Family Iphone Productivity Technology

Oh CELL No! {How To Be Present and Productive}

I AM THE BULLY!

I have come to the conclusion that putting our three kids to bed is a lot like herding cattle. Just when you think you have corralled them, one goes rogue and sneaks off from the herd. All of the sudden you are in need of a lasso and a stiff drink. Needless to say, the bedtime routine is not for the faint of heart.

My tendency is to behave like a commanding officer in the army: brushed teeth. Check. 30 Second Bath. Check. “Hurry up!” I bark (as if I have an urgent matter to which I must attend – Netflix). I rush through the bedtime story by skipping pages and bedtime songs by speed singing through the nightly tunes (although this becomes harder as our children get older).

Lord, help me if they want to have a life conversation at this moment. Seriously, don’t you know mommy is tired! Mommy has things to do! Why didn’t you ask these questions when it was daylight?

I don’t ask them these questions with my words, but they get the point with my body language. I answer in a quick and efficient way, trying not to show that I am rolling my eyes into the back of my head.

The other night, while wrapping up the bedtime extravaganza with the kids, I suddenly sensed I needed to slow down. So I cuddled up beside my eldest (8), and he started to pour his heart out to me. Just a few days prior, I had told my husband that I didn’t feel connected with him, but here he was displaying incredible vulnerability with his feelings. It felt so good to hear his heart.

He had wanted to play basketball with some friends, and they told him that he couldn’t. They didn’t choose him. My first inclination was to take names of these honoree children and have an intervention. How could they not want to spend time with my amazing son? It was probably because he was obviously far superior at playing ball and they were intimidated. The little bullies who made him feel unloved were going to pay; I had some serious poignant statements rolling around in my brain that would have rocked their little world.

It broke my heart that someone had made my son feel like he didn’t belong, that he wasn’t wanted.

Hiding my anger about the entire playground drama, I ran my fingers through his dark hair and looked into his big blue eyes. My job, to reassure him that he is an amazing young man, I was very proud of him for being brave enough to tell mommy his feelings.

I said: “Sweetie, I want you to know that you can talk to mommy anytime. I am on your team. I want you to know you can tell me when you are scared, hurt, or angry.”

Then, his words came at me like a wrecking ball. “I want to, but I can’t.”

“Of course you can!” I said.

“No, I can’t – because you are on your phone. Every time I want to talk to you, you have your phone in your hands.”

The scariest thing: admitting he was right. As of late, I had become a serial scroller. I was choosing my iPhone over him. Until I loosened my grip on my phone, I was not allowing myself to be free available to love those around me.

I had been angry at the ball hogs that had made my son feel excluded, but I was the real antagonist of this story. I had been making my son feel unloved and unwanted everyday. It wasn’t with my words, but my actions. I had sacrificed my son’s emotional health on the altar of Facebook.

“No, I can’t – because you are on your phone. Every time I want to talk to you, you have your phone in your hands.”

Mommy is unavailable. Mommy values what is on her phone more than you. Mommy thinks her phone is more important than hearing your story. Mommy thinks her social media friends are more exciting than watching you play in the yard.

Every time he saw me with my eyes aimlessly scrolling through another world, he saw a mommy who wasn’t choosing him. I was the bully.

I apologized to my son.

But here is the thing, I can say a lot of words, and I can apologize over and over again, but if my hands are continually on my phone, they are not free to love those around me.

My actions speak louder than my words.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of living like this! I am the only one who gets to be a mother to my children and a wife to my husband. These are the gifts God has given me, and I have been wasting so much of it by being distracted.

Social media can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse. An old friend used to say, “If a good thing becomes a God thing, then is becomes a bad thing.” That means if anything becomes all-consuming (taking a God-like position is our life) no matter how good it is, it loses its value.

How can we take a bad thing and make it into a good thing?

There has to be boundaries when it comes to social media. If we are not controlling our time with entertainment, it will control us.

Being present is the best “present” you can give. When we are present with our families, we testify about a God who is present with us. Immanuel, God with us.

How can we practice being present?:

1. Admit. I had to admit I was an addict. Just like any other drug, our brain becomes accustomed to the high and we think we need it because it gives us pleasure and instant gratification. When our phone is not around, do we freak out or feel anxious that we are missing out on something?
Like any addict, I was hurting those around me.

2. Look into the heart. Are we on social media because we are power hungry, praise hungry, fearful, or lonely, to escape boredom and mundane activities? I have found myself scrolling mindlessly through Facebook in attempt to escape my own life. If we zoom into the heart behind all of the scrolling, we would find not so much a desire to be seen but a desire to be known – a desire to belong.

3. Detox. My husband and I try to plan out certain times where we completely “go dark” with social media. Strangely……the world keeps running!

4. Set boundaries. In order to connect with one another, we have to disconnect. If we don’t there is always someone beeping us or dinging or buzzing every second. It is not realistic to say that we will never get on social media ever again. I have friends that do not use social media at all, but my entire business is on social media. I am not suggesting we never use the “evil” i-phones because that ship is going down like the Titanic! I am suggesting that we learn to steer the ship to safer waters. I would also suggest having an accountability partner that you check in with daily. My accountability will be my husband and some friends who I know are not afraid to ask tough questions and remind me of my priorities.

5. Live by our priorities. I have found this activity to be helpful in determining how to spend my time. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, long ways. On one side of the paper write your priorities. A priority is what is important to you. What makes you happy? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be remembered at the end of your life? My priorities are my faith, family, and fitness. Then on the other side write your daily activities. Cross out anything that does not help or support those priorities. How can you invest in these priorities? How will you use your time? Resources? Energy?

6. Understand the benefits of being disconnected. Contentment. Silent reflection. Focus. Productivity. Create. When we stop consuming, we are free to live. Sing a song, write a book, paint a picture, take a picture (without posting it), plant a garden . . . make something beautiful.

Being present is productive!

Most importantly, live life in such a way you connect to those around you, loosening the grip on our i-phones and free our hands to reach out to those we love!

Let’s stand for FREEDOM and say, “OH CELL NO!”

After all, “It is for freedom you have been set free. Stand firm, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

 

Original Post at http://thegritandgraceproject.org  Come on over!!!

You Might Also Like

4 Comments

  • Lara Hosselton
    April 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Annie, trust me when I say, childhood moves quickly and will not wait for parents to work it into their schedule. This is especially true with boys, who often begin pulling away between ages eight and ten. Treasure every moment while you can because there is nothing more important in your life right now than enjoying your children. You’ve got plenty of time for all that other stuff later on. You’ll never recapture lost time with your kids.

  • Annie Leigh
    April 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Lara,

    Thank YOU!

  • catherine lee
    May 5, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I must admit i do the same thing with my 3 children.ive already deleted my facebook and only have tv to watch dvds on weekends which made me think im doing the right thing. however, now my work has consumed me! So often my kids want to play card games, show off there new tricks on the trampoline or read a book while mummy is “too busy” to be there, The house work is a priority or finding something new to sew. its so easy to put new idols in our heart at the expense of others regardless of what they are. Thankyou for your encouraging words i pray tomorrow when my children wake ill see them as the beautifully created beings god made them to be, and delight in being their mother. ????

  • Annie Leigh
    June 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    Love this! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply