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September 17, 2014

"Hands-Free Mama" - Finding Balance with Technology

"Hands-Free Mama" - Finding Balance with Technology
"Hands-Free Mama"

At the beginning of the summer, I showed you this stack of books - my stack of summer reads! I am happy to tell you that I finished them...all of them. I would love to go grab coffee with you so I could tell you all the things I learned and all the ways I was challenged! If you missed my comments on the Melanie Shankle books and "Everyday Confetti", check them out! If you missed my post about the Sally Clarkson books, I hope you'll visit that post as well. Today, I want to chat a little bit about "Hands Free Mama".
Let me begin by saying, I think technology - as a whole - oftentimes gets a bad rap! Mothers are given a hard time for being on their phones...but I'm not so sure all of this guilt is fair. Years ago, our mothers and grandmothers spent time looking through their recipe books, sitting on the porch chatting with a friend, reading their Bible, writing letters, flipping through catalogs, making phone calls, etc. They were never given a hard time about these things. They weren't made to feel guilty for spending their time doing things that enhanced the beauty/organization/flow of their homes.

So when I'm on Pinterest searching for healthy recipes. Or when I'm e-mailing an out-of-town relative. Or when I'm reading my devotional e-mails from Proverbs 31. Or when I'm shooting a message to my boys' pediatrician. Or when I'm on Amazon ordering baby wipes. Or when I'm reading a blog post that is encouraging me to be a better wife and mom....Can I ask what on earth the problem is?

I get it....We are all guilty of wasting time. I realize that not all of our interactions with technology are quite so profitable. However, the reality is that my cookbook, my calendar, my reading material, my grocery list, and often times my Bible is all present in one place...on my phone. I think that's pretty incredible. So why the constant guilt trip?

With that being said, I could see where some might feel that the Hands-Free Revolution leads them to feel guilty every time they pick up their phone. However, I do not necessarily think that is the intention. Overall, I think the book's purpose is to encourage readers to be present in the day-to-day moments that are oftentimes taken for granted, and I love that - because even though the advances in technology are pretty great, an obsession with it can cause us to miss out the small moments that make life so special.

Here are a few steps I have taken to find balance in this area:

Phone Volume - 99.9% of the time, my phone is in silent mode. The only exception is when I'm away from my children. If my little guys are with a babysitter, I want to be immediately accessible. Other than that, I do not want to be distracted by phone calls, social media notifications, etc. This allows me to check my phone when I can and respond when I am able.

Voicemail - I reached a point where I felt like I was wasting too much time checking my voicemail. It would take me forever to get to a new message, and the caller would say something along the lines of: "Hey, it's me! Call me when you get a chance." Uh...could they not have just sent me a text? Seriously, it was driving me nuts. So, I gave up on using voicemail altogether. If someone needs to reach me, there are multiple other ways to do so - Send me an e-mail; text me; shoot me a Facebook message, but when it comes to voicemail, I'm done. I will sometimes receive e-mails from individuals trying to reach me. They are in a panic and feel that it is urgent that I know my voicemail box is full and that they were unable to leave me a message. This cracks me up as most of the time I have already told them (multiple times) that "E-mail is my preferred method of contact." Eventually, they get the hint...

Family Time - Phones, tablets, etc. do  not join us for mealtimes. No exceptions. They are not welcome on family walks, trips to the parks, etc. If they come along (in case of emergency), they stay tucked away in a zippered pocket in the stroller. When we're at the pool, phones stay in the pool bag...unless I need to snap a picture, of course.

Internet Access - If I'm needing to be especially productive or if I need to really disconnect, I will turn the Internet access off on my phone. I love the feeling of being truly alone...even if it's just for a few minutes.

Be prepared - Establishing boundaries in this area will frustrate some your friends and family, but make no apologies about being protective of your time and space. It is completely healthy, and I promise you will reap many, many benefits from a few healthy perimeters.

For more on how we approach Screen-Time at our House, check out:
If you are a blogger, here are a few ways I've found balance in that area:

To My Fellow Mommy Bloggers

To wrap things up with my summer books, I want to mention One Thousand Gifts.
While the author's style of writing is not necessarily my personal favorite, she is most definitely a gifted and expressive writer who really challenges you to savor the moments that God has gifted you with each day, and that is definitely a great reminder for all of us!

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