Focused Moms Challenge Week Two Results

I can’t believe we’re already finishing up Week Two of the Focused Moms Challenge!  We’ve reached the halfway mark, and I’m so proud of each and every one of you!  This week, our challenge was to “Cut off your cell phone and headphones while in the roadway” (aka, UNPLUG!).  Talk about a challenge!  I had no idea how hard this would be.  No idea whatsoever.  But it sure was!

My picture for the week is of a sign that has been on display on Auburn’s campus this month.  I have been seeing it on my way to and from work each day.  I thought it might give you a laugh, so I decided that I needed to take a picture.  As if the Focused Moms Challenge wasn’t enough, I’ve got these signs popping up at every turn reminding me to UNPLUG!  As usual, we had three steps to follow in our challenge.  Here are my confessions of the successes and the struggles at my house:

Set Up Some Distraction Free Zones.  As you probably know, my biggest distractions are my cell phone and my laptop.  I decided for this week that I would not use these two distractions when my children were around.  For the most part, I was able to do it, but it was hard!  REALLY HARD!  It took all of the will power I could muster.  Sort of like I would imagine someone who was quitting smoking might feel.  I was completely quitting something that had become a regular part of my day to day life.  I was surprised at how difficult it was and that actually was what gave me the motivation I needed to continue on!  That and the horrifying chalk picture my six year old drew of me.

My big success of the week was not having my cell phone with me when I went upstairs to put my children to bed.  I used to keep it in my pocket all the time (even in the house) and out of habit I would find myself responding to a text or some other non-emergency cell phone activity while also trying to read my daughter her bedtime stories.  What on earth was I thinking?  So, I made sure to put my cell phone in its charger each evening BEFORE the bedtime rituals started so that it wouldn’t be with me.  I didn’t miss it a bit and had the best uninterrupted bonding time ever with my kiddos.

In the car, I suffered through not talking on the cell phone while driving.  And you know what?  I had some amazing conversations with all of my kids.  I didn’t once fuss at them for interrupting my phone conversation (since I wasn’t having one!).  And I heard them talk about things to each other (or their friends) that I would never have heard had I been on my cell phone.  For real! I am 100% deaf in my left ear, so if I’m on the phone I can’t hear ANYTHING that is going on around me.  It was a real wake up call and wasn’t really as hard as I had thought.  I did miss talking to my friends and family (especially those who live out of town that I can’t see in person) that I usually call, but I’m figuring out how to make that work too.  Just at a time and place that doesn’t disrupt my attention to my children.

I was able to stay off the laptop in the afternoons and evenings until the kids were in bed, but I walked over to it out of habit at least every thirty minutes on Day One!  I eventually got to the point of keeping a list near the computer of what I was going there to do.  Then once the kids were in bed, I did all the things on my list (well at least the things that were actually important!).  But truly AS SOON AS the kids were in bed I was on the computer.  I didn’t stay on it that long, maybe 30 minutes to an hour, but I practically sprinted to the thing once they were all asleep.

Reward Yourself. I did reward myself with some of my most favorite distractions.  As I said, the second the kids were in bed, I was logging onto the computer to check out Facebook status updates!  The minute they are all on the bus in the morning, I was sitting down at the laptop to do some blogging.  Last night I played a few games of solitaire on my iPad, something I had given up doing this week.  And, when the kids weren’t around, I felt free to make a few phone calls or check out all of my “notifications” on my cell phone!

But, I decided I also needed to figure out some rewards that were completely unrelated to my distractions.  So, I bought a new home organization book, Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, and a couple of magazines that I would normally not purchase.  Now, if I need some down time or my kids are around me but not necessarily needing me to be hovering over their every move, then I can pick up my magazine and read an article or two.  Or, I can look through my new book for ideas on getting my house in better order.  So far, I have LOVED this book!

Check Your Calendar.  The nightly calendar check was very helpful to me.  I had gotten out of the habit of doing that and would often lose track of valuable time or forget about something we needed to do.  Throw in a distracting laptop or marathon Kindle session, and the whole day might be shot!  So, checking the Cozi calender each night for the following day has now become a nightly ritual for me (and I hope you, too).

