I love watching my three-year-old son explore and learn new things as he fearlessly plays around the house. Although it can be overwhelming at times, I truly enjoy being a mother. Since having my four-month-old-baby girl at home, I’ve had to be extra watchful with my son. He’s adjusted well to being a big brother, but I think he still misses the undivided attention he received prior to her arrival. Needless to say, he’s been able to get away with more mischievous behavior than I’d like to admit. It’s not because I don’t care what he does or that I don’t pay attention to him but having to care for two children while working a full time job and having a spouse that works out of town is not always so easy. Luckily, I’ve developed a routine that allows enough time to care for them individually without losing my mind.
Most nights after dinner we head upstairs to start our nightly routine. This particular night was no different. I finished bathing my daughter and was feeding her as my son brushed his teeth in the restroom… or so I thought. I could hear him turning the sink faucet on and off for about five minutes. I repeatedly told him to shut the water off and get in the bathtub. He’s pretty mature for his age so he can take off his clothes, jump in the bathtub, turn the water on, and semi-bathe on his own. He’s still working on mastering his shampooing and body scrubbing skills, but I digress. I suddenly remembered that I left my cellphone by the sink. Yes, the sink he was using to ‘brush his teeth.’ I ran into the restroom to find him playing with his bubble maker. He had been turning the water on and off to fill it and of course, my cell phone was nowhere in sight. Next thing I know is that my phone had been in the sink the whole time he attempted to fill his bubble maker. Although my phone had not completely shut off, it had begun to malfunction.
I don’t know what came over me but in that moment I was so frustrated and instantly yelled at my son. I don’t know why I was so upset. Maybe it was because purchasing a new phone isn’t cheap or because I wouldn’t be able to scroll through my Instagram or Facebook feed? Whatever the reason, I completely overreacted. It wasn’t even his fault that I left my phone by the sink. Either way I caused my son to cry as I yelled at him to get in the bathtub. I bathed him as quickly as possible and sent him to bed. I went downstairs and placed my phone in a Zip Lock bag full of rice where it would stay for 72 hours. Rice is supposed to absorb the moisture and ‘fix’ your phone.
Anyway, this is what I learned during the 72 hours without my phone.
- It’s not the end of the world to be without my phone. Breathe. It’s just an object. Of course I use it for almost everything (communicating, GPS, alarm clock, appointment reminders, scrolling through social media, etc.) but how much do I really need my phone? After all, past generations got by just fine without it.
- I was less annoyed by my children. Yes, I said it. I realize that constantly being on my phone leads me to snap at my son for no reason when he tries to get my attention. Why? Because I’m scrolling through social media or texting back and forth with someone? That sucks! This was by far the crappiest realization of them all. I don’t want to be that mom that gets upset because her children “interrupt” my scrolling time.
- I didn’t take myself so seriously and was able to spend more quality time with my children. I wasn’t as strict with my son. I found it enjoyable to jump on the bed with him instead of telling him to stop. I don’t even remember the last time I did that. I also didn’t rush while helping him put a puzzle together and played with him instead of allowing him to watch T.V.
- I was more productive at work and at home. I wasn’t able to check my phone every 7 minutes while working and doing house work so I was able to finish more tasks in less amount of time and didn’t have to keep refocusing to complete them.
- I’m not really missing out on anything. If someone needs to get ahold of me, they will. I didn’t feel the constant need to check phone. I didn’t even have as many text messages or social media notifications as I thought I would. I, essentially, need to get over myself and focus on things that really matter in life. My phone isn’t one.
- Placing your phone in rice actually does work. I probably could have kept it in the Zip Lock bag full of rice for 24 hours and checked if It worked but I left it in there for three days just to make sure. The only thing that doesn’t work is the touch sensor to unlock it with my finger print.
I initially believed being without my phone would be a major inconvenience; however, the 72-hours without it were unexpectedly eye-opening. Although I don’t deny that having a cell phone is advantageous, I realize I need to stop wasting time on insignificant things. It also helped me appreciate the small things in daily life and to be more patient with my children. I’m not the perfect mother and I don’t know everything, but what I do know is that I no longer want my phone to be the reason that I’m distracted or stressed. I definitely don’t ever want it to be the reason that I feel frustrated with my children.