My phone has been bothering me lately. Or at least, my complete attachment to my phone is what is bothering me.
I openly admit I look at my phone A LOT. But the thing is, in order to be successful and I guess, polite, I feel like I need to be available ALL the time. And being available seems to mean being overly attached to this black rectangle which is constantly within my reach.
There are so many people to communicate with – WHATSAPP groups for family; friends; school mums …. Emails from my team … emails from clients …. Instagram posts and stories to make and then communicate on … DM’s ….. facebook … PM’S …. And crazily enough (I guess it IS a phone ) the odd phone call to have. (Not to mention apps, music, camera …..)
On Friday I decided at 8pm that I really needed a break, so I left my phone in another room (turning it off was clearly a step too far) and when I glanced at it before bed there were literally reams of messages. I decided to ignore them until morning after briefly casting through to check no one was actually dying.
Then on Saturday morning I popped into Costa with my son to have a quick hot chocolate together. Lying on the table was The Times ‘Weekend’ magazine and the front page caught my eye …. ‘Is it time we stopped staring at our phones’ with a picture of a mother and her son, side by side both glued to their screens. This resonated. Deeply.
I don’t want to be like Enid Blyton. This is a phrase I seemed to have coined for myself. What am I on about? I’ll explain. Enid Blyton was a hugely successful children’s writer (I loved her books myself as a child). Children around the world thought she was amazing. She painted pictures of idyllic childhoods, filled with adventure. But she was not a doting or attentive mother to her own daughters. Quite the opposite in fact - she prioritised her fans.
I have just launched a brand-new enterprise – The Positive Family Academy. It is something I am enormously passionate about. A huge part of my motivation in creating it, is providing busy families with wonderful workshops to do together. To help escape our life of distractions where we stop listening to our children because our phone beeps. The workshops (professionally filmed and led by an expert) are there to provide families with immediate fun activities which help them connect and communicate. There is a slight irony here … they need to be accessed via a screen (people want ease and convenience, right?) .. but once the activity has been done a couple of times it will be embedded and the need to watch the video will not be so necessary. But despite this, families are still watching the screen with a common goal – to enjoy something special together and learn something new which will have a huge positive impact on their family and they can then put the screen aside to actually do.
Back to Enid. I need to be careful. I don’t want to be like Enid Blyton. I really want to aid busy families in reclaiming quality time together, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of my own family. I don’t want to be prioritising the wrong family.
I want to be available and responsive and engaging, but I don’t need to be ALL the time.
So many mothers are now also business owners. We are all striving to be great parents while also running a successful business. It can be incredibly hard to get it right. But I am determined to re-claim my ability to function without my phone being within reach at all times (even if it does give me twitchy fingers).