#37 - Voices of Aro: How one mom didn't notice everything she was missing with her kids

October 26, 2023
Becca Daniel

Episode Summary

We're super excited to introduce Voices of Aro to you! Voices of Aro was created through incredible stories the Aro team would hear from members that we wanted to shout from the rooftops. Once a month, Aro cofounder Joey will sit down with a member of the Aro community, who will share their personal stories about the "aha" moment when they realized their phone was getting in the way of their relationships, the challenges of smartphones within families, how they use Aro at home, and more. In our very first episode, we have Becca Daniel as our guest. Becca is a wife, a homeschool mom of four, and an Aro Ambassador! Joey and Becca have a deep-dive conversation about Becca's journey to becoming an Aro member, how her family incorporates Aro into their daily routines, and the amazing things she has observed since they started creating space from their phones. So, be sure to tune in to Becca's episode and mark your calendar for the last Thursday of each month to hear from Aro members all across the United States! If you're a member and interested in sharing your own Aro story, don't hesitate to reach out to stories@goaro.com. We'd love to hear from you!

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Episode Transcript

Joey Odom (00:06):

Welcome to Voices of Aro, brought to you by The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's Joey Odom, co-founder of Aro. And hey, if you've been around The Aro Podcast for any amount of time, it's longer form conversations all around the topic of intentionality. So authors, entrepreneurs, entertainers, people like that longer form interviews all around intentionality. Well, I want you to think of voices of Aro as a tasty little snack, short form interviews once a month, talking about things that you'll probably relate to, the struggles that we have generally as parents and within our families. And the great moments as well, the hope and those moments that justify the tough times. Well, this is the first episode and this is with superstar mom, Becca Daniel, you're going to love Becca. Very real, very authentic. And she talks, what I loved most is she talks about noticing those little things and she's very real about the times where she's kind of missed the mark. But then noticing those little things and having those great moments as a family. I really hope you enjoy this. Please come back for our monthly voices of Aro. Of course, we'll still have the Aro podcast on a regular basis every Tuesday, but for now, please just sit back, relax, enjoy your tasty little snack, Voices of Aro this week with Becca, Daniel, Becca, Daniel, it's so good to see you. How are you?

Becca Daniel (01:32):

I'm doing good. Nice to see you. Thanks for having me.

Joey Odom (01:35):

Absolutely. I'm excited to talk with you and first set the stage for us. So tell us a little bit about your family, your spouse, your kids, where you live, all the stuff on the Daniels.

Becca Daniel (01:47):

Alright, we are in Thornton, which is a suburb just north of Denver in Colorado. And so we are big outdoor people. We are a military family, but later in life, super weird story. I won't go into that, but my husband enlisted at 39, which is literally the very oldest that you can be an enlist. And so we moved out here. Sorry, I'm getting distracted because like I told you, I locked my door so it would be quiet in here and my kids are trying to pound it down, so you might have a little bit of something coming

Joey Odom (02:18):

In. This is mom life. I like it. This

Becca Daniel (02:20):

Is real. And so we have been in Florida, Tennessee most recently. We lived in a camper for six months in California. We are back to Denver in the mountains. Our kids range from ages one, almost one all the way up to 16. And I'm a homeschool mom, so we are just living an outdoor fun adventure life. For the first time in about four years, we have actually put some roots down and plan on staying in this house for a while. So it's exciting.

Joey Odom (02:52):

That's so awesome. Good stuff. And I will tell you, homeschool moms rule the world. I believe this, it's like the Illuminati. It's like you don't know. You don't know, but they're pulling the strings, right? Homeschool moms

Becca Daniel (03:01):

Are pulling the strings. You're nice, you're nice. I don't know, we're trying over here. Some days are harder than other. I'll say that teaching a child how to read might be the most sanctifying work I've ever done in my life.

Joey Odom (03:15):

You're much braver than I am. Goodness gracious. Alright, I want to dive into hearing. I want to hear a story, and this is all about technology and your journey with tech. I want to hear a story about maybe when your phone got in the way of an important moment. We all have them. Some of us are more brave than others and we'll actually admit them. So tell us about a moment where you just said, my phone is getting in the way of something that's more important.

