Real Mum Confession: I Think I Need to Break up with My Phone

Uh-oh. Writer Hannah Macauley Gierhart has realised her passion for tech is a little too-much… Here’s her plan to break up with her phone. Say, what?! 

I love my phone a bit much. Okay, a whole lot much. It’s a continual fountain of information, connection, news, philosophy and photos of my friends’ cute kids.

It’s kept me company in those long, dark hours of endless breastfeeding, and provided an outlet when the day is dragging her heels.

I love the way it can reveal a whole world when I need to look beyond my own walls for a moment. I relish that I can stay up-to-date with the happenings of friends and family all around the world. And share my own news instantly, of course!

However, I’ve noticed how easily I am preoccupied with it. I find my phone in my hand without even realising I’ve picked it up, I gravitate towards it in moments where I could be doing a million other things. It’s a time-sucker, an object of mass distraction. It’s a siren singing its seductive song from the corner of the room #allthetime

I’m not planning on getting rid of my phone altogether; that would be ridiculous. I can’t fathom how people survived without mobile phones in the times before they were a staple of modern life. How did they let people know they were running late? Find virtually anything they needed with the swipe of a finger? Email? Take photos? Shop?

The breakup I’m proposing is more of a let’s-stay-friends kind. Maybe a little it’s-not-you-it’s-me. Sure, I need my phone, but I don’t want to be governed by it. I want it close by to capture moments of my children, not make me miss them. I want to be a present mum, not a distracted one. And here’s what I propose to do about it…

[mc_block_title custom_title=”1. Get my phone out of the way”]

I’ll stick it on the bench or shelf and only look at it when I absolutely need to. My phone is at maximum distraction when it follows me through the house. If it’s stuck out of the way then I won’t be tempted to trawl the internet without noticing I’ve picked my phone up.

[mc_block_title custom_title=”2. Make sure I’m accessible, but not too much”]

I’ll take my phone off silent so I won’t miss the necessary things. I often tell myself I’m using my phone for ‘important’ reasons – in case I miss calls and texts – and twenty minutes of Facebook stalking will pass by before I know it. This way, I’ll know I’m contactable when needed without wasting so much time.

[mc_block_title custom_title=”3. Use my phone at appropriate times”]

I’m not proposing to go cold turkey. My phone is wonderful – in small doses. When my kids rest, when I’m sitting with a cuppa, in the evenings… hello my phone-friend! I think I’ll appreciate it more when I’m using it in moderation. My phone-usage will be purposeful and productive within these healthy boundaries.

[mc_block_title custom_title=”4. Forgive myself when I blur the boundaries”]

There will probably be moments when I slip up, and that’s okay. I’m not perfect, and I’ll have grace for myself when I lapse into old habits. I’m not trying to prove anything by breaking up with my phone, so I can recognise that this is a process that will help my sanity and connection with the people in front of me, forgiving myself along the way.

So think of me as I go through phone detox. I may even get the shakes and feel a little nauseous. I may even slip and have to start my own 4 Point Program again. It will be a challenge but definitely worth the sacrifice. I’m looking forward to seeing the vibrant world around me more – and not through a screen.

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Hannah Macauley-Gierhart is a mother, writer, teacher, editor, and fiction reader. The joyous bedlam of raising young kids sees her writing at strange hours, drinking lots of tea, and loving the chaos that fuels good prose.

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