Dear mama who scrolls on her phone, I have done it too much too. There is something about trying to get away from the stresses of motherhood that draws some of us to the screen in our hands. It seems like a little break that should pick us up. Unfortunately, we usually find out too late that it doesn’t.
Screen Time Control For our Children
Lately we hear a lot about the dangers of too much screen time for our children. I recently read of a mom wondering what she could do because her 20 year old son was hooked to gaming and would get very angry if he was asked to do anything else. It made me sad to read about that level of life, where you can enjoy nothing else.
See the video.
In my toughest mothering season where I desperately needed some time for myself, I started letting my children watch a video every time after their bath, when I would take my bath. The videos had nothing wrong, and they gave me a bit of time to just have a break. More recently we felt that especially now that some of the older ones are more capable of entertaining themselves, it was time to change.
We try to keep it to once a week that they can watch something. I still use it as a tool for when I need to do something and need them to be entertained, but it feels good to think that it doesn’t need to be so often.
My children have always played a lot. I enjoy seeing that they are capable of enjoying themselves very much, even without screens every day. They climb trees, collect bugs and caterpillars, make mud cakes, and certainly aren’t missing out on a rich childhood for it.
You can hear more about screen control for your children in this video by Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.
That is all good. But what about for us mamas?
Screen Time Control for Moms
Maybe we have more mental capacity to handle screens. Or maybe not. Lately I have been thinking all about this thing of screen time for us moms. I remember stories, and know for myself the times that being on my phone has made me snap at my children. I have started reading about other moms who chose to cut down on screen time for themselves, while doing it very intentionally for their children too.
As I worked on cutting down my screen time, I started noticing something. I often grabbed my phone when nursing the baby. It was becoming a bad habit though I thought it surely couldn’t affect much. But when I put it aside and paid attention to my other children, the quarreling and bickering level went way down. It’s as though our children know when we are present for them, and when they feel heard and seen they don’t need to prove something of their worth to their siblings.
Get someone to put a password on some of your apps.
There are several things my husband and I have done to try to be more present and intentional with our phone time. We have Google and other social media apps with a lock code. Each of us has to give the other “permission” to use those things. I know for me it cuts way down on the time I spend on my phone because I can’t do scrolling when my husband is at work. If I use it too much when he is around, he can remind me of how I really want to spend my time.
Occasionally we need to get into some password protected page when the other person is not around so then we just ask the other for the password, and change it next time we are together again. You can find different apps that do that. I use Norton App Lock. It works well for us.
Grayscale your phone, and time your phone use.
I use my phone mostly for taking pictures and messaging. Those are not bad things, and often don’t take as much time as scrolling through social media. Even so, I often choose to put it on grayscale so that I am not so drawn to the colors (and baby pictures actually look very cute in black and white). I also sometimes use an app that tells me how much time I spend on my phone. It reminds me to make sure that most of the time I spend on there is when my little ones are in bed.
It’s not that phones are all bad, it’s just that it is bad when we use them and neglect our family, or when we use them as a drug to numb us to the hard realities we need to feel and work through. Life is much deeper that the rectangle in our hands that has a way of drawing us in and causing us to shut out the world around us.
Put your phone aside.
Dear mama, I encourage you to put that phone aside. Set limits for yourself as you do for your children (or start for them too if you haven’t yet.) Live the present reality. Use your phone as a tool for good, but don’t let it take from the good you could be doing.
You will see as you choose to be intentional with your time and present with your children what a blessing it can be. I am sure some of the quarreling among your little ones will cut down. You will be able to start thinking more about whatever systems you need to put in place to do what you need to do. As you spend less time scrolling, you will be able to do more of what you need to do, and that will cut down on your overwhelm.
Yes, life is full. Yes, I want to be an intentional mom. When I use my phone intentionally, I have more time to do what really matters. While nursing my baby I can read to my other children, something I have always wanted to do but “didn’t have the time for.”
You can do it too, mama!
Save it for later.