Screen time guilt

This isn’t a new revelation. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a while but it seems to be getting worse. Or maybe I’m just noticing it more.

Screen time. Specifically, myย screen time.

When Oscar was a newborn, I had a lot of hours alone. Often it was with a sleeping baby on my chest so I was limited to what I could actually do. I needed to be quiet and still so all too often, I would spend hours on my phone. Facebook, Instagram, Baby Centre dashboards, WordPress, Pinterest. I would search recipes or read parenting articles until my phone was flashing red from low battery. Hours and hours wasted. Throughout the entire newborn age, I read a total of one book. ONE! I had thought I would be burning through books with the amount of time I was stuck in a chair.

As Oscar has gotten older, I haven’t been able to shake the habit.

I do a lot with Oscar. I take him for walks, we do activities at home, we visit parks, I read to him. I jump on a broom and sing, “giddy up, giddy up, giddy up horsey” gallopping around the living room as he chases me, trying to jump on the back. But my phone is always nearby and I always end up picking it up.

I know I’m not alone in this. We live in a different age and smartphones are changing everything. When I’m driving somewhere and I pass a parent on the street pushing a pram, they are in a zombie-like trance. One hand on the pram handle, the other hand holding a phone up to their face. I don’t want to look like that. I don’t want to be like that. But I know that’s me.

A few things have happened lately that have made me want to take a break from social media and just my phone in general. Small moments where I suddenly think, ‘these days are going by so quickly, I need to be more present’. But then those moments pass and I get bored, reaching for my phone again.

But yesterday something happened that sort of stabbed me in the guts a bit. Candice and I were in the lounge room where Oscar was playing with his toys.We were both on our phones not really doing anything important when Oscar suddenly wandered off down the hallway. I assumed that he went into his bedroom but after a minute of silence, Candice walked down the hall to find that he wasn’t in his room. He was actually in the our bedroom right next to his. He had climbed up onto the bed to reach my old iPhone (we use it to play soft music when he is sleeping in there) from the bed head. She watched him climb down and carry the old phone out to the lounge where he then walked straight up and handed to me, saying ‘Ta’.

So where do I start? The idea of going on a phone ban is exciting to me as I think of all the things I could do with that time. All the projects I could work on. All the extra activities I could fit in with Oscar. I just worry about the reality of it. Is it naive to think a complete phone ban is realistic? Perhaps a different plan where I simply set limitations on phone usage would work better? I think I’m finding it difficult because I love the online community that I socialise with. I’ve made actual friends through some social media avenues and would be sad to neglect them. I’m scared of feeling lonely and isolated. Since having Oscar, I don’t have many ‘real life friends’ that I actually catch up with. Only 1 of them actually has kids and I know she has her hands full with a newborn right now. I have a lot of non parent friends I would like to catch up with but it always feels like we would be a burden, dragging a toddler along.

I just need to work out a balance somehow. I have thought about perhaps deleting the apps from my phone. That way I would have to log onto my mac in order to visit these sites. Or even simply turning off all notifications so that I’m not tempted to check in all the time. Or even just implementing the ban only when Oscar is with me?

It sounds so outrageous that this is such a big issue in my life right now.

I just don’t know. Any advice out there?

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12 thoughts on “Screen time guilt

    • Yeah that seems like an easy solution. Removes all temptation. I really like posting photos on IG as we print out all the images every 6 months or so I would like to be able to still do that. I wonder if it’s possible to still share photos without the app…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can so relate…I often feel like I am on my phone too much. Sometimes I put my phone in another room so I am not tempted to “just have a quick look”. But most of the time its in my pocket…or hands. Its something I need to work on. I think as a parent it can be quite isolating and social media can be a way to still feel connected. Really great post, Im glad to know others are in the same boat and Im not the only mother to feel this way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s almost become the norm for so many people these days. I sit in the lunchroom at work and the only people that aren’t holding a phone up to their face are over 65. It’s so crazy!

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  2. It is not outrageous! This is a battle I wage within myself every day. I sometimes delete FB from my phone but I’m so weak I put it back just a day or two later! It’s an addiction for me at this point and I’m so ashamed about it.

    Just letting you know you’re not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so addictive! I think I could survive without FB as I find the content quite boring most of the time but IG is my downfall. So many people and families I love to follow on there. Not to mention posting photos myself. It’s a weak spot. :-/

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  3. A year ago, I didn’t even have data on my iPhone – and I insisted I probably wouldn’t even use it – but now it is a constant struggle to not overuse it. I feel increasingly aware of this as my daughter gets older and notices what I’m doing – she’s entranced by the phone, and I’m embarrassed. I don’t let her have screen time, but if I want to stick to that I should surely be able to limit my own screen time as well, right?
    Turning off notification and/or not having apps installed seems to be helpful, but I think what’s most effective for me is just having the phone physically less accessible – when it’s plugged in, or I’ve forgotten it in the diaper bag, the temptation isn’t there.

    Anyway – you’re not alone! It’s a struggle, and I think it’s a good thing to be aware of. There is a lot of good that comes from Internet connectivity, but it’s good to remember to disconnect, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! I was the same a few years ago. My partner convinced to get an iPhone even though I was adamant that I only use my phone for calls and texting. I didn’t need the internet on my phone, what use would that be? Now I’m burning through data like no ones business! I’m trying to keep it out of reach too. Also forcing myslef to pick up a book and start reading has helped over the last day. I get sucked into the story and the suddenly what might be happening in the internet world is less appealing.

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  4. I had success removing the facebook app from my phone too. I only visited it when I was at my computer. I can say that just like with any addiction, the longer you go without it, the less you crave it. So, the first hours and days are hard, but it does get a lot easier as time passes and you will stop instinctively picking up your phone to check it.

    Liked by 1 person

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