Mummy guilt over mobile phones: One Thing or a Mother

My daughter said to me the other day, ‘Mummy, you’re always on your phone’, and I immediately felt another dose of parental guilt heaped onto me.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 5:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 6:10 pm

Guilt mostly because she’s completely right. I am on my phone a lot, especially because in the last year that rectangular piece of technology has become almost my sole connection to the world outside of my house.

Having worked from my home office (kitchen table) for the past year, my trips outside are pretty much limited to exercise, school and nursery drop-offs, and the odd trip to the local shop if we need essentials.

So my mobile phone has become my everything else.

Katherine sans mobile. A rare sight, apparently.

Need to speak to my family – no problem, I’ll text them or do a video call.

We’ve run out of batteries/we need to buy school shoes/our lamp is broken. That’s okay, internet shopping can help me.

How did my son get on at nursery today? I’ll just look at his care tracker app to find out.

Uh oh, it’s time to do my daughter’s homework, I’ll just log into Google Classroom to find out what to do.

I wonder how my friends are coping. Maybe I’ll just WhatsApp our group chat to say hi.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more things in my life that can only happen if I action them via my smartphone.

And while the techonology is amazing, and a real convenience a lot of the time, that doesn’t necessarily mean it makes me feel good.

Because while I’m concentrating on the virtual world we pretty much all have to be a part of now, sometimes my real life is literally happening in front of my nose and I don’t even notice.

And then there are the times where the technology doesn’t work and I find myself fantasising about life in a simpler time, where the phone was the hefty rotary device kept in my parents’ hallway, and mobile literally meant able to move freely or easily.

I do a weekly online shop. It’s a real time-saver and my husband and I love the fact that neither of us has to traipse around the supermarket. Just a few clicks on my mobile and my shopping is winging its way to me the next morning (usually featuring a feast of expensive fruit the children will scoff before the day is out, and some nice gin for mummy!). It’s great. Except for when the app doesn’t work, and you can’t amend your order...

This might not be so bad were it not for the fact that I always reserve my slot by ordering a bottle of Champagne as a kind of holding order. But, without the ability to change or cancel the order, I was faced with having a delivery driver turn up at my door with just a £42 bottle of Moët & Chandon. Initially, this drove me to sofa-punching, irrationally angry despair (much to my husband’s bemusement). But after some wine to calm me down, I literally couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of Mr Delivery Man wheeling up our ‘weekly shop’ of just one bottle of fizz, like we’re the most decadent shoppers in town (update: he found it less funny than me). Husband was convinced I’d finally gone crazy, but it’s surely the fault of our over-reliance on phones? When they don’t work like they’re supposed to, we’re literally rendered helpless.

Thankfully, my children were in bed and didn’t witness mummy’s mini meltdown, but it did get me thinking about how much I use my phone and what I could do to cut back. I haven’t found the answer yet, so maybe I’ll just Google it...

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