Getting curious instead of self-critical when things don’t go as planned

How did my first weekend go without my phone? Well, did I keep my phone out of reach in a drawer the whole time between when my children were awake until when they went to bed? No. Did I learn a lot about my phone usage beyond social media? Yes.

A previous me might have been disappointed in myself and considered the times when I reached for my phone a failure. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to get curious and either change more habits or refine my phone restriction.

What did I want when I reached for my phone?

  • To keep tabs on my sleeping baby on the web cam
  • To record my toddler’s and baby’s sleep in my phone app
  • To have my phone on hand in case I was contacted about a problem regarding the food I ordered to have delivered
  • To capture moments of my toddler and/or baby being especially cute/funny
  • To check the time

In order to truly let go of my phone, I realize I need to take a look at the above and determine whether the need can be met without my phone or whether I need to redefine my no-phone-on-weekends rule to allow for certain exceptions. So, one by one, I made that call..

Keeping tabs on my sleeping baby on the web cam
This one I was actually able to catch in the moment. Instead of pulling the monitor up on my phone, I did so on my tablet. On the surface, it might not seem like a better switch, but I have a lot fewer apps on my tablet and its size allows me to look at the screen more easily without picking it up (which would increase the temptation of going down a rabbit hole of other apps)

Recording my toddler’s and baby’s sleep in my phone app
First of all, I’m not even sure whether recording my children’s sleep is actually helpful or if it just stresses me out that they aren’t getting as much as experts say they should be. But I’m not yet willing to let it go. In the meantime, I could keep a small notepad with me and jot the sleep times down on paper to be added to the app during my allowed phone usage times.

Having my phone on hand in case of contact from a food delivery service
I don’t really have an answer to this that allows me to keep my phone tucked away without consequence. I’ve been contacted by food delivery by phone call or text before and if I miss these, typically the order is held until it is canceled. So, I’m making a phone use exception here. When I order food through a delivery service, I can take my phone off Do Not Disturb (which I usually keep on) and keep it close to my person.

Capturing special moments of my children
I think this one may require some deeper thought. On the one hand, one of my main goals of putting the phone down is to allow myself to be fully present in the moment, on the other hand, I do really enjoy looking back at photos and videos I’ve taken. My gut says that most moments are probably best lived rather than seen behind a camera lens and I should embrace that by allowing most photo opportunities to pass.

Checking the time
This one is pretty simple.. I can get a watch. I think I even have one somewhere, or I have an old FitBit that also tells the time.

All-in-all, I’m pretty proud of myself and despite the fact that I wasn’t perfect, I’m calling my weekend efforts a win. It feels like a great example of my living to my self-given title: mindful perfectionist. Seeking perfectionism where it matters and embracing imperfection for everything else.

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