most of the time, totally missing the movie; even if my girls are in my lap! Bailey knows that we love our phones. If she sees it on the couch or something, she brings it immediately to us. It makes me feel guilty. I nurse Claire for her naps and for bed, and guess what I always have with me? My phone. When I go to bed at night, the last thing I see is not my husbands handsome face as I kiss him goodnight….but my dimly lit screen. And then I stay up at least an hour later than I want, making me tired and cranky the next day.

So for me, I needed this wake up call. I don’t want to miss opportunities anymore with my kids to look them in the eyes when I am talking to them. Or to miss exploring with them, or playing pretend with their dolls. I don’t want to ignore times for cuddles with Adam so that I can check the latest blog that Ive been following. Those aren’t the memories I want to have.

So, Adam and I have decided to have a Phone Station. We got a little crate that has holes so we can fit a charger through it, and we have it sitting on our kitchen counter.

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When we are home, and the girls are awake. The phone go in the bin on Do Not Disturb mode. (Because really, if I hear a text, my willpower is not strong enough to not go running to check). At night, our phones are no longer charging next to my bedside, but it will be in the crate. I have an alarm clock. Thats all I need in my bedroom.

The times I am giving myself to be on my phone is when I am at the gym in the mornings, when BOTH girls are sleeping, and when Adam works late and the girls are in bed at night. That gives me still at least 2-3 opportunities a day to check my phone and talk with anyone I would need to talk to. But it takes away the need to be constantly connected. Because I feel like it is time for me to disconnect. In Do Not Disturb mode if there is an emergency, my family will just need to call me twice in a row and it will go through. Obviously if something is wrong or pressing and I need to call someone, I will do so. But I am no longer looking for excuses to zone out on my phone and waste time. I need this change, for my sake, my marriages’ sake, and my kids’ sake.

This is in no way intended for me to make anyone else feel guilty if they are not doing what I am doing. This is just a way for me to keep myself accountable, and let everyone know that if you text me during the day and it feels like I am ignoring you for hours on end. I am not. Or rather…maybe I am actually. But I am doing so only because I want to be present with the people who are here with me. I want to change. I want to rewire myself and be able to wait at a dr. apt without needing my phone. I want to be able to stand in an awkward elevator without jumping to my pocket to pull a device out so I can ignore everyone. I want to be able to watching a flippin Disney movie without needing to see what videos are on Facebook.

I want to make more meaningful relationships. I desperately need this. I am not “going off the grid,” I am simply setting guidelines for when I need to be connected to the outside world.

So….I hear Claire waking up. Off to go get some snuggles.

These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.

Cassie Bertoch

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