Left Holding the Smartphone

When did you first realise that perhaps you were using your phone in a way that wasn’t benefiting your life?  

My wake up call was when, as a new mum, I caught myself looking at photos of my daughter on my phone, while breastfeeding her.  I realised these precious moments were passing me by because I was drawn to my screen.  The best image of her was right there, in my arms, and I was missing it.

I’ve observed my friends as more of them enter the rollercoaster of motherhood and often think about how their phone use might be changing, whether their habits are helping them through these difficult times, or not.  On the one hand, our phones have never been more useful - we can use them to time feeds, to monitor our babies as they sleep, to stay connected during an otherwise isolating time, and of course, to take snaps of those oh so precious moments.  

But at the same time, for many of us, phones become more pervasive than ever. Boredom and fatigue pull us to our phones.  We while away the time as our babies sleep or suckle, scrolling through news feeds, refreshing Instagram, trying to respond to messages that come flooding, and googling for the 100th time exactly how long our baby’s naps should be, and whether or not they may die from the pink dot on the end of their little finger.  It has become increasingly apparent to me that this type of phone use does not help in those early days of motherhood.  

My best friend, an avid Instagrammer, summed it up perfectly.  After a few days of not much sleep, she was quite fairly feeling less than her best.  Scrolling through social media, she was torturing herself with images of ‘perfect mums’ with similar aged babies, sipping lattes in sun-drenched cafes, blow-dried hair, flat bellies.   It took some effort to remind her that she was also going to cafes, where a strategically applied filter on a photo would give the same look - but by then her mood was already down.  

Our recommendation - stay vigilant at this time of life change and stay conscious of how you are using your phone.  If you need the ultimate motivator, think of the rate at which your child is learning right now.  What are you teaching them if you are looking at a screen and not at them? More on family to come, but for now, to all you new time mum’s out there…..what can you do?

  1. Find alternative ways to fill your downtime.  Get into podcasts, learn a language, or build out your book supply.

  2. Be organised with your time.  Find some specific slots each day to respond to messages and social media.  Try to align these with your baby’s schedule - maybe during their morning nap time?

  3. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.  How are you feeling?  Is the internet really the right place to look for an answer to your problem?  Will visiting Facebook and seeing others having more fun really make you feel better right now?

  4. Leave your phone at home - Take your baby out, just you and them.  Go for a walk.  Sit and stare into space if you have to.  Be present with your child and make memories just for you and them.  

  5. Switch off early - even if there is not much distinction between night and day, there can be for your phone.  Think about switching off at a similar time each day - switch to airplane mode, and disconnect from the outside world.  Everything can wait and you need that offtime.    

With baby number two soon to arrive, these reminders are going to be up on my fridge.  I don’t want to miss those moments this time round.  I’m also sick of scrolling through forums to try and work out exactly when my delivery date will be.  Amazingly enough, Google has no answer for that.