Becca Daniel (03:42):

Well, the hard thing is, is that when I think about that, truly I think about what did I miss? I don't even know what I missed because I missed it. And so

I struggle to even answer that because truthfully, I'm like, there probably are a lot of things that had got in the way of, but I didn't even know it. And so I think just realizing that one time my son did say, you care about your phone, you care about this stuff on your phone more than us, which that's like, oh, dagger to the heart. And then I've been talking to my husband about it and he's like, there's a lot of things that I missed. And he admitted, he was like, I feel like it's so often you have come to me and you've asked me and you're talking to me and you're telling me something really important and I'm just zoned out. And he is like, and I don't even realize it and it's embarrassing, but when I think about what I've missed with my phone, I can't tell you what I missed. I missed it. However, the things that I'm gaining

Now have been just I do know what I'm gaining. And the other day I left, we went to Wyoming for the day and I left my phone in the car because now I can do that thanks to ro. I didn't know I could do that before, but now I know I can. And I left my phone in the car and we were just exploring this. This sounds really weird, but in Wyoming there's this prison, territorial prison. It's actually a park, but it was an old prison over a hundred years ago. And they have all these old cabins on it and little houses like little House on the Prairie and a general store. And we were walking around and then there was this stage and my boys got up and they were doing a fake show and ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you too. And I thought for a moment, I want to take a picture of this, I want to take a picture, but I didn't have my phone. And so then I was like, I just want to enjoy it. I want to enjoy it and remember it. And so I can't really tell you the things I missed because I missed them,

But the things I'm gaining are really awesome. But my phone has gotten in the way many times I'm sure because my son pointed it out so poignantly to me.

Joey Odom (05:53):

Hey, those are very good truth serums. They'll give us exactly what we need.

Becca Daniel (05:58):


Joey Odom (06:00):

I'd like to hear about your maybe that why, why for getting Aro and maybe even backing up a little bit more, just how you stumbled across Aro and then your why. What was it that drove you to make that decision to say, okay, I'm

Becca Daniel (06:15):

That's a layered question. I'll take a stab at it. So we have been pretty particular about what our oldest daughter, she's 16 now, but everyone started to getting phones at 10 11 and we really were pretty strict on that. We gave her a dumb phone, if you will, it's called a Gabb phone. And it was great for us. We loved it. It really taught her like, Hey, a phone is for texting and calling. And it allowed her some freedoms, however, still a little bit guarded. And honestly, when I started going down down, I went kind of on a screen ramp page a couple of months ago just trying to figure out, now she has a smartphone, she has an iPhone, and she got it for Christmas. She actually just got the permission to get one. She had to pay for it. Oh, wow.

Joey Odom (07:07):


Becca Daniel (07:08):

Her present was, here's your permission, you can get one now. Love that.

So she has one, but I realized I want to teach her healthy boundaries, but yet my husband and I don't have them. So how can we teach her healthy boundaries? But yet we're walking around not having them ourselves. And so my sister is a youth pastor in Silicon Valley and the tech of capital of the whole world and where the people are making all of these things for us to become addicted to. And she has been on a huge screen kind of rampage as well. And so she has been sharing stuff with me. I started listening to anything that I could listen to read about screen time and the damage of it and just the addiction of it. And so my husband and I have gone back and forth on do we just go dumb phone and just have a family phone for pictures? And we do live in a beautiful place with mountains and we go on hikes and we're exploring.

And so I want pictures and we just kept being like we couldn't pull the trigger on going just full dumb phone. Also, we live in Colorado and I have siblings from the west coast all the way to Virginia and the east coast. We cover my family covers every time zone. And so I need to be able to FaceTime our family. They need to be able to see our children. And so I don't want to miss out on things like that, that technology brings life to and brings good things. So in listening to some podcasts, I'd heard about the Aro and I looked it up and I was like, okay, this seems like this could be a good solving a good piece, our puzzle of some controlled screen time. I feel like my why, when I think about why and what led me to it is that I feel like no one ever wakes up and says, man, I wish I would've spent more time on my phone.

That is not a quote you hear, you don't ever hear that. But yet at night we would get our littles in bed, our three younger ones, and I felt like my husband and my daughter and I were vegging out at the end of the day, and yet we're all three. I look around and we're like, we're all three on different screens. So I just felt like I wanted our home to be different. I just want it to be different. I want the spirit and the feeling and people just feeling present. I want them to walk in and be like, man, when we walk in Team Daniel's house, they're present with us. And I feel like that it's easy to not be present when your phone is in arm's reach.

