Mummy, Get Off Your Phone!

By Susana Kuehne 

My husband and I try to not be on our phones in the evening because it takes away time that could be spent together as a family. However, whether it’s during bath time or between moments when my son runs to his room to grab a toy, we look up things on Amazon, pay bills or text people.

That means whenever he’s on his phone, I yell at him to put it away and when I’m on mine, he reminds me to do the same. Unfortunately, even though we have gotten better at not letting our phones distract us from real life, we still fall short from being perfect. And the more we point our fingers at each other for being on our phones, the more we get used to being chastised, and the effect is minimized.

I’ll try to leave my phone on the kitchen counter or even in my car on some nights just to force myself not to touch it. But then I end up with it anyway because I want to take pictures and videos of everything I’m experiencing with my son. My husband keeps his on the charger but checks it frequently. We know it’s a problem and are gradually learning that it’s not about us, it’s about our child.

I’ll try to leave my phone on the kitchen counter or even in my car on some nights just to force myself not to touch it. But then I end up with it anyway because I want to take pictures and videos of everything I’m experiencing with my son.

Today my son was playing with the plastic cupcakes he got for his birthday and wanted to give me one to “taste”. He reached out to give it to me and I didn’t notice. I’m not sure how long his small hand was outstretched in my direction as I sat with the culprit in my hand.

“Mummy, get off your phone!” he said.

I immediately looked over in his direction, mid-text and pushed my phone behind the couch, ashamed of myself. If my son could not only notice but also verbalize that he understood how he was second priority to me at that instant, then there’s a lot that I need to change.

We live in a society that’s more attached to their phones than a baby to an umbilical cord, but instead of promoting a movement to end this debilitating nature, we have advertisers, politicians, educators, employers, stores, restaurants, family and friends encouraging us to do exactly the opposite.

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