For the past couple of years, “studies” have told us more and more about the dangers of constantly having screen time. Research telling us we have some mental illness when we are so active on social media. Blogs have told parents to put our phones down and be with our kids. People sometimes even close their different social media accounts due to all this guilt that the reports are putting us through.
But I refuse to feel guilty.
Don’t get me wrong. I put my phone down when either of my kids are calling me or if they need me to do/get them something. I leave the phone while I’m playing with them. I leave the phone when Mr. Bear is talking to me. I leave the phone while driving. Heck, I even leave it while cooking and doing the house chorus. For all other times, I am on my phone.
Whether I’m on social media, chatting to a friend or family member via whatsapp or playing a game to pass the time; I do it all in moderation and I refuse to feel guilty about it.
As a relatively new member of the expat community as well as a stay at home mom, my social circle has drastically decreased. I remember when Monkey was younger; he hated going out of the house. Even going for a quick coffee just a few meters away from our apartment, was too stressful for him. He wouldn’t feed nicely, he wouldn’t sleep. His whole body was tense right up to us stepping back into the house. You could see the stress leaving him when he noticed we were back home.
To be stuck in the house with only a 4-year old’s conversation, baby babbles and only having proper adult conversation for a few hours before bedtime, was just not enough for me. My only outlet and balance for this, was my phone.
It is my outlet to stay in touch with the reality and with the world. You all know that phones these days are like a 100-in-1-gadget with so many functionalities and purposes. I can stay in touch with my friends, know what my family are up to, keep up with emails, read a book, pass the time by playing a game while Monkey nurses off to sleep, stay in touch with the news of the world and so many other things.
I think I would have gone mad long ago if I had felt guilty and left all my groups, whether on Facebook or Whatsapp. The idea of having someone on the other side and just a message away is just too comforting. Especially when different things are needed from different groups. I have my family group, my friends with similar ages than my children group, my weird mommy group, my expat mommy group, my vino-drinking mommy group; hell I’m sure I’d even be able to make or find a group for the ladies who don’t feel guilty for using their phones.
Like so many other mommies, my phone is 99% of the time on silent. Not only is this because I don’t want to startle the baby while he is dozing off, but also because it gives me the freedom to decide when to look at it and not have to rush to pick up the call or reply to a message. Thus free from guilt regarding being on my phone.
So when my family are all happy, lunch/supper has been made, house is clean, then you can get hold of me on my phone, I’ll be available on the other end…