parents

She's dependent. Addicted. Defeated. And all because of a phone.

Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri Cruise. Both on phones.
Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri Cruise. Both on phones.

by ALISSA WARREN

How’s that ‘screen-free’ time working out for you?

You know that hour or day or minute you were planning on going screen-free? To be totally there? No distractions.

I’ll put my hand up first. I’m struggling to break the addiction.

When I’m at the park with my kids, sometimes I spend more time flicking through my iPhone than watching them play. And I don’t just mean I’m not interacting with them. Like, I’m not actually supervising them. Cringe.

Last night, as I leaned in for a cuddle with my husband I put on my best Princess Diana accent and joked that there were “three of us in this marriage”. Me. Him. The iPad. And then we cuddled. All together. Sad.

My ‘quiet time’ involves looking at mindless photos on Instagram of green celebrity smoothies, Hamilton Island and babies. Lame.

Dependent. Addicted. Defeated. I feel alone. But I’m not.

This two-minute video has been viewed almost 19 million times. It’s supposed to be a funny take on how we’re flicking through our screens as much as a desperate new mother flicks through books about newborns.

The highlight is when a bloke is filming his own wedding proposal. While he’s proposing. Ring in one hand. Phone in the other. Funny. But terrifying, because I laughed and then I remembered all the times I’ve done something equally as embarrassing.

A few weeks ago, I went and saw Pink. Live. Awesome. Mind-blowing. A privilege.

At the end of the show, she connected some rubber band looking thingies to her waist, and backflipped her way through the crowd while singing. I filmed it. On my phone. So pretty much I was watching the whole thing happen through an itty bitty screen. I could’ve done that at home on Youtube. Idiot.

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I’ve done it at home, too. Rather than actually watch my kids cuddle and play, I have this overwhelming obsession to get out my phone and film it. WT?

I’m feeling a bit shit about that.

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And it’s not just the relentless photo-taking/ movie-making that makes me feel pathetic. It’s the content. The social media. Facebook? Until recently, I was checking it three times a day – a walking statistic. I logged in to see if anyone has posted anything.

Other than the three people who clog up my feed – the over-enthusiastic and possibly mentally deranged mother I met at Mother’s Group, an old school friend I haven’t seen for a decade who’s partying in Turkey with hot men and the sensitive cousin who relentlessly posts memes about family/mothers/diets – it’s as fulfilling as eating a cheap macaroon.

I’ve just deleted the app. I log on once a day through the internet instead. Sigh. The relief. The freedom.

There’s no doubt that almost every parent has been saved by the screen. I have. The little gang of over-enthusiastic cartoon characters can glow a little bit brighter than me when we’re waiting at the doctor’s surgery, eating lunch with a childless (and judgmental) friend, sitting at the airport or to just get to the end. Of. The. Day.

But I don’t want my kids to remember their mother as a screen starer. I’m not going to throw away my phone. I’m not going screen-free. A cop-out? Maybe. But I don’t think it’s practical or sane to excommunicate from my little window into the world. Instead, I’m starting to put up some boundaries. (Recommendations welcome.)

Because I want to be awake. There. Present.

For my husband. My kids. My work. And me.

Are you addicted to technology? Would you consider weaning yourself off it?

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