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7 Ways Phones Produce Anxiety and Lead to Mom Guilt

7 Ways Phones Produce Anxiety and Lead to Mom Guilt

The constant pressure to stay in the know causes many moms to be glued to their phones 24/7. However, this is one of the leading factors behind a rise in anxiety. Unfortunately, due to the bombardment of notifications and the temptation of aimlessly scrolling, moms often find their focus shifting away from their children, leading to a sense of mom guilt.

If you're constantly on edge and unable to shake the feeling you should be more engaged with your kids, your phone might be the problem. Here are seven ways our phones produce anxiety and lead to mom guilt.

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sad woman looking at her phone

1. Fear of Missing Out

We all know that FOMO is real, especially when people on social media post about their family vacations, special events, and exciting celebrations. It's human nature to want to be in the know, but it's also anxiety-producing to be consumed by the fear of missing out.

It's important to remember that what people post on social media is not a behind-the-scenes look at their day-to-day lives. Often, they post highlight reels that don't reflect the actual situations they're going through.

The sooner you realize there is no way to keep up with everyone and everything on social media, the better off you'll be. You'll be able to set your phone aside and focus on present moments with your children, leading to a calmer sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.

Here are two more resources on overcoming the fear of missing out:

How can a Christian avoid FOMO (fear of missing out)?

Ways to Overcome the Fear of Missing Out

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2. Wasting Time

2. Wasting Time

Have you ever been surprised at how quickly time passes when you're mindlessly scrolling on your phone? This can be great when you're waiting at the doctor's office or sitting in the carpool lane, but it can be a HUGE time waster when it comes to quality time with your kids.

We waste intentional moments with our children and neglect our husbands, chores, work, and other engagements due to wasting time on our phones.

The big question to ask ourselves is how we want to spend each day. Do we want the majority of our time spent on what matters most – time with the Lord, time with our family, and time doing what we're called to do, or do we want to end the day realizing we wasted precious hours again?

Here are some tips to help you stop wasting time on your phone:

-Designate certain times daily to check your messages - no more than 15 minutes at a time.

-Turn off your notifications.

-Leave your phone in the other room during meals and family time.

-Engage in hobbies that include your children in the fun.

We only have so many hours each day to interact with our children and train them up in the way they should go. Let's not allow our phones to steal precious time with them anymore.

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Finger pressing the like heart on a cell phone

3. Comparing Yourself to Others

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

I'd be willing to bet that most of our anxiety and mom guilt comes from what we perceive to be the reality of "successful" families. However, every single family on earth has its issues. We are all on this journey called "life," and comparison does nothing to make the journey easier.

In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus said, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

This familiar passage is a powerful reminder that seeking God first and foremost is the key to contentment. When we look to the Lord for provision and satisfaction, we'll stop looking at others in comparison. This will lead to more peace and enjoyment in our homes and help eliminate mom guilt.

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mom on cell phone ignoring child distracted parent

4. Being Tied to Your Notifications

There's only one way to stop being tied to your notifications: to turn them off. When you aren't hearing the familiar "ding," you'll be less likely to pick up your phone and get lost in the sea of the world wide web.

The truth is being tied to your notifications is a sure way to miss out on important moments with your kids and even tune them out altogether. People can wait. And if it's something urgent, they can call you.

Consider turning off all notifications – even texts – and carve out specific times each day when you'll check them. Perhaps, a morning, noon, and night routine will help you break away from endless screen time and feel less guilty at the end of the day.

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girl on her phone sitting alone on stairs

5. Overusing Media in All its Forms

Not only are we consumed with our text messages, but we're also tempted to read articles, view TikTok videos, and overuse media in all its forms. I believe this is the #1 habit that causes moms the most anxiety. Our brains are bombarded with information, and by the time our heads hit the pillow, we're riddled with anxious thoughts that circle round and round in our minds.

If you are addicted to your phone and absolutely cannot put it down, consider seeking help. Plenty of counselors and professionals are trained to help you break away from constant screen time and be intentional with those around you.

Remember, your example is SO important, and your kids are watching you. They will likely pattern their actions after yours and eventually allow their phones to consume their time as well. Pray for God's help in this and ask Him to lead you to the right person to help you break free from media overuse.

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6. Letting Your Phone Become a Babysitter

6. Letting Your Phone Become a Babysitter

I get it. Motherhood is exhausting. And it's every mom's temptation to turn on a movie or YouTube video to keep her children pacified. But as you and I both know, our phones can quickly become the outlet that keeps us from engaging with our kids meaningfully.

The guilt that often follows excessive screen time indicates that something needs to change. And while it takes effort, it's well worth it in the end.

Here are some alternatives to using your phone as a babysitter:

-Set up a reading corner with books, pillows, blankets, and flashlights, and join your kids in a quiet reading hour.

-Set up a craft table where you and your kids can be creative.

-Play outside and leave your phone inside.

-Take a peaceful drive with your kids and play worship music.

There are many ways to keep kids occupied without turning to our phones. And you know what? It's okay for kids to be bored sometimes. When they're bored, they often begin to imagine and create.

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mom holding baby

7. Preferring our Phones over Spending Time with Our Kids

Sadly, we've become so attached to our phones that we prefer spending time scrolling rather than playing with our kids. We don't like to admit it, but our affection for family time has diminished as our desire to be on our phones has taken over.

If this is true for you, pray for God to change your affections. Consider doing a cell phone fast where you only use your phone for important calls or texts. In fact, try to stay off social media channels for a week and see what happens to your anxiety levels. Chances are, you'll experience more peace and even be willing to extend your media fast.

Being a mom is hard, and there are lots of things we feel anxious about. Let's eliminate some of the mom guilt by limiting our phone use and setting healthy parameters around social media. Our kids will be the ones who'll benefit most from these changes, and we'll be much happier in the long run.

Photo credit: @Prostock-Studio

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. 

7 Ways Phones Produce Anxiety and Lead to Mom Guilt