Do you ever feel like your phone is your best friend and worst enemy at the same time?
Last night for the first time ever Arjun asked me “mummy phone down please”.
I can’t even begin to express my guilt.
Do I use my phone? Yes. Excessively is the truth. I use my phone for absolutely everything – to manage my online store (BabyBrainApparel.com), to write my blog posts (I’ve only ever written my first few posts on a computer), take pictures, manage my calendar, online clothes shopping, online food shopping, banking, manage social media and keep up to date with a gazillion group chats including the family one where we share pictures of Arjun … And for keeping up to date with the lives of my friends and family by sometimes spending hours a week scrolling through social media feeds.
I often wonder what on earth people did before smart phones? I certainly survived. I wish I could go back to a good ol Nokia 8210. A phone that I wouldn’t be glued to. A phone that was used for its intended purpose – to make calls and send the odd message. I wish I didn’t live in an age where I wasn’t the only one with this horrible disease. I don’t remember my parents being glued to their phones when I was a child – I have fond memories of them which don’t feature phones. The house phone was used a lot more and a mobile was used for making calls, not even really messaging.
I have become more and more conscious about over using my phone especially around Arjun. Anytime he calls me, I put my phone straight down and go to him. I’m very conscious about ensuring he isn’t ignored when I’m busy doing something else because the truth is, I don’t often get to spend quality time with him as there is always something to do – be it cooking, sewing or working! The last thing I need to be doing is spending the little time I do have on my phone.
Last night wasn’t about me ignoring his call for me. No. He skipped that part and went straight to asking me to put my phone down. The innocently desperate “please” he tagged on to the end (although I know it’s because he chose to use good manners!) made it so much worse.
He was lying on my tummy ready for bed after play fighting with me and asked me to put “Baba Ji Waheguru” on so I pulled out my phone to do just that. What I did after that was unnecessary. As always, my natural reaction is to click on my social media icons. I don’t even need to look at my phone to know where they are located, I don’t even need to think about what I’m doing – it just happens. I clicked on Instagram and just like that, found myself scrolling through my feed. Why?! It’s like a natural reaction anytime I touch my phone. It’s so odd. I don’t want it to be an innate part of me. I don’t want my son to ever feel like he comes second to a piece of technology. I felt so awful. I instantly put my phone down without even exiting the app and didn’t touch it after that. How has it become a part of my daily schedule to meaninglessly scroll through social media feeds? What does it bring to my life? Don’t get me wrong, if I was sat bored on a train, or on my lunch break that would be different. But how can I be so ridiculous to miss out on precious time with my child while doing something so pointless?!
I’ve definitely reduced my phone use but clearly it’s still too much. For some reason I’d feel less guilty sitting at a laptop with him playing nearby than I do sitting on my phone to get things done.
It’s crazy that I used to have my phone at the ready 24/7 incase I missed a precious moment that a lot of the time I ended up not being in THAT moment and instead watched it from behind a camera lens. Most of my pictures of Arjun were taken on my phone. That’s definitely changed, the number of pictures I take has reduced dramatically. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing?
It’s like a disease – one that I’m not afraid to face I have. Change is definitely in order. Perhaps utilising my Canon camera instead of my camera phone when possible, using my laptop instead of my phone when possible. A smartphone is just so accessible and easy to use. Perhaps I’ll implement a rule whereby I don’t use my phone when Arjun is at home unless absolutely necessary – what is “absolutely necessary” though?
All I know is, I never ever want Arjun to feel the need to tell me “mummy phone down please” again. I felt like a failure last night. I know lots of mums can relate as unfortunately it’s a part of this day and age. That’s no excuse though, controlling it is something I’ve been rubbish at but that’s something I’m going to change.
P.s. this blog post was written in the notes section of my phone … While Arjun is at nursery!