Thursday, November 22, 2018

Motherhood Unplugged

Are you addicted to your phone?

Go on be honest.

Perhaps you don't think you are but if you really paid attention to how much time you spend scrolling or how you take your phone absolutely everywhere you go, then maybe, just maybe you'd think 'hmmmm I'm actually super distracted by my phone'.

A little while ago River (my 12 year old son) came up with the idea that we should all do personal challenges, "Mum I think yours should be not using your phone for a whole day".

Ouch. That kind of stung a little. Is my phone use really dominating my day and my attention?

I think it is.

So much communicating between mums happens via text and through apps - drop offs, pick ups, sports practice, school activities often all that information requires me to be looking at my phone, or paying attention to it while I'm doing something else as I wait for the beep of a reply.

Social media is a whole other story of distraction that is up to me to keep in check.

I have certainly burnt toast while falling down the social media rabbit hole but I'm sure much worse things have happened because focus is on the screen and not on what is happening in the room.

One thing I'm really glad about is that Instagram wasn't invented when I was breastfeeding my babies. No mother blame, guilt or shame intended here!! But if it had of been I could imagine myself tempted in the depth of the night breast feeding and scrolling over the top of my baby's head for hours.

My sister-in-law, Davini, and I were chatting about social media distraction, Davini realised she was unwittingly losing hours of her life to facebook so set herself a social media 'curfew' - no social media during the day, only between 4pm - 6pm and even then just for a short time within those hours (her children are all over the age of 17 so she's not dealing with toddlers and babies during those hours).

I don't watch TV, I rarely watch Netflix (I know, what's wrong with me?) but I do lose myself to social media each day, if I'm honest probably for one to two hours. Some of that time is work but some of it is just pure escapism.

The answer?

It's going to look different for everyone but here are some ideas:

- If your phone addiction is really bad I would suggest deleting social media apps and going cold turkey for a while.

- If you can't face that at least turn the notifications off.

- Consider not having email come to your phone. That way you won't be tempted to 'just quickly check' your email and then wind up on Instagram. You will also be more focused at your desk if you set time purely to respond to email.

- I'm guessing you set times for your children to have screen time, try setting some times for yourself AND STICKING TO THEM. One thing I have always done is turn off the computer at pick up time and not go back on it until the boys are in bed. I've had 6.5 hours while they're at school to be on screens for work I want to give them my full attention when I see them.

- When you go to the park or sporting events with your kids leave your phone in the car. Our kids want our full attention in these situations. Everything else can wait.

- At home have a place that you store your phone that is out of sight that way you won't be tempted to check it so frequently.

- Try Screen Free Sunday for the whole family.

And if you want to read a whole book on the topic take a look at How To Break Up With Your Phone.

Now put down your phone :)

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