Parenting

What I Learned by Going Phone-Free for a Day

woman on the phoneI’m a phone addict. I literally have panic attacks if I can’t find my phone for a few minutes in the bottom of my bag. When I recently smashed my iPhone, I was so desperate to keep connected that I still used it, risking shards of glass in my fingers until I could get it fixed. I know -- I’m a desperate case.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how bad this addiction is, and gave myself the challenge to spend a day without my phone. I made it a bit easier on myself by choosing a day where I had a lot of fun things planned with my family. (I hoped this would help my phone withdrawal!) I also prepared by wearing a watch -- that way, I could check my wrist for the time instead of getting out my phone and being tempted by the Facebook gods.

Here's how I did -- and what I learned -- in those 24 hours:

Morning
We decided to drive to a park near a friend’s house. Since we hadn’t been there before, we needed to use one of our iPhones for driving directions. Uh oh. We’d only just left the house and I already had to cheat on my no phone day. During the car ride, though, I made more of an effort than I usually would to chat with my husband. Typically, I’d scroll through Facebook and Instagram while he’s concentrating on the road. It was nice to pay more attention to what was going on around me -- and also nice not to feel car sick! Unfortunately, when we arrived, I had to cheat again when I saw a message from a friend arranging to meet us in the park. I did, however, ignore the Instagram notifications (score for me!) and didn't look at my phone again until I needed the driving directions for the return trip home. Another perk of my phone-free day: I brought my SLR camera with me and got some absolutely amazing pictures of the kids instead of mediocre iPhone ones.

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Lunch
My husband and I said goodbye to our friend and took our daughter to lunch at a nearby cafe. Usually, we would both spend a bit of time checking our phones after putting in our orders. I held firm, though, and encouraged my husband to do the same. I won’t lie -- I was itching to check my email/Facebook/Instagram by this point, but I left the phone in my bag.

Afternoon
After lunch, it got easier. We went on a long walk and and played with our daughter, then ordered huge ice creams from a local shop. Without any distraction from my phone, I was really able to engage with my husband and daughter (who was, by the way, thrilled to not have to tell Mommy to "put down the phone!"). I struggled with not being able to write down notes for this story -- and my grocery list -- in my notes app, but I managed.


The results
I actually handled the phone-free day better than I thought I would in terms of my social media addictions. I realized my downfall is taking photos. After I take them, I often upload them straight to social media, and then get trapped looking at updates and "liking" and commenting on other posts. While my SLR camera isn’t nearly as convenient, the photos are 100 times better than those from my phone and I also don’t get tempted by the social media trap at the same time.

More from The Stir: I Made My Daughter Go 'Screen-Free' & It Drove Our Family Apart

Another realization: Having my phone is very important! It’s my primary means of communication, notes, lists, calendar alerts and navigation. Of course, these aren't the actions that can be considered "time sucks" when it comes to phones. After my experience, I'm going to do my best to limit my phone usage to utilities like these and keep all other uses until dinner each night. (We'll see how I do!)

Have you ever gone phone-free? What'd you learn?

Originally appeared on MommyNearest.com.


Written by Christine Knight. Christine is a writer, editor and marketing strategist. Her blog, Adventure, Baby!, is a guide to navigating the world and parenthood. Follow her travel, food and parenting mishaps over Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.


Image via iStock/Jaim924

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