We all struggle with the day-to-day trials of being a mom. While I try not to be too hard on myself or compare myself to other moms, I also seek out ways to improve upon my techniques when I have the energy to do so.
I’d like to take full credit for the life-altering change I made one short month ago, but alas I cannot. The credit actually goes to my iPhone, which decided to stop working suddenly one afternoon, leaving me without the ability to make or receive phone calls.
In a panic—God forbid I be disconnected for more than a few minutes—I used my laptop to set up a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple Store that same evening.
At the store, after about 30 minutes of running diagnostics, they were able to identify the problem—a “rare” software glitch that could be fixed… in 5-7 business days.
Being without my phone for 5-7 days? This seemed not only impossible but terrifying. I couldn’t imagine managing my life without my phone. (Yes, I realize this is very sad commentary on both my life and our society in general, but tell me you wouldn’t feel the same.)
Luckily I was able to sweet talk the store employee into providing me with a loaner phone, but he warned me to only download apps that were essential.
Being the law-abiding person that I am, I waited until I was out of the store to download the Facebook and Instagram apps. As I have written about before, social media habits are really hard for me to break.
To my utter surprise and horror, I quickly realized I didn’t know my passwords! It had been so long since I needed to log into these applications that I had totally forgotten them. Despite endless efforts, I found myself locked out of my accounts.
On my drive home, I started to think maybe this was a divine intervention. A sign that this was a much needed break from social media. Unless I wanted to go through and change my passwords (which I hate doing), maybe I should take this week with my loaner phone as an opportunity to cut myself off from the online world.
And as hard as the first 24 hours was, I found over time I really didn’t miss it. Even crazier, my phone had become boring to me. It really served no purpose other than to send text messages, FaceTime, and check my email, which you can only do so many times a day. And for some reason, it wouldn’t connect to my Charge 2 Fitbit, so I wasn’t even receiving text notifications right away.
Within days I felt free. My thinking was clearer, I was more observant of my surroundings, and most importantly, I noticed I was a better mom. My boring, practically useless phone was left in my bedroom and I could truly engage with my family.
I am exaggerating a tiny bit here, but honestly, I do feel like a totally different person without my social media apps. It’s been over a month since my phone died, and while I’ve had it back for weeks, I have yet to download any social media apps.
Now before you assume I’m feeling totally superior, I will admit I can still access FB on my laptop and IG on my tablet. But I rarely use those devices, maybe once a day at bedtime. I find this the perfect amount of exposure to social media. And some nights I’m so tired I don’t even bother to check.
So if you’re looking for a way to engage more with your family and be present, I strongly encourage you to take the plunge. Delete those apps that distract you from real life. If you’re like me, it took a hard limit to break my habit, which you may need, too. Consider having your spouse change your password to something you’d never guess or deleting your account. It sounds drastic, but I promise you, it’s worth it.
Editor’s Note: If you’re going on a social media diet like Meredith, be sure to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. We send it every Friday morning recapping all of our original articles from the week. Stay in the know while limiting your time online—a win-win!