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how losing my phone turned out to be a really good thing

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The other week I traveled to Toronto to celebrate my sisters 30th birthday. In case you're wondering I’m the older + wiser sibling. Ry missed out on all the fun since he had a big-ass bike rally to attend. Hundreds of bearded, leather-clad men drinking beer and eating crap. This means I was flying solo with the kids. For a moment I considered Benadryl to knock them out on the flight, but that stuff can sometimes produce the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for. Crazy, wired kids packed into an aluminum tube at 30,000 feet? No thanks. I opted for being armed with new toys, enough snacks to feed all the other passengers and the crew, and most importantly a calm mind. When we were seated a flight attendant approached me, gripped my arm with the grip of death, crouched down and said ‘listen, I’m a parent, and I know this is going to be terrible’. What I wanted to say was Dude! Shut-up! No it’s not! What I did say was ‘thank-you’ with a smile. The kids were happy and it was only my thoughts about the event that would make it ‘terrible’. Flight was great, kids were content. We landed, I shot a message to my dad (my ride) and put my phone in my pocket so I wouldn't have to dig through my bag for it. Deplaned and got in line for inspection by Canadian immigration. This is when I noticed my phone was missing. I was in a room with locked doors and no way back to the plane so I waited to get through inspection to talk to airline staff.

my phone is gone!

After the airline attendee made a few phone calls he regretted to inform me that the plane had just pulled away from the gate and I’d have to put in a request to the lost and found. I muttered the words,

"well this couldn't possibly be any worse"

As soon as those words left my mouth I felt like a real tool. The kids tuned into my negative, anxious energy with lightning speed and started whining and getting antsy. Shut up Jacq. I was supposed to be an example, the ONE person my kids look to in any situation to know that everything is A-OK. This is when I shifted my attitude, thanked the man for his help and decided I’d make the most of being phone-free. I was generally with family during our whole trip, so the need to contact anyone never became an issue. But I’ll tell you what I didn’t do: text Ryan randomly throughout the day, check my Facebook feed, read email, newsletters, browse pictures on instagram, tweet random musings.

then I noticed something

As I was out at the park, out for dinner or hanging around the house I noticed just how many people are on their phones all the time. While others were staring at their teeny screens waiting for something to happen, I closed my eyes, tuned into the sights and sounds of what was going on around me. And it felt good. Turns out losing my phone led to the greatest part of the weekend. Extra bonding with my kids and my family who I don’t get to see often since we moved state-side. A week later my phone is still lost in Canada-land, I got another one, because it's 2013, but I have some new, and much-needed rules.

These are my new rules for smartphone sanity:

  1. Get over FOMO (fear of missing out) Minimize social media to 2x daily (many of my posts are pre-scheduled anyways)
  2. Phone-free when playing with the kids
  3. Phone is out of sight when there’s food in front of me (after I take a pic of it, 'cause this is what I do)
  4. No more checking email first thing in the morning. I will read or write instead
  5. No more reading emails, checking weather, browsing Facebook when sitting on the toilet. I know you do it too!

Want to add to this list? What are your smartphone rules? Share ‘em in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!