Funnily enough I started writing this blog on my phone. And I guess that’s part of the problem, I use my phone for everything. Long gone are the days of just phoning and texting; I can order my food shop, organise my week, make a home video and check what that girl I never met had for breakfast this morning. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s pretty handy that I can do everything in one place, but as a result I’m multi-tasking to the max and not present to where I actually am. I’m distracted and man does my eldest child know it. She has to ask me a question several times, I get snappy that she isn’t being patient, and her behaviour in general gets more challenging because I’m not giving her my full attention. I’m trying to be in four places at once. And that’s just not possible. It’s got to the point where I’m checking my phone without even realising that I’m checking it. It’s second nature. She actually brings it to me when I leave a room without it…as if it’s a part of me that I need at all times. HOW HAVE I LET IT GET TO THAT POINT?!
So here I am being painfully honest and concluding that I am addicted to my phone. I know it’s not good and that I am not present enough. I know it isn’t aiding my connection with my husband, children and friends. I know this and I promise that tomorrow I’ll be better. I’ll put my phone down, focus more, play more and be present. As a family we even attempted to start having a ‘Sabbath’ day once a week (no phones or T.V. etc and be more intentional about being present to each other) but we didn’t stick with it. It’s a bit like a diet; great intentions but I quickly give in and promise that I’ll start again next week.
So why, when I know the negative impact it’s having, is it so hard? I think for me partly it’s because I like to be super organised and on top of things, and my phone is the hub of my organisation. If I think of something I need to remember, I write it in my phone immediately, I text back straight away, put that play date in the calendar before I forget and so on. So it is a practical tool. But that other part, where I check social media a silly amount of times a day, and arrange my coffee perfectly for a photo before I drink it (!) is not only a habit but I think a result of boredom. Looking after kids (or maybe for some their job or their school work) can be, dare I say it, a little bit boring. The monotonous routine of preparing their food, clearing up after their food, getting the toys out, clearing the toys up, singing nursery rhymes, playing make believe, getting the coats on, taking them off, getting in and out of car seats and buggies, explaining why it’s not kind to hit, why it’s good to share, why they can’t have another chocolate from their advent calendar, doing bath, bed and…repeat. It’s busy but it’s not particularly stimulating. So going online and seeing that someone else is having the same sort of day as you, sharing the cute moments, making a photo look pretty, it well, just keeps you going and makes you feel a bit less alone, maybe a bit more inspired before you continue to clear poo out of the bath for the third evening in a row. But it’s definitely having a negative effect on my relationships.
So how do we get the balance? How do we respect those we’re with by giving them our full attention and at the same time stay organised and stimulated? My only conclusion is that I need more discipline and to set boundaried time in which I use my phone…and actually stick to it. I know when I have chosen to do this, I have had the most lovely moments with my kids. Moments I didn’t take a photo of or share with you, but moments I’ll treasure in my memory. Moments where I wasn’t snappy, where I gave them my full attention and they beamed that they had all of me.
I really want to get better at this. I don’t want a stupid smart phone to become more important than my family and they need to know that.
Please do comment below if you relate to anything I’ve said and any ideas you might have had to get the balance?!