One Friday night recently, whilst tucking my 7 year old daughter in to bed, she dropped a bombshell on me. The fateful words that I’ve been dreading for a long time, were finally uttered. Words that made me cringe. Words that hit me with a thwack, like a cucumber to the bosom. And caused me more pain than a friction burn from the drop slide.
“Mummy, you’re always looking at your phone. I mean, you’re always on it, every time I look at you you’re like (mimes holding a phone up to her face, her mouth and eyes open wide, tongue slightly protruding over the bottom lip and finger waggling up and down the front of the imaginary phone)”.
Have I really become the type of mum I never wanted to be? The scroller, the checker, the distracted by pointless bull shit mum?
Part of me crumbled when she said those words and I made a decision there and then to
change. my. ways.
Or at least get better at hiding when I want to check Facebook!!
Here’s the thing; Our kids don’t yet have any gadgets. Despite the fact that I am a blogger and therefore a total slave to social media, (and therefore a total hypocrite) I actually consider us a ‘low-tech’ family. We are holding off for as long as we can from letting our children have iPads, phones, computer consoles and other ‘screens’ (although they do watch shit loads of telly). I don’t judge people who do let their children have these things of course, it’s simply a decision we have made and it seems to be working out ok for now.
So you can see the irony of this situation. My children are nagging ME to put my phone away!
But I’m glad. It was the dig in the ribs that I needed to snap me out of the bad habit I had got in to. In my defence, I don’t think that I am any worse than any other average phone user parent – but my children aren’t keeping a close eye on the others are they?
I didn’t argue or try and defend myself to my daughter though. I thanked her for letting me know and told her that she was right and that I’d stop looking at my phone so often. I promised to put my phone away over the weekend until she and her sister were in bed.
Why? Because there is the possibility that when she said “Mummy, you’re always looking at your phone.” what she really meant was; “I need you more than Facebook needs you” or worse “Do you need your phone more than you need me?”
Oh it’s all too MUCH!!
I wondered if it is precisely because they don’t have their own gadgets that they have noticed me on mine? Perhaps if they were glued to an iPad they wouldn’t really think twice about it? Their heads would be cast downwards and not looking at me, looking at my phone!
I am so glad that my daughter gave me this kick up backside. I really am. And I’m making a conscious effort to be phone free when I’m around them because I really do think that’s important.
But it IS a little bit of an inconvenience if I’m honest. Blogs don’t write themselves! Videos don’t get made if I don’t sit and edit them! Social media is only social if you engage with it! So what am I to DO?
I need a hide-away, somewhere I can escape to, a room of one’s own that I can legitimately lock myself away in, without social services being called. Somewhere that I can visit frequently throughout the day and no-one will wonder what I’m doing…