So, it’s the end of Week Two.  What did I learn?

  • When I’m unplugged I become painfully aware of how plugged in my children are (don’t worry, we’ll be working on that next week).
  • My kids behave better when I’m focused on them and not my distractions.  Not to say that they have been perfect, but wow, it has been quite an impressive change!
  • I don’t say “in a minute” nearly as often when I’m unplugged.
  • My son and I have some great conversations in the morning before school when I’m not sitting at the laptop.
  • It’s a lot more fun to play with my kids outside than to stay inside on the computer or watching tv.
  • When I’m not always on the phone I don’t have to fuss at my children for interrupting my conversations.
  • My kids don’t ask for nearly as many snacks when I’m not on the computer.  I don’t know why this is, maybe because my laptop is in the kitchen and they come in there to get my attention and just naturally think about a snack!  Who knows, but I like it!

Now, it’s your turn.  I’ve opened up about my successes and struggles and now the Focused Moms community wants to hear from you.  Here’s how it works:

  • Comment below about what worked and what didn’t for you in Week Two.  Have a great Distraction Free Zone or Reward?  Share it with us!
  • If you’re a blogger, link up a blog post below that you wrote about Week Two of the Focused Moms Challenge.
  • Have a picture to share?  Upload it to the Focused Moms Challenge Facebook wall or Flickr group for us to see.
  • Check back over the weekend to see how other Focused Moms did on the challenge and get ideas from their comments, blog posts, and pictures.
  • Share the Focused Moms Challenge!  It’s not too late for new friends to join.  Just direct them to to get started.

This weekend, put the finishing touches on Week Two.  Use the ideas you picked up here and from your week at home to get good at our three steps from this week.  This was a HARD week!  It might take us all a few extra days to finish!  Then, I’ll see you back here on Monday for Week Three of the Focused Moms Challenge!


  1. Julie says

    Week two was much harder for me than I thought. I realized how much I use the phone on the road and if I am waiting for soccer practice to end or picking up a child at school in the car line, I always felt I had to be doing something. So when I starting to unplug in the car I began to realize how my boys “STAY PLUGGED IN” They are either playing their PSPs or DS, listening to their iPods or watching a movie. When I started a conversation with one of them, he actually said, “In a minute, Mom!” I couldnt believe it!! Next week’s challenge should be very interesting!

    • Polly says

      Next week will be interesting! We might have some little people rebelling against the Focused Moms Challenge! LOL! It’s amazing the things we notice when we unplug. I felt the same way about my kids in the afternoons after school. Here I was totally unplugged and ready to interact and there they were on the computer (since I wasn’t sitting there they decided somebody needed to be!), watching tv, or playing on their iPod. Excuse me? But where did they learn all of that from? ME! Thanks for sharing and for joining us in the Focused Moms Challenge!

  2. Anne says

    My focused moms STICKER is on my planner (yes I am old school and still use a paper calendar – full 8 & 1/2 x 11 size too!). But every time I opened it this week I saw that FIRST thing and it refocused me on how important and limited my time is with my boys!
    As far as my phone goes – mine broke this week and I had to switch to a new (old) one that I had lying around. My new (old) one lets me receive my FB posts but I can’t respond to them….TORTURE right!?? Well – turns out that once the automatic instinct passed to reply to the posts I got – I realized that most of what I had to say was not even really worth typing anyway. So that has been an adjustment for me but a big time saver! Why do I need to comment on everything….???
    It really is amazing to see what you see when you just sit and ARE IN THE MOMENT with your children. They are amazing little creatures with unlimited energy & questions. I can watch Dancing with the Stars or make lunches after they are in bed. I stay up until midnight almost every night – after their bedtime has now become the time for these non-child related activities. The world is now open for business almost all 24 hours a day. I am trying to train my brain to get out of the 5pm work hour old school train of thought. I can do almost anything I need to do all day and all night long EXCEPT for spend time with my children!

