What I Learned The Month I Went Without A Cellphone

In Parenting by Jen43 Comments

Over a month ago my cellphone had a very unfortunate run in with a bottle of Gatorade. At first I was hopeful that Jen’s Guy could fix it, because he can pretty much fix anything. He suggested a treatment involving a bag of rice and complete submersion of my phone in said bag of rice. This treatment lasted for a week and I have to say that my first week sans cellphone was hard. I alternated between moments of despondency and feeling completely disconnected from the world.

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And then I would have moments of surging power wherein I would remember that my childhood, teenage years, and even the majority of my pre-adult years had been cellphone free! I had survived it all then, armed only with a pair of penny loafers with quarters in the front slots so that I could call home when needed.

After a week Jen’s Guy sadly pronounced that my phone was officially dead and he could do no more to help resuscitate it. Since I am lucky enough to have a technologically skilled husband, there was no insurance plan on my phone and due to a list of other pressing financial requirements it looked like we would need to wait a bit to replace it. So with no other option available to me, I began to live a life cell phone free.

I admit to feeling a little embarrassed at first when I had to ask to use other people’s phones or ask what time it was, and also when explaining to my children’s school and teachers why they had been unable to reach me on my cellphone. But I survived for a week and then it turned into two and then it became well over a month without a cellphone. It was interesting, but once I arrived at that point I really didn’t care about having one anymore, but this week my family forcefully compelled me by saying it was to time for me to finally get a new one. Truthfully, I think it was the fact that Jen’s Guy was tired of having to manage my Instagram account on his cellphone…

So now I am the proud owner of a brand new cellphone. But my weeks without one have left me with some pretty valuable lessons that I hope to carry with me going forward.

Being “Connected” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be.

I learned I had been missing out on a lot, by being so “connected”. Without my cellphone I became much more engaged in the real moment and not the virtual one my cellphone had provided. At the park I found myself playing, engaging and enjoying what was really going on without the distractions of my cellphone.I found the same to be true pretty much everywhere I went that I used to have a cellphone. It had hampered my ability to really connect with real life people.

I will no longer mistake being connected, for actually living a life full of real people and real enjoyment.

Sometimes Silence Is Golden.

There is something very freeing about not being able to be reached all of the time, especially at times which I normally would have felt duty bound to answer my cellphone even if it was inconvenient. I liked being able to tell people when they could reach me, informing them when I would be home and that they could reach me then. It was like setting my own hours for phone calls, and it was fabulous!

An unexpected side benefit for all of this was that it forced my children to be more responsible. Double checking they had all of the things they needed for the day, because they knew Dad would be at work and Mom might not be available to contact for quick drop offs of items they had forgotten at home. I hope this little self motivated benefit continues in our family.

Distracted Cellphone Drivers Stink.

I had become an unsafe driver. How easy it is to be easily distracted by your cellphone while driving. Now that I have a cellphone again, I have decided that I will no longer answer it while driving. If you need me you can wait.

Real Life Is So Much Better.

I had allowed my life to become too full of technological distractions that pulled me away from fully enjoying life and I will no longer allow any form of technology to do that to me. I will use technology as a tool, but I will not allow it to replace the moments which matter.

I am embarrassed to admit how much my cellphone had been affecting my life and not in a positive way, but I feel like I now have a renewed focus for how I can use it in a way that will positively enhance my life.

One of the reasons I ultimately decided to pick up a new cellphone was for business purposes. I have had a wonderful month with many blogging opportunities that have come my way. I am grateful for these opportunities and for the blessings they have provided for my family. The life of a blogger is always changing, and in order to stay current there are some advances I need to make in my blogging world.

One of those is the use and addition of Periscope. So I will be trying my hand at it and hoping not to become a big old train wreck over there. If you are interested in “meeting” me in real life, I will be doing my first scope this Tuesday 10/6, well unless we drop a surprise trip to Disneyland or someplace else on the kids, because we just might. You can find me over there at QueenMomJen. I will make sure to post when my scopes will be happening on Facebook, so if you are a scoper, make sure to follow me over there!

Thank you to everyone who follows JENerally Informed and supports my little corner of the blog-o-sphere. Your time is precious and I am grateful you have chosen to spend some of it here!

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!

