Having the internet at our finger tips has changed the way we conduct our lives on a daily basis. According to the latest data released by Flurry Mobile Analytics, the average person in the US spends 2 hours 42 minutes using apps and web browsing on their mobile daily. This is only 7 minutes shy of the first instalment of the The Hobbit!
I believe it's up to the individual to self-regulate their time spent on a mobile device but I do feel that when it comes to people especially our children, we need to show them respect and minimise our usage around them. No one likes being out with friends only to have the conversation continually interrupted by feverish phone checking, so why should our children be treated any differently? As a gentle parent, it is imperative that we treat our children as we wish to be treated and lead by example to nurture a sense of respect and social etiquette in our little ones.
When Bowie was a newborn I often used the time while she was nursing to catch up on what was going on with friends, read the news or write emails. Even during night feeds, I used my phone to stop me from drifting off to sleep because I was a bit paranoid as a first-time mama. When she was about 3 months old however I decided that I was not honouring my daughter and I needed to be present with her while she fed instead of using the time to keep in the loop.
From that day on I put my iPhone away at nursing times. Even though she nursed quietly and rarely made eye contact with me, I remained still, soaking up the quiet and peaceful atmosphere and admiring the beautiful baby girl in my arms. This helped me to enjoy breastfeeding and cherish those moments alone with her. By this point, I felt comfortable nursing with her in bed at night so we could both doze while she slept. At 10 months old I still love our time together when she nurses, it makes me stop and recalibrate my mind and body instead of feeling continually busy all day long.
Of course, there are times in the day when I need to connect, in all honesty, I would go insane otherwise, but I wait until Bowie is asleep or is content playing on her own or with Anu. I don't judge parents that use their device while their child is playing, they may have good reason to and regardless I believe children need opportunities to play alone or with others without a parent being involved. However when Bowie requires my attention I put my device aside so I can fully engage with her. One day she will have her nose in a book or a device of her own and won't want my attention as often, so I need to make the most of these times while I can.
Overall this was a difficult step for me to make but definitely one that I would next time implement from the start. Becoming a new parent is a huge adjustment and learning to live around your baby, rather than them living around you is a complete lifestyle change.
If this is something you feel strongly about I encourage you to make a commitment to your children and become device free when they want to spend time with you. Of course using your device to snap a ridiculous amount of photos and videos is allowed!
Do you feel you use your mobile devices too much? Or have you found a good balance?
You are doing a great job mama and papa!