It's just not able to be fully present. And I realized that when we moved into this house, it's our first house we've owned. We've lived in 14 homes in 14 years, something like that, from a camper to an apartment to a condo to a house, to a two story house. And so I was like, oh, we have this house. Now I'm going to put on our welcome table the wifi, right? Because in that way they know here's our wifi information with our password, so I'm going to help you get on your phone. What was that? So after listening to all these things and researching and being convicted, painfully convicted, I told my husband, I said, that's it. I'm taking down the wife information. I'm not going to help people. I'm going to tell 'em they need to get off of it. So our Aro buck sits on our entryway and I made up this little poem that's welcome to our home, and I won't bore you with it, but I've made a poem that's basically get off your phone. You came to our house.

Joey Odom (10:39):

That's amazing. You got to hear this poem though,

Becca Daniel (10:44):

So I'll to, I'll send it to you, but it's downstairs. So I just was like, I don't want to encourage people. I don't want to convict them. I want them to be convicted of themselves, but my why is just I just want to be different and I don't want to wake up and be like, what did we do? Because I'm going to miss it.

Joey Odom (11:07):

So since you've had Aro in, which Aro means to notice, has it felt different? What have you noticed in terms of your goal, which is I want it to be different. Has it felt different? And then if so, what have you noticed that's felt different?

Becca Daniel (11:21):

It's felt very different. I love that that word needs to notice because it's actually, it is painfully convicting. Like I said, when you realize how often, I don't know if it was on a podcast that I heard you or one of the other screen ones, but 90% of adults keep their phone within arm's reach all day long. That just really got me because you want to tell yourself, I'm in the 10% and maybe since this is this podcast, maybe people are in that 10%, but let's be real honest with ourselves. Most of you in the 90, right? Of course you can tell yourself that. And let's just be real clear. You notice when, oh my goodness, I never go to the bathroom without my phone. I don't even do yard work. We were doing yard work and it was like two days after we got our Aro box and we put 'em in there like, we're going to do this, and we're outside doing yard work. And I just felt more free even just doing yard work. And normally I would feel like I need my phone in my back pocket

Becca Daniel (12:21):


Becca Daniel (12:22):

What? What's going to happen while I'm doing yard work that I have to pay attention to on my phone? So you just notice things like that, that everyday stuff. I will say that one thing that we have noticed is all the other things we use our phone for that maybe we don't have to use it for. So we have had to buy some things to help our journey with the Aro so that we can be things that we've noticed that like, oh, we need an alarm clock now. Alarm.

Joey Odom (12:52):


Becca Daniel (12:52):

A real alarm clock. Right. Then we also noticed that we use our phones for music a lot, but then that ends up distracting us and we could do other things. So we got an Alexa so we could listen to music in the kitchen without having to pick up my phone, so I can leave my phone in the ro, but we can listen to music while we're cooking or eating or whatever

Because we listen to a lot of music, homeschool families. You got to keep it alive in here. And then my kids, there's this thing called a Yoda player, and so that's been kind of fun. They are able to listen to stories and music, and so in noticing how often we use our phones, we noticed it for those things as well. Pretty recently, my boy, the one that said the comment earlier, he is just gets you, I don't know if you can say ballbuster on a podcast, but that is what he is. Okay. He's a ballbuster. And he was out with my husband and he was like, I noticed he's six. And he is like, I noticed that you and mom and Finley haven't been on your phones as much. And he is like, that's pretty great. Just said it like that. That's pretty great. Just

Joey Odom (14:03):

Unprompted said that

Becca Daniel (14:04):

Unprompted just when they were out going to Home Depot instead of the opposite where he had said that to me a couple months back, he said that to my husband and Nathan came home and shared that with me and it was really great. And one other thing that I've noticed is for those of you who don't know, but the Aro alerts you when people in your household have started a session. And so that can sometimes be like, oh man, I need to go start one too. Or if you're out, it even doesn't. And so one time I was out and I got a message that my teenage daughter who was keeping my youngest baby at home, she was babysitting her sister, and I got a message that it said, Finley has started an Aro session, and I thought, she's at home alone. And she put it in there and I came home to find her in Oakley Bay, Findlay and Oakley Bay asleep in the hammock outside, no phone and just cuddled up together.

And I thought for a teenage girl who's 16 and a half who could have had her phone out there texting, whatever, looking at stuff and not being fully present with her baby sister, but she didn't, didn't miss it. She was soaking up the moments. And that night she told us she was like, Oakley Bay was just looking around listening to the leaves and watching the leaves, and that is not what she would've noticed a while ago. So what, I can't even say all the things I'm noticing because it's really brought, and I don't want to sound like really you're overdramatizing this, but it really, I'm being honest when I say you notice the hard things, the painfully convicted things, but then you also notice these beautiful moments that you normally wouldn't have.

