My Name is Amina and I’m a “Phoneaholic”!!
I have caught myself too often staring at my phone around my kids. I’m relentlessly either updating my Facebook status, checking friends’ posts, replying to comments and messages, tweeting this or that, or uploading a picture on Instagram. If it’s not this then, it’s responding to connections on LinkedIn, viewing someone’s profile or editing my own. Dropping a line or two in my blog is a regular, almost obsessive activity. Not to mention, talking on the phone, responding to What’s App messages or checking my Gmail.
I need to disconnect to “reconnect” with my children; I’m too consumed in the virtual world. Yes, guilty as charged!!!!!
I have come to identify this serious disorder when I realized that my phone and I have become inseparable. It’s the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes in the morning and the last thing I check before going to bed. I have shared articles, quotes and photos in the wee hours of the morning or ridiculously late at night. My phone accompanies me to the bathroom, the kitchen, the dinner table, family living room and all around the house. It’s always in my pocket or in my hand if I don’t have pockets so as not to miss any calls, or alerts.
The first wake-up call came when my eldest blamed me for missing her first goal of the football season. She came up to me during half time and expressed how rightfully hurt she was. Her moment of glory and triumph had passed me by. She politely blamed me for checking my phone AGAIN. Ashamed and speechless, I apologized but it was too little too late. Fact is, I had missed watching my daughter score because I was virtually connecting with strangers.
In another incident, another mom came up to me during swim practice to tell me that my son had been crying in the pool for the past five minutes because he was having muscle spasms. She explained that she was trying to draw my attention before by waving across the pool, but to no avail.
I was mesmerized, consumed and totally “disconnected” with the world around me.
Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I needed to figure out what the prognosis was going to be. Am I going to adopt an aggressive approach or a mild one until I can be weaned off my phone? So what’s it going to be, log off, sign out or deactivate? Or better yet, revert to my Nokia E72 and ditch my smart phone once and for all? No, no that’s too harsh even for me!!!
I took a vow on myself not to touch the phone around the kids, except if it’s a call. I will not check social media in their presence again; “are you on Facebook again?” is an accusing question I always got. I will listen attentively to all their stories during lunch without a glimpse of the phone. I will watch closely as they practice during sports training to monitor their progress. I will look them in the eye when they address me and never speak to them while my face is glued to a screen.
Do I have the willpower? Can I actually do this? It all remains to be seen. Will I miss my phone? May be just a little, but what I had missed out on with my kids was so much more significant and precious.
Unlike YouTube, I could never play back what they did or said.
A mother of three, Amina is a committed copyeditor and writer with hands-on experience. Amina’s writings are driven from real life situations, events and incidents and are directly related to the modern women and mothers of today’s fast changing and challenging world.