Discover Spiritual Practices to Keep God at the Center of Your Family Life Read More
Rebecca St James

“Julia Roller has written a wonderful book for moms who long to freshly connect with God. She explores spiritual disciplines in a beautifully honest, practical and humorous way. What a wonderful resource for all of us.”

 

Sign Up & Get The Real Life Prayer Book for Moms

Keep in touch with my blog and newsletter, "Out of the Chaos", with more stories about meeting God in family life, plus contests and giveaways.
I respect your privacy. I will never share or sell your email.

How Motherhood Brought Me Closer to God

Recent Blog Posts

Digital Detox: Four Ways to Stay Unplugged at Home

My last post was about our week away from technology at my husband’s family cabin and how much we appreciated the silence and a change to do a little bit of digital detox.

And then we came back home.

Once we drove back down into cell and wi-fi range, my phone went crazy downloading all those texts and emails that had come in while we’d been away. As we stopped at a gas station, I scrolled through the email list, trying to triage some of the items, and felt a familiar sense of anxiety and dread settling over me. Back to the real world. Back to mini-crises and urgent responses needed. Receiving all those messages felt very oppressive, even after only having been away from them for a short time. All of a sudden, instead of just enjoying the car journey, I felt hopelessly behind and in need of catching up.

I had almost forgotten the way that answering emails and messages used to be something you did once in a while, not all day long. A week of digital detox helped me to remember that I didn’t want to spend my entire day glued to my smartphone, and I wanted to bring some of that intentionality about using technology and also some time away from it into our home life.

Here are the strategies I’ve been using.

Phone on the kitchen counter

1. LEAVE MY PHONE IN A DESIGNATED PLACE AT HOME.

I realized that I was carrying my phone around with me everywhere, so that I wouldn’t miss a text or an email. I bet I’m not alone in this. Be honest: how many of you carry your phones with you to the bathroom?! But with no new messages coming in, there was no need for my phone to be an extra appendage. This experience had reminded me that it wasn’t essential that I read and then answer every single message or text immediately. If I leave my phone in its spot on the kitchen counter, I can hear a ring from anywhere in the house (it’s a small house!) but I don’t have to pick up the phone and read every single message or email that comes in the second it comes in. Catching up here and there is enough. (Plus, I have found that I spend a lot less time calling my cell  from my home phone so that I can find it since I usually know where it is now!)

 

2. CHARGE IT AWAY FROM MY BEDROOM.

It’s so very tempting to charge your phone RIGHT next to your bed at night–then you can wake up to music on your playlist or even track your REM sleep. But I realized that the first thing I was doing in the morning was reaching for my phone. That is not the way I want to begin each day, not to mention the fact that I could hear the buzz or see the screen flash occasionally as texts and emails came in during the night.  So I now charge my phone in the kitchen instead. That way, by the time I make it in there, ready to make breakfast and school lunches, then I can decide whether I want to take the time to check it or not. Usually by that point in the morning, I figure it can wait another few minutes until the kids are fed and we’ve gotten on with the day.

 

3. SCHEDULE A SPECIFIC TIME FOR ANSWERING EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA.

Email and social media are the creatures that seem to creep into all the crevices of my day. I just think I’ll take a quick second to check email and then fall into a pit of, well not exactly, despair, but busyness and distraction. It always takes longer than I think it will, and I usually end up not accomplishing very much. In fact, I’ve noticed that although I often read emails on my phone, I tend to wait to respond to them until I can sit down at the computer, so then they’re just nagging away at me or worse, getting lost in my inbox never to be seen again. Much better for me to take a few minutes when I can sit down at the computer to go through all the emails at once and then spend a few minutes with Facebook or Twitter. For me this comes in the 9:30 or so hour after I’ve gotten the kids to school and have some time to catch up uninterrupted. On non-school weekdays, I still try to check in during those times while they’re playing. I still do check my emails  on my phone at other times of the day but having a designated time to go through them and respond so helps me feel less anxious about the emails that may be piling up.

 

Phone at home

4. FORGET MY PHONE (ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE).

Yep, that’s right. Just leave it behind sometimes. I don’t feel comfortable doing this when my boys are at school or with someone else because I want to be able to get to them immediately if something were to happen, but when they’re with me, I just forget the phone on purpose sometimes. It’s a good reminder that I don’t always need to be available to everyone. Sometimes I  need to be available just to my boys.

 

How about you? Any successful digital detox strategies?

 

The Joy of Parenting

I’ve seen A LOT of Shamu shows. Living as we do in San Diego, we often find ourselves stopping in at Sea World to feed the seals and sea lions, check out the sharks, and of course, see the orcas. Both my sons love orcas and thrill to the sight of these majestic black-and-white creatures […]

read more

Five Tips for Flying with Small Children

We live in San Diego, and my parents live in the St. Louis area, so ever since I became a mom, I’ve racked up quite a few frequent flier miles just going back and forth. We even fly up to visit my husband’s parents, although we live in the same state. (What can I say? […]

read more

Three Goals for a Simpler Summer

  School ended on Friday, and we are now officially on summer vacation, as my 4-year-old keeps excitedly reminding us. We celebrated with a family trip to the drive-in to see How To Train Your Dragon 2.   And now here we are with a beautiful summer stretching out before us. Aahhhh….No school lunches to […]

read more

A Story Unfinished

Matt Mooney’s powerful book A Story Unfinished: 99 Days with Eliot is the kind of book parents like me don’t really want to read. It’s blunt and honest and covers ground most of us don’t even want to think about: the loss of a child. Yet I find myself tremendously glad for the time I […]

read more

Moving Past “Good Enough”

Last month the first grade project was building a diorama to display an animal of the student’s choice. My son came home all fired up to get started, and after I got him a shoebox, he pretty much went to town. He chose raptors, which is more of a group of animals than an animal, […]

read more