Joey Odom (15:52):

That's beautiful. That really is. And I really do. We believe in it. When you change your relationship

Becca Daniel (15:57):

With the

Joey Odom (15:58):

Phone, you change your relationship with everyone around you, and look at Findley and Oakley, Oakley Bay sitting together on the hammock and taking a nap together. What an amazing, amazing scene that is.

Becca Daniel (16:09):

Yeah, and talking about Finley, I'll say that Finlay said, she was like, you need to make sure that people know how good that box looks. She's like, it's very appealing.

Joey Odom (16:19):

We get to love a 16 year girl. That's pretty good praise

Becca Daniel (16:23):

For a 16 year old girl who's very into aesthetically pleasing content. For her to say, I love the way the box looks.

Joey Odom (16:30):

I love that. And that's huge. Yeah, you don't display ugly things. You want to display pretty things. Becca, I'd be curious, just to close out, what kind of encouragement or advice would you give to other parents when it comes to phones and families? We're all struggling with it, so what kind of encouragement or advice would you give to other parents when it comes to this topic?

Becca Daniel (16:51):

One thing that my husband and I have tried to do is if we are on our phones, either walk away so that it's not right in front of their kids, our kids, so they don't feel like they're getting secondhand attention or whatever. Or tell them, Hey, mommy's got to send this. It's about your birthday party. Or Mommy's got to text Nana and pops because they're going to be landing at the airport soon, or whatever it is, so that they know that you're not just, because truthfully, when you have the phone in your hand, whether it's adults or your children, they just see the phone in your hand. They don't know if you're looking at Instagram or if you're texting someone who's in the hospital.

I think just letting them know or walking away, going in a different location. Another thing that I have heard recently on all of my screen rampage thing was to only have one screen at a time. So if you're watching a family movie or if you're doing whatever, just to do one screen. And that has really helped us out a lot. So at night, if we are watching something together, Finley and Nathan and I, we all put our phones in the box so that we're truly watching something together. And it is a community thing, not like you're watching it and I'm sitting here. So that one screen at a time has been really good for us. But my biggest thing would be to stay firm to your guidelines, your boundaries, your rules, whatever the word you want to use with your children and screens as you and your spouse decide what's best or just you by yourself, decide what's best.

Nathan and I got a lot of flack from other parents and parents that were our friends about sometimes with, well, when are you going to let her have a phone? And doesn't she need to learn? And she's just going to, and I know what they were saying, however we answer for our own children, our own family dynamic, not for other people's. And so if you're convicted about it, just let that conviction do its work and do something different. Be different. Don't worry about what people think. Because my other friend who has an Aro box, we're like, well, we might be each other's only friends here soon because people come to our house and we're like, put your phone

Joey Odom (19:07):

Up. Exactly.

Becca Daniel (19:10):

But again, we were trying to be present because no grown child is ever going to come back to you in life and say, Hey, mom and dad, thanks for letting me escape. Thanks for always letting me be on my phone. No child is ever going to say that. They're going to come back and be like, it was annoying. Sometimes when Finley brings a friend over and I'm like, y'all want to put your phones in the box? She's like, oh. But I know deep down she's actually grateful. So my advice would just be to just stick it out, stay with it. It's worth it.

Joey Odom (19:41):

Well, thank you for being different and I have a feeling that your four kids are going to have different results than the natural current right now. And I put some money on Findlay's future and on all the others because of what they're doing. Thank you. You got to watch a six-year-old too, that he sounds like a firecracker. But Becca, grateful for you. Thank you so much for the conversation.

Becca Daniel (20:03):


Joey Odom (20:04):

You. Thanks for what you're doing, and I hope this is an encouragement to a lot of people. So thank you very, very much.

Becca Daniel (20:09):

Thank you for what you've created. It's a huge gift.

Joey Odom (20:12):

Thank you. Hey, thank you for joining us on Voices of Aro. Hey, if you're an Aro member and you would like to be part of Voices of Aro, just shoot us an email at stories@goaro.com. If you are not yet an Aro member and you want to learn more, go to our website, goaro.com or follow us on Instagram at goaro now. Lastly, if you would do me an enormous favor, will you please leave us a five star rating wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you so much for joining us on Voices of Aro. We can't wait to see you next time on Voices of Aro or The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support and to our executive producer Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.