Technology Time-Out


  • Morning baths are some of my favorite moments with the boys. A fresh new day before everything starts  — quiet, sunny, slow.
  • _________________

Visiting with family is the best way to reset my personal clock. My mom came to town last week and we got caught-up with playing together. Whether or not you noticed the lack of posts; it wasn’t my intention to go missing  — more like a spontaneous decision to take a complete technology time-out…

And all the demands that come with it.

The last time the boys and I were at the park, I saw a group of friends (no older than 10) all sitting on top of the monkey bars, feet dangling between the rings, heads bowed staring at their mini smart phone screens. All of them frozen together; not playing with the company around them but engaging virtually with those far away. For the first time in my life, I felt old. Growing up, the closest thing to technology was playing Frogger on a giant arcade machine (joystick style, remember?) in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Times have changed.

Texting, twitter, instagram, facebook, pinterest, tumblr, yada… yada… yikes.

Technology’s virtual mouths are CONSTANTLY asking to be fed, awake 24 hours a day – 365 days a year, always wanting more…

And here’s the reality: they’ll NEVER be satisfied.

In essence, they’re disguised as babies that constantly demand attention over our real ones.

Don’t believe me?

Who do we physically carry around with us more? Our smart devices are attached to our bodies like another appendage.

How many hours are spent surfing rather than playing? Countless hours collecting good ideas for someday isn’t as good as making memories today.

When the ding from a social app/text that interrupts a child’s question and takes priority. Do we respond with a “uh-huh” pretending we’re listening?

Or what about using the time in the car? The kids are buckled in, there’s a few minutes to spare, and it seems like the perfect time to make a phone call. But what conversations are missed with our little ones?

Certainly we don’t text and drive. But what about at the red lights? That’s different, right? We can answer a quick email, respond to a quick text. What excuse will we give our teenagers when they say, but you do it too.

The picture that begs to be “liked” or commented on. We’re just trying to be good supportive friends, of course. But who should be our best friends? Who needs our focused support the most? The picture can remain silent a little longer.

Will our children grow-up measuring their lives based on virtual popularity?

When the child runs up eagerly and excited asking to play; but instead of seeing a loving face, sees the backside of a cell phone. What does that say? I’m looking at something more important, “Hold on a minute.” You can wait. No. Whatever we aren’t doing with our children, can wait.

A lot of these scenarios take place unintentionally. As parents, the love of our children supersedes all else.

But at the end of the day our personal “distractions” can tell our children otherwise.

Some of my friends tease, ‘How do you do it all?’ And my answer is, I don’t.

It’s not humanly possible to do all the most important things… let alone have time for the ones that aren’t as important.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Modern technology can be good and uplifting — enhancing our lives, rather than detracting.

I don’t know where I’d be without FaceTime to call family that’s far away. I’ve grown more than I ever could’ve imagined as a result of blogging and sharing what I love. It’s encouraging to know I can stay continually connected with lifelong friends: to see their families, to hear their stories, to learn from their experiences, and share in their lives no matter the distance.

And it’s all thanks to technology.

As a blogger, it’s a given I’ve chosen to include technology in our lives. Yes, I even caved and started instagramming. But, finding the balance in a technological world is a constant battle I have to consciously fight or I’ll subconsciously lose.

I think it’s a matter of moderation, personal perspective, setting some rules as a family, and sticking to them (which truth be told, I’ve yet to master).

For me, that means:

Be always present with the people who are physically with me.

Have a plan for each day and the activities we’ll share together.

Phone ringer is off and set to vibrate always. Sometimes I hear the phone; most of the time I don’t (can be annoying for Ryan to reach me). ha!

Computer volume is muted.

When at home, my phone stays in a set location. If I leave the room, my phone doesn’t come with me (but yes, you’re right… I run and grab it when I need to capture a picture or two).

Check updates at set times throughout the day.

Set a time limit (even with a timer, if needs be) for how long I can stay online.

Blog only while the boys sleep.

Set aside concentrated “mommy & me time” with each child, each day.

Acknowledge the small moments that matter most – seeing the beauty and joy in the every day little things.

Case and point — the day my mom left, I decided to keep our day restful and fully focused on the boys. It was non-stop play. I have to say, it was one of the best days we’ve had, as far as good behavior goes.

It’s a matter of being present in the present — to allow our children and our experiences to take precedence over the unimportant demands of a technological life. An old adage says it perfectly, “Today is a gift. And that’s why it’s called the present.”

26 Responses to Technology Time-Out

  • tiffany says:

    that’s one thing i love about you – it’s obvious you do the balance well… much of what you blog about is quality time together; and when we’re together with loved ones it’s a natural consequence to leave the devices behind. thank you for sharing! i’m happy to hear your voice again.


  • beth says:

    i too agree with tiffany. i love to read blogs because of their inspiration and guidance in my life. and understand that blogs can be an additional source of income for many families which is such a blessing for stay at home mothers. yours is slightly different from many blogs: how often you blog (shows you’re spending time elsewhere too), what you share is worthwhile and benefits my family too. thank you.


  • lacie says:

    love seeing your sweet family! adorable pictures and powerful words! I don’t have children but think this is so important for everyone in whatever stage of life they’re in.


  • becca says:

    i think you’re right in saying that what our children see us doing will shape what they do when they grow up… both positive and negative. great post!


  • samantha says:

    I love your rule about planning fun activities. That’s where many of us fall short and resort to computers, phones, candy crush (LOVE that game), video games, tv, iPads etc to entertain us and our children. If there’s not a plan technology fills in the time we could be spending together.