Love,

Jen




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Comments

  1. Jen, I am so guilty and I wish I could say I was as patient as you when I got my phone wet at Disney World (of all places). I tried the bag of rice trick as the hotel staff were kind enough to provide. But when that didn’t work, I overpaid for a taxi ride to and from the local mall and overpaid even more to get my phone fixed at the local Apple Store, so I only went without a phone for about a day, but just couldn’t imagine going longer. Still, my hat is off to you and loved the lessons you learned, too ;)
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Apples Galore with Perfect Pie RecipeMy Profile

    1. Author

      I think the bag of rice would have worked on mine if it had been just water. It sucked out a ton of water with the rice, but since it was sticky the screen was dead.

      Thanks Janine! It really was interesting experiment that I learned a lot from. Hoping to not fall back into bad habits!

  2. The last time I had a cell phone I was still working. I had two, one for work and my personal one. I’ve not had a cell phone since and I don’t want one. I don’t want to be like all the folks I see with their head stuck looking at their phones. Or texting while driving. No, please I just can’t do that.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Awww MondaysMy Profile

  3. I think it is just freaking awesome that you went a whole month without a cell phone…. and survived. Almost makes me want to give it a try myself…. almost. I say almost because I am worried I may never want to leave my computer. HA! I need to make it a habit to turn my phone on quiet mode more often. Start small.

    1. Author

      Haha, almost… I learned a lot from that month. Kind of a wake up call for me. Looking back I am glad it happened. Interestingly the month I used to refocus without a cellphone was my busiest month so far blogging and most advantageous financially. I guess that was a double lesson to me!
      Jen recently posted…What I Learned The Month I Went Without A CellphoneMy Profile

  4. Wow! I am impressed! I know it wasn’t a conscious decision at first, it just kinda happened. But admirable that after awhile you stuck with it to play it out and see what would happen. Speaking from experience, sometimes those are THE BEST decisions you make! I know it will frame how you use it in the future and we can all learn from that! I worry about the kind of technology “chains” my children are being tied to and how it will shape their future and their ability to communicate with people. Thankfully, none of them have cellphones yet. And we’re holding out!
    Jennifer Scheidt recently posted…How Pumpkin Spice Latte Made Me a Better MomMy Profile

    1. Author

      I so agree! We gifted out children a shared Kindle this last Christmas and then someone gave us one. So now they each have their own and I am constantly having to remind them to turn it off and go play outside! It was a really good example for them to see that Mom could do the same. I guess that was probably my biggest takeaway, to be a better example on the technology front.
      Jen recently posted…What I Learned The Month I Went Without A CellphoneMy Profile

  5. I have a really old flip phone that people always make fun (well, my friends and family – lovingly) but it means I can text and answer phone calls but I cannot take photos or get online. I think whenever I do get a smart phone, it will be important for me to ignore it sometimes because it can be distracting. I hate when people I know now sit on their phone and ignore me when we’re supposed to be hanging out, so I don’t want that to become me in the future.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Blog Ahead + Online Friendship UpdateMy Profile

  6. I think I would freak out without it, but I can do well not using it, as long as I know it’s ok if I need it! If that makes sense.
    Like after school when I pick up the kids and we play, I don’t look at it from 3-5. It makes me such a better conversationalist!!
    Tamara recently posted…Pumpkin Apple Protein Smoothie.My Profile

    1. Author

      Oh believe me I did freak out and then not so much. I found the experience totally freeing and a huge boost for communication actually. Because I was much more present and available in my conversations with real people when they happened, as we hadn’t been able to quickly touch base throughout the day.
      Jen recently posted…What I Learned The Month I Went Without A CellphoneMy Profile

  7. You know, I think it would be really great to be cellphone free for a month. Like you said, it makes you live in the moment, not like Pavlov’s dog distracted by your notifications! When I went to Haiti for a week I didn’t have one. And it did take me a few days to a week to even want to look at mine when I got back. Then it happens and you are sucked back in. You’re right, too. As a blogger it’s important to have it to use for social media. Ha ha, I can’t imagine my husband managing my social media!
    Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom recently posted…When You Lose a PetMy Profile

  8. I am way too addicted to my phone and I am trying to cut back. I’ve been doing cross stitch in the evenings instead of mindlessly scrolling through feeds. It feels nice to be a bit more connected!

