#47 - Voices of Aro: How one mom’s kids are noticing her eyes are on them and not her phone

December 21, 2023
Megan Lewin

Episode Summary

Welcome back to another episode of Voices of Aro! This month, Aro Co-Founder Joey is joined by Megan Lewin, a wife, homeschool mom of four, and Aro Ambassador! In this episode, Megan gives us a glimpse into her life and family, sharing her a-ha moment when she realized her phone was affecting her connections with her kids. She and Joey discuss how she discovered Aro and how it has become an integral part of her family's culture. Megan even shares sweet stories of her kids noticing their mom and dad being present with them! If you're an Aro member and interested in sharing your own Aro story, please reach out to us at stories@goaro.com. We'd love to hear from you!

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Episode Transcript

Joey Odom (00:03):

Welcome back to Voices of Aro by The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's Joey Odom, Co-Founder of Aro. I'm so glad you're here and I want to kick off the show by asking you a favor. Will you subscribe to The Aro Podcast? Just take a moment right now, click subscribe, no matter where you're listening. And here's why that's important, is The Aro Podcast exists to help give you the inspiration and tools to create an intentional family, to live out an intentional life. So we want to bring you great content, we want to bring you great guests. And the way all of that happens, especially continuing to bring great guests, is by number of listens. So The Aro Podcast right now, and we're very proud of this and very blessed to say that we're in the top 2% of podcasts globally, and I want to continue to increase our number of listens, continue to get into the top 0.5% or even higher on podcasts globally.

So that requires listens, and the best way to get that is through people subscribing. So will you click subscribe right now? That's one. Two bonus points. Will you tell somebody and forward this episode to somebody? And I'll even give you a third. Will you give us a five star rating wherever you listen to podcasts? Not going to ask much of you, but if you would do that for us, that would be great. Subscribe, share, and also give us a five star rating. With that said, this week's episode, this month's episode of Voices of Aro is with Megan Lewin. And just as a quick reminder, here's what Voices of Aro is. Voices of Aro is conversations with people who are just like you, people who, these are members of Aro who are sharing their stories. And what we've heard overwhelmingly so far from people is on Voices of Aro is, I can't believe they said that, but that's how I feel.

So these people are opening up and sharing things in their lives on kind of their battles with technology and in raising a family. And it's stuff that we're all feeling and people are putting words to it, which is such a valuable thing. Megan Lewin joined us this month for Voices of Aro, and Megan is a superstar mom, four kids, homeschool mom does it all, but just like all of us, Megan struggles a little bit sometimes with her phone. So she found it getting in the way of her relationship with her kids. And what's interesting about these Voices of Aro episodes is it's such a consistent story that we hear, which should give us all encouragement that we're all going through it. And there is an answer. Megan tells a story about needing a parent redo, which I could really relate to. I hope you can as well. And then what she did about it and the hope that's there. And I want to assure you, this is not a commercial for Aro. This is for you to see yourself in someone else's story and for you to have similar courage, similar boldness as they do to go make these changes in your life and help you create your intentional family. For now, please just sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with Megan Lewin.

Megan Lewin, it's just so good to talk to you. So good to see you. Thank you for jumping on to talk with us for a few minutes.

Megan Lewin (03:08):

Thanks for having me on. It's definitely a pleasure. So thank you so much.

Joey Odom (03:12):

Yeah. All right, Megan, let's dive in. Let's talk family. What's the Lewin household look like? Tell us all about your home.

Megan Lewin (03:20):

Yeah, so I am a mom of four. I am a nurse by trade, but in 2019, I started staying home full time to homeschool our four kids. My husband and I have been married for 12 years, and we live in Cincinnati, Ohio, kind of outside the city. We live on a five acre piece of property. We're just raising our kids up here in the woods, having fun. And yeah, our kids are, our oldest son is 10, and then we have three daughters, eight, six and two.

Joey Odom (03:53):

Gosh. So he's your son. Has his work cut out for him on being the protector, right? Is that correct?

Megan Lewin (03:59):

He very seriously, yes.

Joey Odom (04:01):

Oh, I love that. And I do understand, and a lot of Cincinnatians are not going to like what you are about to say, but I understand you don't like Skyline Chili. Is that true?

Megan Lewin (04:10):

I'm not a huge fan. I'm not a huge fan. My brothers love it. But no, we're not big Skyline fans. If we have people come in from out of town, we'll take you. You can try it, but we probably won't partake.

