I have been accidentally leaving my phone at home a lot lately. I’ll race out to run errands or attend one of my children’s events and realize that I forgot it again.
This being without my phone is new for me. I think one of two things is happening. The first possibility is that I am losing my mind. The second is that I don’t want my phone to be the boss of me anymore.
Sometimes, when I leave my phone, it’s a big deal because logistics need to be handled and kids need to be picked up from practice. Usually though, it’s just fine that I am away from my phone for a few hours.
I am not Secretary of State or a heart surgeon. Even my most pressing matters can wait.
Here’s what I don’t love about my phone: it makes me feel bad about my life. (I’m looking at you, social media apps.) My family has had Fall Break these past few days . On Friday night, Bryan and Caroline were at a race in Florida, Caleb was at play practice and the twins and I were at home. I let them eat the scary mac and cheese that includes the neon orange sauce. We watched videos of baby goats in pajamas. I admired the new pine straw in our front yard and generally felt like we were doing okay.
Then, I opened Facebook and Instagram and decided that we sucked as a family. People were on glamorous trips with their families; people were surprising their kids with activities; people were making memories on their Fall Break.
I had been fine with my life just a few moments before, but I quickly decided that I was living the life of a scullery maid. And I’d just poisoned my precious children with processed food.
I’m too old for this “compare and despair” game. I’m not a new mom and I know that my kids are basically fine. So, I decided to take social media off my phone. I’ve done this before and it feels like a kind of reset on reality. Do I really need to get updates from people I probably but not definitely went to high school with throughout the day? Do I need to look at other families instead of the one right in front of me? Do I gain anything from scrolling through my accounts at a stoplight? I think I look at social media to get some idea of how I’m supposed to be doing my job as a mom, but instead, I usually feel like everyone else but me has it figured out.
I end up resenting people that I actually really like in real life. I don’t like this side of myself, the one that feels left out and inadequate and jealous.
We are all shaped by what we read and and watch and scroll through and do. I want to be shaped more by real live people instead of by their curated lives. I want to have adventures with my family without feeling like I need to report back via social media. I want to figure out how to be a better mom by actually spending time with great moms.
When I forget my phone at home, I talk to my kids more, daydream more and observe the people around me more. This is good for my brain and my heart. I think I’ll keep doing it.