    1. Author

      How cool! I am a crappy cross stitcher. My patience level just can’t hack it. For you now though, your home will be full of beautiful pieces and I bet you will feel a lot more calm and peaceful from having taken the time to disconnect. Good for you! Make sure to share some of your completed pieces!
      Jen recently posted…What I Learned The Month I Went Without A CellphoneMy Profile

  9. It is so freeing not to use your phone! I love being unplugged on vacation, although I will admit I haven’t tried it during everyday life. Periscope…good luck with that! I’m am staying off for my own sanity, for now.
    Dana recently posted…Talk to your kids and #StopMedAbuseMy Profile

  10. I LOVE this post. For many years I wasn’t even allowed to have a cell phone at work with me, and it really helped to show how much they are distractions. At some point I’ll be over on Periscope too, and I can’t wait to see your scopes!
    Leslie recently posted…Five Fun Fall Apple RecipesMy Profile

  11. There are some great lessons there Jen!

    I always have my phone on silent (no vibration either) and have my notifications turned off because I can’t stand being beeped and tooted at every few minutes. I shouldn’t say tooted… Chewbacca is my text message ring. It’s pretty cool but I digress. I would like to try my hand at a technology free day at least once a week. Sometimes I think we need to power down to truly see and experience the world around us.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    Your periscoping?! Eeeeek! You’re so brave! Can I watch without having a periscope account?!
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Moms Need PD Days, Too! FREE Mom Conference!My Profile

      1. Author

        I have gotta sic Jen’s Guy on figuring that one out! Stay tuned! Anyway I did my first scope today. It was more terrifying than anything I have done in the most recent history of my life! I think….

        You can watch without doing one, just set up an account on your phone. You should do one though, because you will be awesome!

        I couldn’t live if I had every one of my notifications on, which I did at first, because it went off every 2 seconds! I know people actually have it set that way for real life, but how do the cope??
        Jen recently posted…Jenny Appleseed at the Farm!My Profile

  12. First… Jem. Jem and the Holograms. #youspeakmylanguage

    Second… Wow, a month? My blood pressure just shot through the roof! The only time I’ve ever done it is vacations but a) I still sneaked a bit and b) I knew it was only a tiny amount of time.

    Is there a support group for those of us who get hives when we think about being without our cell phones for a month?
    Sarah Nenni Daher recently posted…Easy Spicy Roasted ChickpeasMy Profile

    1. Author

      I know, I felt that way at first and then meh, it got a lot easier. I really came to like not being available. It took a whole load of stress away and I kind of miss that now that I have another phone. Hopefully I can mind myself and remember all of the lessons I learned. Do you want me to send my toddler your way with a bottle of Gatorade so that you can try this little experiment yourself? I will also send hive ointment :)
      Jen recently posted…Jenny Appleseed at the Farm!My Profile

  13. I had a flip phone for the longest time and I finally got an iPhone about a year ago. It can definitely become an obsession. However, I really can’t handle when something happens to my computer. This is a great reminder for me to put the phone down and make sure I’m connected to reality and not just what’s on my phone.
    Melissa (Wading Through Motherhood) recently posted…Why I Sent My Kids to PreschoolMy Profile

  14. I agree so much with number one. We were totally disconnected when we went on our cruise last October and it was WONDERFUL!! Beforehand, I was bummed I wouldn’t be able to share moments of our trip on social media, but once we were on the ship, I didn’t have a care in the world! It’s so nice to unplug from time to time :)
    Katie | The Surly Housewife recently posted…Link Love – Week 40My Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Katie! A cruise? I am jealous! Sometimes our being “connected” so that we can share what we are doing on social media is really less than what it is cracked up to be. This week we went camping. I had no internet access and didn’t even think one minute about it. Enjoy the moment I say!
      Jen recently posted…Jenny Appleseed at the Farm!My Profile

  15. Hi Jen, I only heard about Periscope recently. Talk about taking social media to a whole new level! I am a bit miffed that I missed your first scope, I would love to have ‘met’ you. Saying that though I probably would have been a sleep or something with the time difference. Were you nervous/petrified?

    As for going without a phone. Wonderful! To the dismay of my husband and Mother I quite happily ignore (hide in the bottom of my bag) my phone if I’m busy and have quite hours set for twelve hours kicking in in the evening, with only certain numbers being able to contact me after three attempts at calling. I do enjoy my phone, but on my terms. Mobile phone are one of those things that definitely have their pros and cons.

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Sensible Summer RunningMy Profile

    1. Author

      Petrified! Could not hit the button to start. The 14 year old shamed me into it! It is going to take some time to get used to it over there.

      I think you sound a lot like me now. You are one wise lady! I am working on getting there, but I can see this is why we get along so well!
      Jen recently posted…Jenny Appleseed at the Farm!My Profile

  16. You learned some great lessons. I know I am on my phone too much and am working to cut back. But I am SO glad you no longer mess with your phone while driving. I never do it because I worry too much about others. I would never forgive myself if I hurt someone else because I had to see what was going on on Facebook.
    Amber recently posted…A Five Nights At Freddy’s Halloween CostumeMy Profile

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