Joey Odom (04:24):

I need to have some Skyline chili. And it is, it's two camps in or you're out. There's no in between. It's

Megan Lewin (04:30):

An experience. If you come, you got to have it.

Joey Odom (04:34):

I'm curious, Megan, I've become convinced over the last year or so, the homeschool moms rule the world. What is it? Will you just tell me about that dynamic of homeschooling, maybe even what brought you into that, and then when did you decide? And then just talk about maybe the future world dominance of homeschool moms.

Megan Lewin (04:59):

Well, I grew up homeschooled. My husband grew up homeschooled. So it's the culture that we both knew when we set our family values where how do we instill those into our kids? And since becoming a mom, it's very hard to get things to stick with your kids. It takes a lot of effort. And so I thought if I send them somewhere and I have to unteach them and then reteach them, I'm like, it is never going to work. It's hard enough just to teach your values. And so my husband and I just wrote a pro-con list, and we felt like the pros really outweighed for us. We wanted time as a family. We wanted culture as a family. We want our values to be instilled in our kids. We wanted to be able to travel. My husband can work from anywhere, and I'm home full time.

So we really have, the world is our oyster, and we really take advantage of that and give our kids just cool experiences. And that's kind of the fun side of it. It's a lot of work too, and it's a huge commitment. But for me, it is so special to have this time with my kids, and I have to remind myself of my why a lot because it gets really hard. And I'm like, it's no shame to people who send their kids to school, and we might do that someday. This is just what really fits for our family and we love it. And so it's wonderful. I'm really thankful to be here and not in the hospital working.

Joey Odom (06:25):

Exactly. Well, I love that concept of coming back to your why, coming back to your anchor. And if you have a really strong why, no matter what it is, you have a really strong why. When things that get difficult, you can go back to that anchor and say, here's why we're doing this. And I know it requires this huge level of intentionality to do that. And technology certainly is a wonderful thing. I'm sure you implemented at home with the homeschooling, but it can also, as we all know, sometimes those things can get in the way. And I'm curious, do you have this great story or a story or a moments of maybe when your phone got in the way and it's minor, very embarrassing, but I'm curious, funny, heartfelt, anything? Do you have a good story of, Hey, my phone kind of got in the way here?

Megan Lewin (07:11):

Yeah, I mean, I could probably tell you a bunch, but we'll just pick one. But my second grader is very sensitive. She's my sweet, empathetic physical touch, loves to be connected to me. And we were doing math this past year and she was really struggling with a new concept. And I was like, my brain was just checking out. I'm like, it's very simple addition. You're losing that patience very quickly. So I picked up my phone and I started scrolling Instagram, and I just completely checked out and I was not paying attention to her. And she's struggling, her brain's working through this concept, and she set her pencil down and she said, well, you're on your phone on Instagram. I'm done with school. And my heart just shattered. And I just thought I missed the mark so big. And I was like, oh, come sit down.

Let me have a redo. We do a lot of parent redos. I make a lot of mistakes. And I said, let me try that again. And I sent my phone to the side and we try it again. But unfortunately, that happens a lot. And that's just one example that pulled out in my head, but it stuck with me a lot. And she'll be the one who will say, do you mind putting your phone in the box? Can we read a book together? Or she's really bought into that. She wants that. She'll say, can you look at me eyes on me? Or something like that. And so it's not rude when she says it. And sometimes I'll say, Hey, mom's making a dentist appointment for you. I need to be doing this on my phone. But they understand that it's not all me just scrolling on Instagram to escape. But that's one example that is really sad and broke my heart and was a huge catalyst for me saying I have chosen to homeschool is a huge sacrifice. I could be doing a lot of other things with my time. I need to be putting my phone away. This is embarrassing. You're an adult, but it's hard to do that. It's really hard to put your phone away. And so

Joey Odom (09:12):

It's so interesting. You really nailed it there. It is hard. What I love about just about that story, and one, thank you for sharing it. It is embarrassing to share our parent redo moments, but it is, it's a community. We say it all the time, this approach, people who use Aro, we're not coming from a place of self-righteousness. I know I'm not. It's a place of an acknowledgement. This is difficult and I've made mistakes and I don't want to make more mistakes or I want to limit my future mistakes. And again, and what's interesting is that I bet and I, we've not talked about this, I bet you still have Instagram, right?

Megan Lewin (09:51):

Yeah, for sure.

