Mom Confession: I’m Addicted to My Phone
There's something about myself that I'm scared to tell you, but I know it's something that many of us mothers secretly struggle with.
Hi, my name is Chaunie, and I'm addicted to my phone. Let's take a look at the signs of a smartphone addiction, according to Psychology Today:
Do you use your phone constantly, even fighting the urge to check it when you shower?
Have you ever checked your phone during sex?
Do you feel anxious without your phone?
Do you miss out on daily activities of your life because you're distracted by your phone?
Have you ever texted while driving?
Do you take your phone everywhere, including in the bathroom? (Gross, I know, but still.)
Do you take your phone to bed with you?
Looking at those signs, it's instantly frightening to realize that I have done almost all of them. I'll leave your mind to wonder which ones I haven't done, but unfortunately, it's not the texting. I have texted and driven, and when I did it when my kids were in the car, I realized I had a problem. No one's life is worth a text.
So what am I going to do about this?
First of all, I'm the first one to tell you that I would never tell a mother to feel guilty for using her phone. Many of us need our phones to work and provide a living for our family, and for many of us who are isolated at home with young children, our phones provide a literal lifeline of connection to others that we simply don't have in the real world. There is no shame in that.
But for me, I know when my phone addiction is veering into an unhealthy behavior when it starts to take over my life; when I literally can't go more than a few minutes without obsessively checking my phone; when I miss moments because I'm checking Facebook; when my kids start acting up, just trying to get my attention; when I'm so addicted to the point that I put everyone's life in danger just to send a text.
It's stupid, and it needs to stop.
I'm not foolish enough to think I can just declare once and for all that my addiction will be broken, especially considering I use my phone so much for work, but I have put in a few restrictions for myself:
- I use the”Do Not Disturb” setting when I'm concentrating on work or playing with the kids. That way, I'm not tempted by buzzing texts or incoming emails.
- I took Facebook off my phone. Unfortunately, now I just use it in my browser, but still, it was a start.
- I purposefully keep one of my work email accounts off of my phone. I've contemplated taking email off my phone entirely, but honestly, I'm too chicken. But people used to get work done without it, right??
- I turn my phone on Airplane Mode while I sleep. I use my phone as an alarm clock, so I need to keep it by me at night, but it freaks me out to think about all the radiation emitting near my head, so turning it on airplane mode helps ease my mind a little, and I don't receive any emails or notifications at night either that could wake me up. The only problem with this scenario is that if there was an emergency at night, my family couldn't contact me, so my husband keeps his on.
- I stash my phone where I can't reach it. I'd like to say I'm strong enough to resist the temptation, but I'm just not. So I will purposefully put my phone out of reach when I can tell I need a break from it — just out of reach in the car, for example, or all the way upstairs when I'm downstairs playing with my kids. It's just enough to help start breaking my habit.
Do you think you're addicted to your phone? What steps would you take to break the addiction?