I’m finding it very difficult to give up “browsing” my phone.
But I’ve also realized something interesting (and depressing): a lot of the anxiety, frustration, and lack of patience I feel is caused by my phone habit. I noticed this over the weekend, when I was home with my kids a lot. I usually think of my phone as a little escape from my kids when I’m alone with them: I can grab my phone and talk to my moms’ group, text a friend, browse Instagram. But as I picked up my phone again, and again, and again throughout the day, I realized that the false sense of urgency I feel when checking social media, email, and texts–the false sense that I might miss something if I don’t look rightnow–was just making me more anxious and shortening my patience with my children.
It started to feel like I was waiting for breaks in my childcare duties and activities just to look at my phone. I wasn’t in the moment at all. I was treating whatever was happening on that little screen like it was more important, even more real, than what was happening in my own living room.
I doubt this is a very unusual experience. Doing something like caring for little kids can be very tedious and sometimes pretty frustrating (toddlers!). I think it’s totally okay to admit that. I also think it’s totally okay to encourage your children to amuse themselves while you make a phone call, read a book chapter, cook something, or even watch a little TV. But it’s not okay, for me at least, to be seen sneaking glances at Facebook when I could be engaging with my kids, or at least giving them an example of “mom is busy” that’s healthy and positive, like reading a book, doing a workout, or making my own lunch.
This is probably the most motivating realization I’ve had about my phone/Internet/social media use. I’m hoping it makes this process that much easier.