Joey Odom (09:52):

Yeah. Because again, there are some things that maybe are unsavory things on Instagram, but in general, that's a great way to connect, see what your friends are doing, your family's doing, share pictures on your own. And so it's just about the space. It's about the time. When are you doing it? Is it while your second graders studying for math for you? You said, no, that's not the time I want to use it. And so it's helping you. It's not getting rid of all technology. It's helping you create the spaces when you want to use technology.

Megan Lewin (10:23):

And I think that's what I love about Aro because I have these talks with my husband and I'm like, I should just get a flip phone. And he's like, you couldn't, how are you going to get downtown without your GPS? I'm like, okay, you're right. There are things that I need. It's integrated into our lives now. We can't just throw it out the window. Although some days I would like to, but that's why I love Aro because I can just put my phone in the box. I get this little hit from getting, oh, you did two hours, you logged two hours in that session. It's like, wow, good job. That was really good. And I think I need that accountability almost within the app. And instead of just saying, I'm going to get a flip phone, and then a month later going, this is not working for our family, or a little bit extreme.

Joey Odom (11:11):

I totally agree. So what was that when you saw, I'm curious, and what was it when you heard, take this story when you heard about Aro, when you said, I think that's for me almost like the why moment where you said, okay, this is something I think could be for me. Will you tell us about that time?

Megan Lewin (11:28):

Yeah, I mean, I think it was pretty close to around the time that that situation happened with my daughter Shay. And I heard about you guys from the 1000 Hours Outside podcast, which is a podcast, I listen to you all the time. It's something we implement with our family, aligns really well with our family values. And so when they had you on and you just told the story, I thought, this is a perfect fit. This is exactly what I'm looking for. It fits the need of not extremely getting rid of all of my social media and doing something that I really possibly can't do anyway. And immediately before the podcast was even over, I was like, I'm ordering this and I'm texting my friends because I know this isn't just me who struggles with this. We're getting screen time alerts every Sunday afternoon from your Apple iPhone, and some of my friends and I will share our screen time with each other.

How'd you do this week? Because it's something we want to minimize. But when I look at my screen time sometimes I go, that's not all me just scrolling Instagram, we use it for other things that are really important, but there's a lot of that too. So how do we minimize the screen time but still use this amazing tool that we have at our fingertips that's a blessing. Or I don't want my iPhone to be a curse, but sometimes it's, and sometimes it's a blessing. So when we found Aro, I mean it shipped so quick and we started using it almost immediately. And I don't remember when that podcast came out, but I think we've almost had it a year. I'm not exactly sure the timeline, but we have not stopped using it. And we took a trip, we took a bunch of trips this summer, but one trip I was like, I think I'm going to bring the box with us, because I was just like, we're taking this trip to go spend time together. I don't want to be more on my phone. And so I was like, I need to pack that in the van and bring it with,

Joey Odom (13:17):

I love that. I dunno if you've seen, there's a Toyota commercial right now where they all put their phones in a box and they go on vacation. It's such a great commercial. No, we need to talk to Toyota folks and get some product placement in there.

Megan Lewin (13:29):

Seriously, stick in the center console. Right. That's awesome. I haven't seen it. I'll have to look it up.

Joey Odom (13:35):

That's a good one. So you talked about the moment where you noticed yourself probably falling short of your own intentions. Aro means the term means to notice. So since getting Aro and you've talked about, what are some things that you've noticed, whether it's with yourself, your kids, your family dynamic, anything like that that you've noticed or maybe that others have noticed about you since having Aro?

Megan Lewin (13:58):

Yeah, I mean, when we first got it, we set, okay, let's try to hit two hours a day. And I thought, man, this thing is going to be worth its weight and gold. If I get two uninterrupted hours a day, how much money that's worth for my, but we quickly moved our goal up to five hours a day, and we're pretty consistently hitting that because you just, it's so simple to just stick it in there and forget about it, and you go, wow, there really aren't emergencies that I'm needed for. If there's an emergency, somebody can call our house phone or they'll get ahold of my husband or all of these things that I'm opening my phone for can wait. The more important thing is right in front of me. And so I think the big thing, I heard you say this on the 1000 hours outside podcast that your kids would say, do you mind putting your phone in the box or can we do some box time?

