The school counselors where I work have recently been working with the students on understanding healthy relationships. They talked with the kids about friend, family, and community relationships but back in the office we jokingly discussed unhealthy relationships: one-night stands, friends with benefits, random hook-ups. And then my phone died. Talk about an unhealthy relationship.

My phone had been acting funny for a week or so. The battery seemed to drain very quickly. I chalked it up to the kids playing with it and apps staying open. Honey and I fiddled with it to see if we could discover the culprit. It helped, for a little bit. Saturday the battery died and he ran off to Best Buy to see if it could be fixed. I admit, that morning without my phone I was anxious.

How would I check Facebook?

How would I access my grocery list?

How would I know if it was snowing outside?

What if I needed to…

 

…call someone?

My anxiety was short-lived because Honey returned home and my phone seemed to be working fine again. Call it a fluke. The Geek Squad guy did say that before we relinquished the phone we should make sure it was backed up or we’d lose everything, including two plus years of photos and videos of the kids. Panic ensued. Honey vowed to back up the pictures, and everything else. The next morning my phone was again mysteriously out of juice, and wouldn’t turn on. Honey managed to get enough battery power to back it up and off he went to Best Buy again. I was officially phoneless, and kind of helpless too.

How had I let such a trivial thing like a PHONE take over my life? Obviously my Facebook status isn’t essential to my life. Grocery lists existed on paper long before a smartphone. There are still windows to check the weather. Oh, and I have a house phone with which to call people.

I remembered a blog post by Hands Free Mama that had gone viral but I had recently discovered only a few weeks ago.  The post  discusses how “addiction” to technology is sapping of us quality time with our families. (If you’ve never read it I strongly encourage you to.) I have to admit it was pretty eye-opening for me. I am guilty of many things on that list.

How many times had Lovey or Kitten asked me a question that I answered from behind a screen?  Kitten will try to push herself between me and the counter that the phone is on so that I will look at her.  I can’t say those are my proudest moments.

Do I really need to check FB, or Pinterest, or play Socks while I’m “watching” a show with Lovey? I’m sure she’d be happier with me if I was actively engaged in what she was engaged in.

Why exactly is it of vital importance that I check FB first thing in the morning? Really?

Access to technology has taken over our lives. In fact, I’m typing this post when I should really be eating lunch. Once the initial shock of being told I was without a smartphone for 1-3 days (the horror!) I relaxed and started to enjoy it. It freed up time in my day that would otherwise be spent doing who-knows-what online. I noticed my kids more. It saddens me to think how much I didn’t notice when I did have the phone in my hand. I was engaged in my life, rather than just living it. It was wonderful.

My phone is now back in my hot little hands after its brief vacation with the Geek Squad. My habits haven’t completely changed, but I will say that I am more mindful of them. I don’t need to have an all-access pass to technology and be connected at all times. Moving forward, I’m hoping to be more connected to the things around me, not the things on some silly screen.

 

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