Growing up, it was just my mom and me, so I had a cell phone by the time I was 10 years old. I know, I know, to some, maybe that seems a bit young and excessive. But looking back, it was necessary for the circumstances of our life. There were occasions I had to stay home alone for brief periods of time, and we didn’t have a landline. The cell phone was our landline, and it stayed in the junk drawer for months until I was given the chance to stay home by myself.
I wish I could say the same words now, because my cell phone is on my person nearly 24/7. It’s my comfort, and I’m embarrassed to say I feel somewhat naked without it.
Right now, I’m using my phone to write this article in my notes. My phone was used as my alarm clock this morning because it was a rare day that my kids didn’t wake me up at the ass-crack of dawn. Earlier, I used my phone as a timer. And last night, I used it to surf the web before falling into a slumber.
And it’s high time the cell phone and I took a breather from one another.
I’m a sensitive person, as well as an over-analyzer. Regretfully, there have been times I’ve allowed myself to become more affected by something online than maybe I should… and it’s an added strain to my own mental health. I obsess, overthink, and obsess some more because what’s bruising my mental health is literally at the touch of my fingertips.
I’ve deleted and re-downloaded my Facebook app on my cell phone more times than I can count. But still, even when the app isn’t activated, I find myself checking Facebook through my browser. WHY?! I have no bloody idea, but I’m damn-near about to claim insanity.
From a social standpoint, maybe I do it for a touch of connection to the real world, so I’m better able to escape the juice box and Peppa Pig-saga I live in. Or, maybe it’s because social media is the very definition of instant gratification.
Scratch that, the cell phones of today are the very definition of instant gratification.
Post a picture? There’s usually an immediate comment to boost your self-esteem below via likes and comments. Looking for a suggestion? It’s only a google search away. Trying to creep on your BFF’s new boyfriend? That’s only one or two Facebook searches away.
We talk about the misuse of and addiction to video games, but what about parents with cell phones? I fear that I’m missing out on time with my family because I’m looking into a virtual world that fits in the palm of my hand. Do my kids wonder why I hold a device more than I hold them? Can I justify it in their little minds that it’s “just for work” or that I’ll “put it down in a minute?”
It’s not always a necessity for me to immediately respond to an email or a social media notification. And yet, it’s easy for me to jump on the response as if it were a dire emergency.
From a realistic standpoint, I need social media for my work. I need to know what’s going on and trending in the world, and I need to know it ASAP. However, I need to learn to create a happy balance for both my family and myself.
Unless we are fated by the end times, a nuclear war, or a zombie apocalypse (Walking Dead fan here), the internet will be there in the same unscathed manner tomorrow as it was today… give or take a trending story along the way. But my family won’t be the same tomorrow, they will have grown bit by bit, all while I glared into a phone that seriously holds no value.
A phone that my preschoolers and toddlers do not understand.
And guess what? That’s not worth it to me.
I know it’s not worth it, you know it’s not worth it, everyone literally knows it’s not worth it. And yet, we are obsessed with our phone’s technology anyway. We find a way to justify the way we stare into a device all day. When really, the only excuse is unwillingness to look away. Cell phones today vastly extend the one I had at a mere ten years old. Now, the entire world is there in an instant.
My cell phone has become my alarm clock, calculator, entertainment, camera, laptop and (regretfully) my comfort at times. But it could never replace my family, and sometimes it does more harm than good. In my world, it’s slowly become my time-sucking parasite.
I’m giving myself a break — a time out, if you will — because I need it and I deserve it. But more than importantly, because my family needs and deserves it too.
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