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Close up shot of a woman's hands while she uses her phone

Having a newborn forced me to renegotiate a lot of relationships. Take, for example, my relationship with my phone.

When approximately one-third of the day is spent in a stationary, sitting position (ie: breastfeeding), it is tempting to latch on to the phone and seek solace in the screen. Not a bad thing. I can report scripture reading, email-sending, and friend-calling behaviors, not to mention copious picture-taking, husband-texting, and list-making. Useful.

But it is so, SO tempting to gravitate to the phone every time I sit down with my baby, and consequently there have been days of too much Facebook, Pinterest, and Wikepedia browsing. Days of forgetting to read scriptures and failing to live in the present moment.

My thoughts and feelings are different on these days of heavy phone usage—angsty, distracted, and often envious. What is this thing in my hand? Innocent cell phone, tool of benevolence and balance, or Phonemesis, raging pocket-monster of mental destruction?

Really, the choice is mine.

So now when I reach toward the phone, I pause to and reflect. What am I accomplishing? Am I neglecting my real and present world? Could I be interacting with a human being instead of droning at a screen? Who am I serving by this screen? Could I be reading a book instead of skimming social media feeds? Could I be prepping dinner instead of pinning desserts? Have I stepped outside to feel the sun and wind yet? Do I even know what the weather feels like today? Am I accomplishing my long-term goals? Do I even have long-term goals??

Elder David A. Bednar posed a vital question, one that sums up all the others for me. It is my new phone protocol:

“Does the time [I] spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict [my] capacity to live, to love, and to serve in meaningful ways?”

If it restricts rather than enlarges, it’s OUT! Simple as that. We’re friends again, my phone and I.

And that is how we tame Phonemesis.

*Phone + Nemesis = Phonemesis. In which one’s phone is now the enemy.

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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