Yesterday, I was speaking with a fellow parent of two small children for the podcast and we were talking about the stressors of caring for little people. For me, I think that stress has had a huge influence on my relationship with devices. “Ever since I had children,” I said to him, “I feel more addicted to my phone than ever before.”
Ha, I was reading this so hungrily and recognizing myself so much in it, and then I literally recognized myself, because there was my own name! THANK YOU.
I think it's really important not to discount the need for sometimes having adult interactions. Four hours of nonstop The Wheels on the Bus or Do You Know the Muffin Man or whatever is some surreal brain-melting stuff. But also I've learned that, for me at least, the "adults" of social media scrolls sometimes make me feel worse. It works if I'm intentional about it ("I'm going to see what this one person I love has posted recently") vs "FEED ME, INSTAGRAM."
I've had a Sony Alpha APS-C camera for years. I love it. It's great.
My kids aren't toddlers anymore (in a few weeks we're actually hitting this mythical time we've been looking toward for years, when for three months we will have four teenagers, until my oldest turns 20) but the things you say are all the same, now -- I'm a much better parent if I'm nowhere near my phone.
Also I did a video about this a few months ago, in case you missed it: https://juliefalatko.substack.com/p/writing-in-30-second-spurts
"I also had my husband install a landline at our house so that I can power down my smartphone and know that I am still reachable."
This made me think of the remark a friend made to me at church last weekend: She saw some landline phones while out shopping and was struck with a longing to return to a setup where people call and leave messages rather than being "always on."
I'm trying to decouple from my phone more in general. I stopped taking it to church with me and want to move on to leaving it home during short outings. I don't keep any chat apps on it aside from Messages, and I turned all notifications off several months ago. Anything potentially distracting is relegated to a second home screen, which I can't access during work hours.
I'm also considering how I might be able to downgrade to a dumber-but-not-totally-dumb phone (I'm directionally challenged, so GPS is a must 😅) to further minimize my interactions with screens.
I for sure leaned on alcohol to get through that parenting phase, in no way aided by the social media “mommy wine” world. Without fail, the more I’m on my phone, the more withdrawal symptoms I exhibit and every single time I decide we’re leaving the house for nature time, the reset is stunning.
For me, it's also a problem because my phone has books on it. I've always turned to reading in times of stress and overstimulation, and it's /right there/. Plus, when I was breastfeeding, I couldn't read physical books because he'd kick them out of my hands, but I could usually dodge the flailing limbs with my phone. So now reading on my phone is a habit, and while it's good for my son to see my reading, I don't think it's good for him to see me on my phone. The obvious solution is to turn back to physical books - but with the library's digital options, I never have to coordinate getting kid, books, and self to the library in a timely fashion. When I check out a physical book, it always ends up returned late. (I have plenty of my own unread books, but they're usually more aspirational in content than the oh-god-need-to-check-out-now books I'm reading when I turn to my phone). Not sure what the answer is for me, either, but thanks for posting this.