How unplugging made me a happier parent

Written by: Amanda Simkin

 
A few weeks ago while hanging out with my boys in their playroom, my four year old looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m so glad you’re playing with us and not with your phone.” There it was, the punch in the gut that totally and utterly changed my social media habit.
 
You see, I’m a blogger, so social media is absolutely VITAL to my business. But here’s the thing. I wasn’t keeping my work life and home life separate—it creeped in every day through me checking my phone way too often and not being as present as I would have liked.
 
Although it absolutely stung to hear my sweet boy call me out, I knew that something had to be done. And let me tell you—it was so incredibly hard to unplug. So what I did was take baby steps to overcome my social media addiction in a way that still allowed me to have my blog thrive. But even more importantly, the happiness of my whole entire family improved as well.  
 
How did I do it? By prioritizing. Like most moms, my family is a top priority. So I straight up asked them how they would like to spend time with me and did what they asked. 
 
Although my initial social media detox was hard, I slowly started realizing that I was accomplishing so much more than I had when I was chained to my phone. I was also having more fun--painting alongside my boys and becoming a kid again. While I’m still blogging away, the majority of my time is spent writing and researching my pieces instead of working like crazy to promote them, and I truly couldn’t be happier.
 
Unplugging tips that worked for me
 
1. Keep track of your social media usage for a week. Then make a concrete plan to reduce your usage.
 
2. Set a schedule for when you will allow yourself to check social media and STICK WITH IT. My favorite ways to limit my stubborn self? Through apps and websites such as Facebook Limiter, Social Network Limiter and Minutes Please
 
3. Remove as many social media apps as possible. 
 
4. Turn off notifications. 
 
5. Leave groups. Stick to your favorite few and ditch the rest.
 
6. Remember that less is more. No one needs to see every cute picture of your kid to know that he or she is adorable.
 
7. Ditch your phone whenever possible. Leave it at the bottom of your diaper bag, in the other room, turn it face down or even put it on silent mode and enjoy the peace and quiet.
 
How have you found ways to unplug? I would love to hear your stories of success!
 
Amanda Simkin, a lifelong Chicagoan, created her blog (queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com) to share how she celebrates motherhood in Chicago. She offers “insider’s guides” for both well-known and off-the-beaten-path family-friendly gems. Her fans include Red Tricycle Chicago and Chicago Parent Magazine.

 

Posted on January 18, 2016 at 10:25 AM

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1 Replies

  • YES

    Love this piece, short and sweet and such easy tips!

    by Eirene Heidelberger on 01/19 at 05:30AM

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