Or whatever, however you said it. But several of my daughters will say, do you think you could put your phone in the box and we could play in the play kitchen, or we could take a walk outside. Or they're noticing that my eyes are on them. And I think that's a huge motivator to keep using it because we're putting a ton of intentionality in how we're raising our family, the time that we're spending with our kids. And I don't want them to look back and go, yeah, they did X, Y, Z, but I remember my mom sitting on the couch looking at the phone. That breaks my heart to think of that. And it's also helping them understand, I still do things that are important on my phone. It's not always being off of it, but they're definitely seeing mom's putting her phone in the box. We put our phones in on Friday night. We don't take 'em out until Saturday night. We do a formal putting it in, Hey, it's Friday night. We eat pizza together every Friday night. And so I think that's really cool too, where they're seeing it's Saturday, it's a rest day. Mom and dad are hanging out with us. We're doing stuff as a family. And so we just love it. I tell everybody about it. And when people come over, I'm like, we have this box thing. And they're like, okay,

Joey Odom (15:53):

Well, I'll tell you, I'd put money on the Lewin kids. I would just on their futures. Because the fact that they're asking you to put your phone away or reminding you what they're really saying is, I'm worth you putting your phone down. They know they're more, it's because of your modeling, because they have that value, because they have the foundation. And then because you've modeled that for 'em, you've communicated to them that they're more important, and so they believe it. And so as your oldest is 10, and as they get older into teenage years and they're going to encounter more and more difficult things. But my bet is they're going to go back and know, hold on, I'm valuable. I don't allow myself to be treated this way, or I know how to handle this situation. So my money's on the lus, that's for sure.

Megan Lewin (16:36):

I hope so. I hope so.

Joey Odom (16:39):

What about someone listening? What encouragement or advice would you give to parents when it comes to phones, families and anything like that? What kind of encouragement or advice would you offer up?

Megan Lewin (16:50):

I mean, we're still kind of in the younger years, so we haven't quite gotten into that. Some of our kids' friends are just starting to get phones and we're like, wow. We've said some really kind of strong boundary lines where we're just like, we are different. We're weird. We're owning it. You guys aren't going to have phones, but you can use ours to call your friends. And so that's our family stance, and we're just like, let's go run in the woods instead of being on TikTok or something. But I think for us, we're just like, there's more important things than having a device or being on a phone and making life more exciting and fun for them.

I'm not sure if that answered your question or not. Yeah, it does. I think for us, we're just understanding technology's going to be a huge part of their life, and they're not going to struggle to learn how to use an iPhone. They're not going to struggle to learn how to use a computer, but we want them to figure out how to problem solve when they're bored or how to fix something with their dad. And we're just trying to make that much more of our culture than devices, or we still do screen time. My kids still know what Netflix is. They'll ask to watch a movie on a Friday night just like anybody. But we're really trying to find that healthy balance and we want to model that for our kids. And so I think that's where Aro really helps us because it's hard as a parent.

It's hard to be with your kids 24 7, and it's wonderful. I wouldn't choose anything else, but it's really easy to zone out on my phone, and I still do it a lot, but even if we hit that mark 30% of the time, that's what's going to stick. And remember with them, that's what they're going to remember. And so we're trying to get our phone into that box 30% of the time, our eyes are on them for mealtime, our eyes are on them on Saturdays. And so it's a process, but it's a hugely helpful tool for our family. And yeah.

Joey Odom (18:48):

That's wonderful. Well, this inspires me. It really does. I mean, it's hearing these stories of, Hey, let me make sure that I double down the night thinking about what you're doing for your kids. Lemme double down the night with my kids. And it is easy, and our kids are wonderful. But you're right, sometimes they can be. Someone said this to us the other day, which I love. They said, Hey, my kids are kind of boring sometimes. Yeah. Thank you for acknowledging that. Yeah, of course. And you know what? I know I'm boring to them, to my kids, but there is nothing more valuable than that of just giving that eye contact, giving that focus. So thank you for doing that. Thank you for offering up some words of advice and your story and being open and authentic with it. It means a lot to us. So yeah,

Megan Lewin (19:36):

We love you guys and we love your product, and we're happy to tell anybody about it. So it's a real honor to be on today. And just thank you guys for what you're doing. It's definitely a worthwhile work, this family culture and strengthening that and enriching that. We need that more than ever. And so thank you guys for what you're doing, and we love your product, and we're telling our friends and family about it. For sure.

Joey Odom (19:59):

I appreciate that. I love how you ended that. It's a worthwhile work. It is work, but it is worthwhile. So thank you for that. Megan, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for the conversation. Appreciate you very much.

Megan Lewin (20:11):

Absolutely. Happy to be on. Thanks for chatting.

Joey Odom (20:14):

Thanks so much. 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 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 @goaronow. 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.