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My accidental blogging break

by Meagan Francis on July 24, 2012

my sister Kathreen (to the right) and I, by the third night of our trip (yes, I'm laughing - hysterically - behind my hand)

Last weekend I went to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario with my husband, my sister, and her boyfriend. I meant to put up at least one blog post while I was gone, send some tweets and maybe update my Facebook status a few times.

Instead, a confluence of events conspired to keep my hands free and my weekend disconnected from the outside world. And I have to say, once I got past the anxiety of being out of touch, I loved it. It was really good for me to be forced to focus fully on the people I was with, and to stop worrying about what other people might be wanting to get in touch with me, or why.

Yes, even my kids. Over at my Babble blog, I’ve made a case for forgetting the phones when you go out or go away…even if you’ve left the kids at home, too. Whether you disconnect for a few hours or a few days, it’s seriously therapeutic to get some time away from the constant flashing needs of digital life, and I think my mental “reboot” has been great for my family.

From my post:

By Friday afternoon, when we needed to know the time, we realized that apparently nobody wears wristwatches anymore, and also, no one in our group had brought along a digital communication device.

At first, that realization made me anxious. What if my mother-in-law needed to get in touch with us about the kids?

But then I recalled that when I was younger, parents left their kids places all the time without being immediately reachable. School, for example. If you got sick and your mom was at the grocery store or on another call at work, then…you waited. If your parents went out to dinner, they left the name of the restaurant for the sitter and went on their merry way.

And though, for the first day or so I kept finding my fingers reaching unconsciously for my purse, by Friday evening I had gotten used to it and by Saturday I had reached a state of extreme relaxation. There is something so nice about just being with the people you are with, instead of always feeling that pull toward the outer world or being tempted to surreptitiously check your phone under the table. (What, me?)

I’d love for you to read the rest of the post and tell me what you think. Do you always take your phone with you when you go out without the kids? I’m going to make a point of leaving mine in the hotel room more often when I’m on non-work-related trips, and leaving it at home entirely when I’m out for just a few hours.

That means that I’ll be a little scarcer than usual over the next few weeks, as I have several trips planned. I turn 35 this Friday (woohoo!) and have a birthday evening planned with Jon and some good friends of ours up in Grand Rapids, and then the kids and I will be spending the following weekend with a big group of online mom friends, many of whom I’ve known since 1998. (wow!)

So you won’t see as many tweets, FB posts or blog posts as usual from me over the next few weeks, but I’ll be back with a vengeance August with stories to tell (hopefully many that involve the kind of hysterical laughter you see captured in the photo above), thoughts a-brewing, and I’m guessing, a serious sense of renewed energy. I’m still mulling over the “having it all” series and will be launching a few fun things around autumn, when I know I’ll be ready for life to get back to school-year-normal.

But for now, I’m taking a tip from my forced technology break last weekend and extending it a bit longer. Feel free to join in! Baby steps…do you think you can leave the mobile behind next time you go to the grocery store?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tragic Sandwich July 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Even with Baguette at home, I turn my phone off at the movies. It’s not like she’s at home by herself!

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Cory July 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm

No way Jose! I’m too much of a worry-wort about my girls to leave the phone home when they are away from me. I don’t think this is particularly GOOD, it’s just become my nature. I think it would be HARD to try and revert to how my mom behaved before the option of being in touch was available. I’ve had a cell phone since I was 16, and I’ve pretty much been in-touch ever since!

I actually think now-a-days you can almost put yourself in harms way if you are out and about without a cell. There are NO public phone booths where we live. So if I get in a fender bender, I wouldn’t want to rely on the other person to let me use his or her phone. The one time my toddler locked herself and my keys and phone into our van (horrendous situation…) I was blessed by the kindness of a stranger who call the fire department for me. Had he not been there, I would have had to leave the toddler in the van and go back into the grocery store, find a customer service rep., etc… I thank God for that sweet soul who called for me!

Am I doomsday-er or what? I think I’m really just a fraidy-cat, one of those who checks around her car at night for lurking murderers… :-S

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Meagan Francis July 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Cory, I think it depends a lot on your circumstances! I know that when I’m out driving around WITH my kids, I feel a lot better if I have my phone on me. Probably having it with you when driving without the kids is safest, too, though we live less than a mile from the downtown where we usually go out to eat. Maybe the solution is leaving it in the car while I’m in the restaurant or whatever, rather than leaving it at home entirely. But I just know that I’m more tuned in and less distracted when I know my phone isn’t beckoning from my purse!

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Cory July 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I did enjoy being on vacation with the family and not checking email or facebook or anything. We didn’t chat with friends on the phone, just kept the phones with us to communicate with eachother (we had my mom and dad and two cars…)

Once I was at a dinner and we all put our phones in the center of the table. First person to touch them before the meal was done, would have to pay! That was fun! And difficult since you were staring at them in the center of the table! :)

I applaud you for being more unplugged; I think it is a worthwhile venture!

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Casey July 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

I realy enjoyed your post on Babble and am happy to see a bit more about it written here. While I don’t plan on leaving the house without my phone (mostly because it’s my camera), I do keep it on vibrate all the time and am working at being more disciplined not to look at it so much.

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Nina July 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm

It depends.

If I’m at a movie theater where I’m not likely to even hear the phone much less respond to it, then I wouldn’t mind turning it off or leaving it at home.

But otherwise I take it with me. I trust the sitters to know what to do, but I’d still like to know immediately if something serious happened. Similarly, if we’re out and about and we check in to see how he’s doing and turns out he’s doing fine, we’ll feel better extending our outing knowing that he’s doing fine, rather than worrying and wondering if he’s miserable.

So no, I’ll probably still take my phone with me. I know we survived without phones before, but that doesn’t mean its perks are any less pertinent.

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kim moldofsky July 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

It shocks people to hear this, especially my social media peers, but I don’t have a smart phone. I’m on the computer so often at home, that not having a smart phone makes it easy to be offline when I’m out in the world. For blogging events and trips I have a tablet that I use to stay connected.

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playwithyourfood August 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I couldn’t possibly do without my phone, you just never know when there might be a family emergency. But we’re all for unplugging and reconnecting with our people (whenever we can, that is!!)

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