    • Amanda says

      I also need to get out of the “everything has to be done before 5″ mindset…GOOD CALL!! I can pay my bills/housework/school work ect….ANYTIME of day! (and after 5 I can have the glass of wine that makes those things less stressful!!!) =) Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Polly says

      Love it Anne! I agree that I have started doing so many things at night after they’ve gone to bed that I used to try to get accomplished when we could have been doing something as a family! It has been great. I think I actually get my tasks done faster once they are in bed too because I’m not distracted by them! My phone broke about a week ago, too. I did get a new smart phone, but I HAVE NO IDEA how the thing works, so it might as well be a rotary dial phone. LOL! I know exactly what you’re talking about. I haven’t missed my old phone a bit. Glad the Focused Moms picture is helping you. I have it plastered everywhere, I think it even reminds my kids to remind me to stay focused! Thanks so much for commenting and for taking part in the Focused Moms Challenge!

  3. Amanda says

    I was amazed this week how many times I went for my cellphone in the car. I felt like I had “forgotten my purse” when i drove around town without it at my ear. I had some great conversations with my girls this week. We spend so much time driving to & from activities all afternoon. I was shocked at how much one on one time I have missed with them b/c I was chitchatting about nothing important. I also want to be a better example to them about driving safely. In two years my oldest will be driving on her own. How can I look at her and tell her that she can not talk/text on her phone while she is driving, when the example I have set for her is the exact opposite. I think this challenge is in perfect timing for our generation of mothers. Thank you!

    • Polly says

      I agree with you 100%! I have loved my conversations with my kiddos this week. And to top it off, our DVD player in the car has been off being repaired so they haven’t been lost in a movie while I was trying to talk with them! I’m totally old school this week, driving around town with no DVD playing in the car for the little ones to watch AND no talking on the cell phone for me. We’ve even been looking at birds and trees and flowers! Who knew? LOL! Thanks for your comment and for joining us in the Focused Moms Challenge!

  4. Robin says

    Two steps forward and one step back is still progress!

    I have had so much fun with my family this week because I limited my time with the electronic world. I did mess up this morning when I was in bed playing on my iPad. My daughter came in and snuggled with me. Instead of putting it away, I HAD to finish my 14 games of Words With Friends…that is until I realized what I was doing. I quickly put my iPad away and had lazy time with her.

    Here is what I’ve started doing…I have changed the power configuration on my computer so that it shuts off at night. Because it takes it so long to start back up, 75% of the time I just forget about it turning it back on. Truth is, I haven’t missed it. Sitting in my office for a “quick” check of news and what celebrities are doing usually turns into 30 minutes. Not anymore!!!

    I am a better person because of this challenge. In one week my daughter and I fished (more than once), played in mud puddles, rode bikes and lip synced to songs using pretend microphones. Turns out that I have had one of the BEST weeks of my life!!

    • Polly says

      Robin, that is awesome! I love your idea of shutting down the computer at night. I agree, I probably wouldn’t want to mess with restarting it for something quick. And don’t worry about falling back into old habits every now and then. As long as you recognize it (and you did!), you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon in the future. Bumps in the road are teaching moments (for our kids and for us!). Thanks so much for sharing with us and for being a part of the challenge!

  5. Angie White says

    This past week was challenging to say the least, but it was a step forward. I can honestly say that I hardly ever get on our family computer. Usually every other day, but my cell phone is….was always with me. This week I left my cell phone in the car and in the kitchen on the charger. I have been very aware about answering my phone in the car and placeing calls. I hate to say it, but I did text while sitting at red light and occassionally at stop signs. Well, no more! I am seriously trying not to text so much.

    This week’s challenge will be difficult because our family watches tv at night for about an hour together before bedtime. Just as we are right now, but I am on the laptop halfway watching the show. I have talked to them about this distraction, but we will have to keep taking baby steps.

    I am looking forward to working on staying tuned in and staying focused this week!

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