At Our House, Musings

Just put the screen down

Social MediaI’m really starting to annoy myself.

Do you constantly find yourself checking for new activity on your blogs, tweetbooks, facetags, instapins and hashmails? 😉

I do.

I can hardly wander past my phone without checking the notifications some days. If I’m sitting “watching” the kids at sport, you’ll probably find me on my screen a lot.

Over at Pendulum World, Marla posted recently about being present with our kids, not letting our own things get in the way of really connecting with the little people in our lives. Because I’ve already been feeling frustrated with my behaviour, this really struck a chord with me.

Like Marla, I love the world of blogging. I do love to write and have found such freedom in expressing myself this way. I’ve also found joy in the community of bloggers (hey you guys!) and love to communicate on my blog and others. I link some social media with my blog (Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest) but I also love to interact with my real world friends on Facebook.

That said, God has given me the amazing blessing and huge responsibility of raising four children within a wonderful marriage. To put all that ‘social media’ stuff before them is just plain wrong. For me. I do think God is really speaking into my heart at the moment and saying, put the screen down, look at your family, they need your attention. And I know He’s right. So I’m called to act.

I have to admit, I’ve tried to be more focused at sport this week. At volleyball I enjoyed actually following the game and encouraging the team. A few times Tom looked over and I was able to give him a thumbs up or word of praise and his big grin was well worth it. Same with Nat at swimming – as she swims past me and takes that one breath where I’m in her line of sight, I see her smile when I wave stupidly at her.

I will defend myself a little here. I do think I’m a good mum. I love my kids completely and my life is pretty well devoted to making sure everyone in my family has what they need, when they need it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Lately though, I feel like I’ve dropped the ball a bit and maybe that is because my priorities are slipping just a little too far in the direction of what I want, instead of what I should be doing. This balance will be addressed with the changes we’re making in the new year – I’ll post about this in the next few weeks.

So here’s the deal: I’m really focusing on the time between school pickup and dinner. This is to connect with my children and my husband. When I’m out with the kids, my phone is not out (excluding photos, my phone is my camera). When we’re at hockey or swimming or volleyball or whatever, I’m watching them, not my screen. On the rare afternoon that we’re actually at home, I’m going to make a real effort to stay off screens completely in this time. Eeeek, I know I’m up for a challenge in this.

Anyone with me???

Raising Children




18 thoughts on “Just put the screen down”

  1. This is awesome, Abbie! I love your goals and how you are determined to put your phone down during those crucial times during the day. I’m sure your kids are enjoying those extra smiles and encouraging words! It really is so crazy how we can get so sucked into the media. I’m in with you! I’m trying harder these days, too 🙂 Great post!


    1. Thanks Marla. I think it’s a slow slippery slope – I do need reality check from time to time. I do get time during the day without the children so it’s not like I NEED to be online when I have them with me. Those delicious online interactions will still be there for me to carry on later… 🙂 Thanks for joining me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent message for parents, and this also applies to those of us who don’t have children. There are spouses, friends, and family members who appreciate and crave our direct attention. We could all do with a bit more face time and a bit less FaceTime. We were on a trip to New York last week, and both my husband and I realized that it was ridiculous how nearly everyone was glued to their phones…All of these amazing sights and nobody was looking at them unless they were in the background of a selfie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s so true. Relationship is what life is ALL about.

      Funny you say that about New York … I did read a post a while back about remembering to enjoy moments, not just get photos/selfies of the time to prove you were there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I am with you, Abbie. I’m going to attempt to jump in on your deal with yourself – that time between school pick up and dinner. Any creative ideas for how to handle screens belonging to other members of the family? That is also a source for potential conflict in our house, although perhaps a good start is with us ‘being the change we want to see’…


    1. There’s real irony here: at our place, the kids aren’t allowed any screen time, even tv (unless the computer for homework) before 5pm. Definitely no screens before school. So I was really breaking the house rules wasn’t I?!

      The rest of the time the kids each have five x 45 minute slots they can use for the computer/x-box during the week. They have to set a timer, if the rules are abused, they loose any remaining slots. I’m a bit more relaxed with their ipods but none of them have internet access, if they want to go online they have to use one of their ‘slots’.

      It might sound a bit strict but since we’ve really cut down on their screen time, they’ve been playing together a lot better and a lot more creatively. They make up balloon games, dice games, play cards, we permanently have a jigsaw puzzle set up now, they play hockey outside, the trampoline gets used more. You get my drift…

      Good luck, keep me posted!


  4. “Dear Abbie”, I loved your quote! I used to read her everyday in the newspaper. Her and the comics! Good luck with disconnecting from the computer. It’s a real challenge with today’s phones. I know your kids and husband will appreciate it and benefit from it. Us in the blogosphere?, well we will survive….I know exactly what you mean about checking in to see if any comments. We put something out there and we want a response. I usually am “all or nothing”. I will go a few days without ever looking at electronic devices, then I will go a few days where that is ALL I do. But I’m lucky, my husband works all day and my “baby”, a 70 pound dog, sleeps most of the day, or is outside watching for the possum! And he KNOWS Mama does NOT hunt!

    I hope you have time to keep posting. I really enjoy your blog.


    1. Thanks. Yes I will still be here, but I’m going to organise my time a lot better 🙂 My husband does work a rolling roster so when he’s on night shift and I can be quite ‘selfish’ with my evenings once the kids are in bed. I’m a real introvert so some days I think I have more outside interaction online than in real world, it just really suits me! haha. And um, 70 pound? That’s quite a big dog you have there!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome – keep me posted on your progress … at appropriate times of course 😉 Yesterday was the first day I actually put my plan into action and I could feel my phone pulling me but I resisted, and found the kids hanging around me (between taxi runs, my Wednesday afternoon is crazy). It was great, I’m going to make this work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m lucky because my cell phone barely holds a signal at home so it doesn’t draw my attention.

        I typed my comment to you and then shut the computer down this morning. It was a blessing because when I turned it back on to balance my checkbook it had updated and fixed a problem that was making the computer slow. So I will be shutting it down more often 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love that quote! I agree with all that you have said here. It annoys me too … and it does feel like a magnetic pull sometimes towards my phone! I have put it down way more and I know this is the way it is supposed to be.


    1. Hi Kim. It’s a great quote isn’t it? I’m trying to incorporate it more into my parenting generally. Yes I do feel the pull to my phone/tablet but I’m fighting it and it feels good … and a lot more productive!


  6. Thanks for sharing that! It is too true that we spend a lot of or time staring at screens instead of looking up at those people around us. Great goal to! I love how you are incorporating every aspect of life in it. Keep up the great work! I know God will be proud of the work you are doing with your family.


    1. I do love technology, there’s a real geek behind this screen, but I don’t want to sacrifice the people I love. Life is about relationships and love. Without that, we have nothing.


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