The smartphone has become part of the human anatomy since around 2012. I’m surprised our hands haven’t evolved somehow to accommodate this, how rude of them.
I don’t know about you, but my phone started to become my best friend right about the time I did night feeding. Nothing keeps you awake better than some inane video of a pug dressed as Kit Harrington. Or a llama splashing in a puddle. In the days where you are stuck in the house alone, covered in Ella’s kitchen and shit, Facebook can feel like a golden key to the outside world. You can have contact with other human adults instead of Mr. Tumble. You can post a selfie of the time you actually managed to put makeup on and get yourself some hard earned internet score points. Lugging a pram around town for two hours just so you can pick up some bleach becomes a battlefield. It’s much easier to order online and sit back with your phone, scrolling through the latest useless information of any given day. So and so has a new car -“like”. Bestie has a new haircut-“like”. Article about an African tribe that worships tuna -“share”. Before you know it, you’ve “liked” and “shared” and tagged your way through the day. This isn’t just a mum problem, it’s a global habit. Anyone within reach of a smartphone tends to spend way too much time on it. It’s a given, considering the wealth of information and connection we have at our fingertips. I realised when it became too much the day my son handed me my phone when I looked sad. He thought it would cheer me up. I realised that he recognised my reliance on that little device. I realised I was putting him in the background while social media scrolling became my foreground. I saw it as a “reward” or a “break” from the Groundhog Day reality that is being a single parent to two young children. There was something wrong about it, putting this handheld device as a priority, when in reality it’s secondary to everyday life. As technology use increases it’s becoming harder and harder to disconnect from the digitally constructed social circle. People I have on Facebook are quite happy to “like” my posts but won’t say hi in real life. Photos lie. Days where I felt the most fed up and tired were the days I looked happiest on social media. So I unplugged from the matrix and did a detox. I stopped seeing the park as a photo op and actually started to play with my child. Not every smile, slurp and day out had to be meticulously documented online for all and sundry to approve. I started to see it as more of a photo album of “best” moments as opposed to “candid” shots of a kid and a plastic tractor with my messy living room in the background. Or the same child on the same swing in the same park over and over again. Who wants to see that? When I’m on my phone and my son approaches me I put it down. I’m on it most when he’s not there, to write articles or chill out and have a browse. I can quite happily spend time without checking my phone once. I’ve found the quality of time I spend with my son much better now, and make more of an effort to have days out. Sometimes I even forget to take a photo of the best moments because I’m too busy living them. It’s hard, when you are alone in the house. Washing dishes and watching the washing machine fill and empty like the most boring video on earth- on loop. But the real connection is right in front of you. Your kids. 📷📷📷