I think one of the hardest adjustments to parenthood, especially for a stay-at-home mom, is the change of pace. A friend who is a new mom recently confided that she often gets bored during the day.
Every mother knows this is not from a lack of things to do. There are always floors to sweep, diapers to change, dishes to wash, and meals to make. No, the problem is not the lack of work, but the inability to do it.
I worked from home when my first child was born and was endlessly frustrated by not being able to get things done. Babies often want to be rocked or held, rendering your arms useless to do anything else.
In a society with technology that increasingly speeds the pace of life, it is natural to have withdrawals when everything suddenly slows down after a baby is born.
Thinking about the influence of technology on our lives and suspecting that I, or maybe even my 2-year-old, could be addicted to my iPhone, I decided to put it away for a week and only use it when the kids were in bed.
I have a landline for phone calls, so I texted my family to let them know to call if they needed to talk to me. Then I put my smartphone in a kitchen cabinet, so I wouldn’t “accidentally” pick it up and start checking email and browsing Pinterest.
I thought removing the distraction would greatly increase my productivity and buy me some time. I thought my house would be cleaner and that I might finish a few of the many home improvement projects that I had started.
The first day without my smartphone, I failed miserably. I made it a measly three hours before sneaking a peak. I began coming up with reasons why smartphones are a huge benefit to moms.
For instance: when my kids say or do something cute, I text my husband to give him a smile during the day. When they look adorable, I snap a quick picture. And when I’m feeling a little isolated at home, I use social media to connect with other moms and be encouraged.
The second day, I was determined to do better than the first. I actually made it the rest of the week without looking at my smartphone, although I did have to use a phonebook for the first time in years.
I had a lot of expectations for this week, but my actual discovery surprised me. My house was not any cleaner than any other week and my projects remained 80 percent complete.
A shower seemed to have a greater impact on my productivity than the removal of my iPhone. It took me a while to figure out why eliminating time on my smartphone did not add time to my day.
I discovered that I already use my available time when the kids are napping or entertaining themselves to clean and get things done.
It’s when things are moving at a frustratingly slow pace that I reach for my phone, like when I’m sitting on the floor next to the baby just pushing toys back within reach each time she knocks them away, or when I have to just sit while she is nursing, or when I’m holding my son while he watches cartoons.
This realization made me sad. Why is it so hard to slow down and just enjoy the little things that seem so unproductive, but are so vitally important?
By not reaching for my iPhone this week, I discovered that my baby girl stares at my face when I rock her, and that if I look back, she touches my cheeks, lips, and nose.
I discovered that my son loves to be creative and is quite the little artist.
I discovered that it is incredibly annoying to see someone else occupied with their phone when you are not, and then I realized that this is often how my children see me.
Technology really does benefit us in many ways and removing it from our lives is unrealistic, if not impossible.
After my experiment this week though, I have decided that I’m not going to carry my smartphone with me from room to room anymore. I’m going to put it in the kitchen cabinet and leave it there until I need it, and then I’m going to put it back again.
This is a practical way for me to take control of this area of my life. Then, next time things seem to be moving at a snail’s pace, I’m going to look my children in the eyes, give them my full attention, leave the phone in the cabinet, and enjoy the precious moment that is actually speeding by.
Why is it so hard to slow down and just enjoy the little things...?