Why are you always on the phone?

My children haven’t actually asked this yet, but it’s just a matter of time and I dread it coming up. I will feel so awful if they ever think I’d rather spend time linking with other people – many of whom I don’t even know that well – than spending the precious time we have together. And so  – starting this half term – I’m making a pact with myself and with you….Maybe you’ll join me? Smart Phoners Anonymous?

I am going to control how much time I spend on my phone. And because it’s easy to get sucked in, I’m going to be quite legalistic about how I control this. So, on days when the children are with me, I won’t check Facebook, the Internet (unless direct and immediate need – i.e. how do we get where we’re going?) or email, or reply to any but essential text/calls (friends/family crisis) more than once during reasonable waking hours. On school days thereafter (told you was being legalistic) I won’t do the above between pick up and (reasonable) bedding down time.

Can you imagine how you’d feel if your children looked back on their childhood and had an abiding memory of you on the phone? Or making that dreadful repeated plea we sometimes get, “Will you play with me?”

I know, children need to learn that adults have tasks they need to do and can’t always play with them. (And you have my heart-felt sympathies if you’re juggling work and child care this holiday – this obviously can’t apply to you in the same way as those not.) Children do need to understand that adults have their own interests and needs. But to put Amazon browsing and passing on funnies on Facebook into the mix on top of cooking dinner and tidying up, is going to squeeze them out utterly unfairly. Obviously.

This small black rectangle I cling to as if it was my life, isn’t my life and it could damage it….and more importantly, the lives my children  – not perhaps through radiation anymore, but through how it affects our relationships. The pathetic part of it is that I’m not actually that bothered about doing things on my phone, it’s just become a habit….and it needs breaking. That’s why I’m starting Smart Phoners Anonymous.  This is a kind of addiction and it is destructive so let’s try and beat it together.1

Can you see where I’m coming from? Will you join me? Will you consider a pact? And maybe share with other friends? I think we’ll find our times with our children will be far calmer if they’re not fighting for attention with the extra child that is our ever-demanding phone!

If I don’t reply to your message within 8 hours, this blog is why….

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8 thoughts on “Why are you always on the phone?

  1. kindvanniewind

    Count me in!!

    And I do find the fact that the acronym is spelling “SPA” rather amusing! Especially since there recedes a vague and distant memory in the minuscule “PC” (pre-children) remnant of my brain about the lure such an establishment may have! (Or should that read: might have had…?)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Naomi Wellings Post author

      Thanks for your reply. How have you found the week? It is just a habit I think for me and I’ve found my children have seemed much more biddable now that I’m not keeping half an eye on my phone! Obvious really but….hey ho!

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      Reply
      1. ordinarilyextraordinarymom

        It’s been a work in progress. It works well and I am much more patient with them when I put my phone down. I just have to constantly remind myself to put it away somewhere out of sight while I play with them, or read with them in the evenings. It has become such a habit for me to always have it close to check for nothing really…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. forestfleece

    This is bold and good. I haven’t yet succumbed to the ultimate in phonophilia ( endless apps, games, etc. and a constant, nervous checking of my phone even when I’ve had no signal ) and I do sometimes try – more as an experiment in will-power than anything else – quite deliberately to delay responding to messages; but in the end, it’s hard to silence the nagging voice that says: “At least see who it is!” or “Better check. It might be a real emergency…!” – then – worst of all – “You’d never forgive yourself!!”

    What did we do about emergencies before we had instant contact, I wonder. Were there fewer of them in the old days? Have emergencies ( not to speak of pseudo-emergencies ) actually increased over the last ten years? Or have we become less adept at dealing with them. ( I read of a woman who recently dialled 999 to ask what time it was because she’d lost her watch! )

    I’m fearful that this is one of those cases where supply actually creates demand. Did we ever ask for these things or is it simply that clever people detected a multi-billion-pound market?

    Anyway – OK, Naomi, I’ll join the pact – so long as I can set my own terms – even though they might not be as stringent as yours.

    Keep blogging. They’re really good. Actually say something and provoke thought.

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    Reply
  3. Pingback: Unbecoming of you | ordinarilyextraordinarymom

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