Hi my name is Mandy and I am a phone-aholic.
I’ve tried to give it up, I really have. I’ve even gone a few months where the only thing I used my phone for was to make calls. Crazy, I know. But alas, here I am again, fallen off the screen-free wagon. I blame the baby.
Before our daughter Amelia arrived, two months ago, I had made great progress with detaching from my phone. Perhaps it was the pregnancy ‘nesting’ that had me bustling around the house finishing projects. Or maybe it was the conviction to be more present with my boys when they’d arrive home from school. Or let’s be real, maybe I was avoiding social media with all its pictures of cute newborn babies because of my jealous, impatient, 40 weeks pregnant, hormonal state. Either way, my phone would sometimes go hours, untouched, sitting out of sight, out of mind.
Fast forward two months. I am currently in the throws of full phone dependency. It goes with me everywhere. Its playing podcasts when I’m driving. It’s playing music when I’m showering. It’s showing me YouTube videos when I’m in the bathroom (don’t act like you don’t do that too). But most of all, it’s keeping me occupied during the many, many hours of the day (and night) that I’m nursing the baby. In the dim light of the nursery, rocking in my glider, I’ll aimlessly scroll my Facebook newsfeed, refresh my Instagram account, comment on friends’ pictures, or ‘window shop’ the various baby clothing sites that I really shouldn’t even be looking at. Darn those well-placed advertisements. But I can’t listen to anything on my phone at night because I don’t want the sound to wake the baby that I’m working so hard to nurse back to sleep. I really should invest in a pair of AirPods. Or is that just my addiction talking?
During the day, when I’ve moved from the nursery to the couch for our nursing fests, I try to take a break from the phone to indulge in my other addiction: Netflix. But then I’ll get a text, or a notification that draws my attention back to my hand-held device. And just like that, I’m back on my phone and missing who just got kicked off the Great British Baking Show.
The worst part about this addiction is that it’s not just when I’m nursing the baby. It sneaks into all parts of my day. I find myself snapping a cute selfie of me and the baby with a fun Snapchat filter, then taking way too long to think of a catchy hash-tag to post it on Facebook. Right there, five minutes of phone time. Or my boys do something silly and I’m taking a Boomerang video to add it to my Instagram story. Now I’m sucked into Instagram and it becomes another ten minutes of phone time.
I’ve tried to get better about using my phone time more wisely. I save informative articles to read, download books to my Kindle app, join a Bible Devotional group, or catch up on emails to my friends and family. I have a few mom friends that are also up late at night nursing their babies and it’s funny to get an instant reply from them at three o’clock in the morning. They apparently have a phone addiction also.
I’ve toyed with the idea of giving up my phone for a while. It really can get mind-numbing. I recently watched a video (shocker, I know) on how another couple gave up the internet for one month and how incredibly hard it was for them. Their point was that we go online with no particular purpose. We allow the internet to pull us every which way. It’s a massive influx of information coming at us through those tiny screens that isn’t necessarily important. So even though I don’t see myself going cold-turkey during this baby season I’m in, I do want to try and be more conscientious of how I’m spending that screen time. I find out about so many great events and activities through groups and pages I follow on Facebook (*ahem*, like Chesapeake Family’s events calendar, *ahem*), but I should go on there to look those things up, then sign off afterward instead of just mindlessly scrolling. It’s especially important this time of year to be more present with my family, as the holidays can be so busy and go by so fast, I don’t want to miss a second of it.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Luke.