My smartphone gave out a couple of weeks ago. Without much thought I ordered a new one right away and braced myself for the “inconveniences” I would have to face. It should be said that originally I didn’t really want a smartphone, but I caved to the idea that I could use it as a “tool” for work and better efficiency in my daily life. Before I got my first smartphone (the one that died) I enjoyed a bliss-filled year-plus of cell-phone-free living. Five days without a smartphone convinced me that it’s time to reassess.
Here’s what I noticed in five days without instant access to Internet, email, and apps.
I paid better attention to my kids.
This one is difficult to admit. I felt that I already had pretty strict no-technology-when-the-kids-are-around habits in place for myself, but I’ve been slipping. It’s too easy to jump on Pinterest or feedly when I have a few minutes to kill, rather than read a story to my boys. When I am being diligent about staying focused on the present moment, the knowledge that those distractions are only a few taps away become resentment-inducing.
In the time I was without my phone I listened and connected better with my kids; our days were just happier. I paid better attention, which helped me get the jump on squabbles. They weren’t competing for my attention with my phone, so I didn’t get annoyed.
And, as if I need any more convincing, I can’t get these two incidents (which just happened in the last 24 hours) out of my head:
Spud: “Computers are fun.”
Me: “Yes, but there are lots of fun things to do (I’m thinking like read, go on walks, etc.).”
Spud: “Yeah, like phones!!!” (Ouch).
FB, whose interest in books is growing enough that he brings me books and demands re-reads (over and over), climbed in my lap with one of his favorites. I prepared to read, but he wasn’t ready to start. “Phone,” he said, and motioned for me to put it under my leg (my common practice to keep him from stealing it). This demand happened on several different occasions, and I can only assume that he’s caught me looking at my phone on the sly during my multiple recitations of The Berenstain Bears Ride the Thunderbolt and didn’t appreciate it. (Ouch again).
My kids are more than enough reason for me to return to a more archaic cell phone, but here are a few more things I appreciated about being smartphone-free.