    I was at the airport recently and noticed a very similar thing to what you described seeing at the park. Everyone of every age was using some sort of technology. Think of the stories we’d hear and help we’d render if we all put them away and started talking to those around us. Technology is so good when used for good.


  • Kelly Jo says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I have been feeling this way a lot lately. I gave in and got an Instagram, I’m on Pinterest a lot, searching for ideas for ‘someday’ like you said. But it starts to feel overwhelming and it can be hard to find that balance. Nobody ‘does it all’ and that’s so important to remember. Thanks for these inspring words!


  • Marla says:

    Great article. I will be working on all of this myself. Technology does want to take first priority in my life and it does not need to be. So I will be implementing some things you mentioned above into my families lives. Thank you for the wake up call


  • Jill says:

    I had noticed your absence…and I missed you! ;)
    But…you nailed it with this post. I needed this. Thank you for reminding me that I need to make sure my children realize they are way more important than technology! I am going to start “leaving” my phone and not let it be such a distraction. Thank you!


  • Beautiful!!

    …”finding the balance in a technological world is a constant battle I have to consciously fight or I’ll subconsciously lose.” So inspiring. Thank you.


  • Briseidy says:

    Oh my gosh! this is so true, it hit me! you have no idea how much I needed this! I’m so guilty ;( thanks for the reminder..have a great weekend!


  • Hope says:

    Oh my goodness – love this! It’s so important to be in the present and soak up these precious years with our little ones. It goes so fast!
    Love your blog! Thanks for this inspiring post, Missy :)


  • jaclyn says:

    Beautifully written!! You are so right, it is more important to be “there” than to just be there with a phone in hand. This is something we are trying to work on at home with my husby… we started with “hide and seek” with his phone LOL


  • Kelsi says:

    Great post, thank you. The other day, while driving with my husband, he turned to me and said, “I miss you.” I was sitting right next to him, but had been on Instagram. And my first thought was, “No way, have I become that wife? When did that happen? I’ve been so careful!” Technology can sneak so easily into our lives. We, too, are doing the rule thing. Still trying to make the rules into habits, but I’m hoping with time it will come!


  • Cindy says:

    Love this post! One thing I personally feel needs to be added is that all of this doesn’t only apply to our “Mommy/Daddy” role but to our “Wife/Husband” role. I have a techie spouse…and lately as our daughter becomes older and isn’t always around us I am much more aware of the times when its just me & the husby and how much time is spent with each other yet focused on some form of technology in our hand instead of on each other…it’s something I have been striving to change for sometime now; and as you said it does take a concerted effort to make that happen. In the end I believe it’s just as important for the couple because the children are watching us and need to see their parents put each other first above their smartphones etc. The parental quote that comes to my mind is “lead by example”…for when the day comes that they spread their wings and fly away from our nest I would want them to choose a relationship that they put each other first above all the outside techie stuff. XO


  • I am so happy to read that someone else keeps their phone on vibrate, always. I think it annoys my husband, and my father when he tries to call and I miss it. I just hate hearing a jarring ringer from my phone.

    I think taking time to unplug is the best thing anyone these days can do – kudos to you for taking a time out! ox


  • Brianne says:

    I absolutely love this post. I did notice your blog absence and am just glad it was for such good reason and nothing was wrong! ;) Such a good reminder of what is really important!! Have a fabulous weekend!


  • Camille says:

    Such an inspiring post! I have a two little girls, a 3 and 6 year old. I am a stay at home mommy. I have definitely noticed that since my second little girl was born we use so much more technology than I did with my first as a family. Thank you for the beautiful reminder to stay present with the ones who are right there in front of me! Every time I read your blog it puts a smile on my face and inspires me to be a better mommy and person. Thank you and hope your day Sparkles!
    P.s. – I keep my phone on vibrate too and it drives my hubby crazy at times! ;)


  • Vanessa says:

    This was fantastic. I’ve been following you for about a year now and have loved your energy and vibe, but today you were a girl after my own heart.

    sending sparkles to ya, sweetness,
    V


  • Wow…talk about nail on the head! I SO feel what you are saying!! As a blogger, I always wonder how other bloggers can possibly be in the social media spotlight as much as they are and still live a real life. I have two boys and I have been guilty of all of the techy sins on your list. This is a great reminder to us all that we do NOT have to be plugged into our technology 24/7. My boys are my life and they need to be my focus! Great share! XO


  • Mk says:

    Ironic post from a blogger (no offense intended)……people spend so much time documenting (taking photos) of an event that they miss out on truly living in the moment of the event and letting it happen naturally, instead real life events are turning into a styled photo shoot complete with poses. It’s a weird thing when a real life to be lived crosses with a styled photo shot….sometimes I feel like blogs, Pinterest, Instagram etc are pushing folks that way.
    Often times my best times are not documented with pictures because I am so wrapped up in the moment, people, and event that stopping to pull my camera or phone out to snap a picture doesn’t cross my mind….and that is ok! I can relive and RETELL the moment with friends. ….seems we create events so that we can document them.


  • So VERY true! I am a huge believer in taking a time out from technology for 2-3 hours at least everyday. I know this does not sound like a lot but I can tell you I was attached to my phone in the past and it took me into a bad depression because I never took the time to care about those around me! It is sad how our phones are now what makes or breaks our days, it is sad that one little device has so much pull and control over us and I pray that one day we can all see that this is not healthy! Thanks for sharing :) xo C


  • Karen says:

    I just discovered your blog and I think you are fabulous! I love your beauty tutorials and recipes. I have three little girls and I love seeing other moms making so much of their talents with blogs….On this note, I think reading your blog is super light and uplifting and I just love it! thanks !!


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