Oh shoot! I was going to check the school lunch menu. I searched my email for the lunch menu by way of an email promising 50% off at J.Crew. After I finished looking through all the blouses and skirts, I flashed back to reality and remembered I still hadn’t looked at the lunch menu.
After finally jotting down “Popcorn Chicken-Thursday,” I put the phone down. I shook my head and berated myself internally for being so scatterbrained. It happened again an hour later. And ten more times throughout the day.
I am constantly searching for something, constantly saying “oh man, that was funny, I should snap that.” And every time I find a reason to pick up my phone, I find thirty other things to think about.
Hi, my name is Jenny and I’m addicted to my phone.
And I’m tired of it.
I’m exhausted by the connection.
But it feels necessary; the fear of missing out is overwhelming.
It’s my camera. My kids’ baby book. It’s my main source of information from my girls’ school and daycare, my friends, my family, from all the strangers on Instagram who obviously have their lives figured out. I definitely need to see the next picture of her living room so I can figure my life out, too.
My phone dependence affects my marriage.
I sometimes find myself lost in social media in another room when Dereck comes in and startles me. I look down in shame and say “nothin’ to see here!” and laugh it off like it’s normal that I was missing out on talking with my husband to see what deep thought some stranger in Alabama was having.
My phone dependence affects my mothering.
Some days my kids will be standing at my feet making a request and I don’t hear them until they’re shouting because I am in another world. I feel like I am literally somewhere else, where I can’t hear and my brain can’t function. And when they snap me out of my daze, I snap at them. “Be patient!” I hypocritically say, “Just a second!”
My phone dependence affects my friendships.
You would think a phone addict could respond thoughtfully to her friend’s texts within a reasonable timeframe. Sometimes, I get a text, open it, read it and get lost somewhere else in some other app and completely forget to respond. Even to important texts. The ones where they’re sharing something with you that requires a response without judgment. I ignore them.
My phone dependence affects my work.
My coworkers walk by my office, and I don’t notice them because my glance is pointed down, my phone half-hidden under my desk. It is embarrassing. I get lost on conference calls. I lose time on scrolling bunny trails. When I look up from my phone, I sometimes feel flooded with work, and it’s my own fault.
Am I really spending my one and only life glued to a screen? Searching for a connection or something to occupy my mind when there are two girls, a husband, friends, and important work that is calling for me. The guilt has become a serious burden.
To ease my burden, I’ve come up with a few ways to keep myself and my phone use in check.
Here is what I will do in the coming month:
- Use the Moment app. Set a reasonable daily time limit (1 hour to respond to texts) and stick to it.
Be in the moments of your life. Not in the moments of social media. Not in the moments of distraction. Just in the moment.
- Uninstall Facebook and Instagram.
Check them once a day, on my laptop, at home.
- Leave my phone in the garage when I’m at home.
Play with your kids. Stop being a distracted grump.
- Leave my phone in the filing cabinet at work.
Dereck, daycare, and school have my work phone number. It will be ok.
Do you struggle with this?
I would suggest we form a Facebook support group, but that would be a little counterproductive, now, wouldn’t it? If you struggle, will you do this with me? Let us know how you’re doing or what worked for you in the comments.