General ramblings

Screen free Sunday….

January 19, 2013

As some of you may know, last weekend, the lovely hubby challenged me to a whole day without Twitter, Facebook, checking the blog, looking at e-mails….

And the whole thought was really quite scary. And that was also really quite scary, and really quite sad.

And it made me stop and think.

A year ago, we had a rubbishy old VERY slow lap-top, that would sometimes take nearly an hour just to turn on (I frequently wanted to throw it out of the window..) and I had a ‘dumb-phone’ (ie not a smart phone!) and I hadn’t even dreamed up the idea of My Make Do and Mend Year, let alone started blogging about it. Facebook was somewhere I logged onto every now and then to be nosy catch up on what friends were up to, I had heard of Twitter but it never occurred to me to join, and I would check my e-mails at the most once a day.

I remember my mum telling me about an article she had read about mums who spend their whole days on their phones, and I can’t remember quite what it was called, but something like ‘benign neglect’. Apparently one toddler had resorted to biting his mum’s leg to get her attention. And I remember thinking how sad that was, and how I would never be like that and do that to my kids…

But then, we both got fed up with the very slow lap-top, and splashed out on a new (gasp! Before the start of My Make Do and Mend Year I hasten to add!) Apple Mac (other computers are available), which starts up at the touch of a button. I also upgraded my phone to a smartphone (not sure why now really), and we caved in and got an i-pad at the same time (all this seems very profligate in hindsight-in my defence it was before the idea of My Make Do and Mend Year was even born.)

So now, I am on the computer ALL the time. I have become one of those mothers. I check my e-mails, my twitter feed, my facebook accounts (I have 3…) at least every hour. I am feeling very ashamed as I write this. But I feel I have to be honest.

And if I’m going to be honest, then the brutal truth is that it has had a negative impact on our family life, and on the Smalls.

I justify it by saying it’s all about the blog, and promoting it, and getting involved in things, and responding to comments. Which it is. But I know if I’m honest that it has taken over my life, and I think it is not overly dramatic to say that I am well and truly addicted. I feel a bit like an alcoholic at an AA meeting at this point.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the blog (maybe a little too much!). I have started to realise that it is empowering me to do more and try and change the things that I previously thought were unchangeable. And I am constantly amazed at the power of social media, and the amazing people I have ‘met’ and all the things that have snow-balled from the blog, and from Twitter and the like…

But I have already admitted it has started to impact negatively on the Smalls, so I know I have to do something to curb my excesses. I am very much an all or nothing person. Which can be a good thing (driven and committed), but can also be a bad thing too!

I had read a blog post recently ( and I’m really sorry, I can’t remember where-if I remember, I will link up to it!) about having a ‘screen-free’ day (there is also a book a friend told me about, about a family who went ‘technology-free’ for a year-again I will try and find out what it is called!). I mentioned it to the lovely hubby, who challenged me to do it too…

So that’s how we ended up with Sreen-free Sunday last weekend. I was originally planning on it just being computers and smartphones, but then I thought hubby should suffer too (!) so I told him it was a TV free day too…

And we did it!

And do you know what?

The world kept on turning.

And what is more. People still looked at the blog. Even without me checking they were looking at the blog..!

Who would have thought it!

We went to the beach...

We went to the beach…

And the Smalls rode their bikes...

And the Smalls rode their bikes…

And played with a bat and a ball...

And played with a bat and a ball…

And flew the kite! If you look very closely, you can just about see the kite. Sorry for the rubbish photo, the camera promptly died!

And flew the kite! If you look very closely, you can just about see the kite. Sorry for the rubbish photo, the camera promptly died!

And in the evening, hubby absolutely trounced me at Scrabble..!!

And in the evening, hubby absolutely trounced me at Scrabble..!!

I’m glad we did it. I worry about ‘missing out’ (on what exactly, I am not sure) if I’m not checking Twitter all the time. And if I am really really honest, I think there is also an element of wanting positive affirmations from other people that they like what I am doing (I know that makes me sound deeply shallow and insecure, but I did say I was going to be honest…)

It has proved to me that the world doesn’t stop. That people will still read the blog. And it made me realise how much of a habit ‘just popping on the computer to check my e-mails/Twitter/Facebook etc has become (and I then end up sat there for at least half an hour..), and how often  I reach for my phone, just because there is a quiet moment. I would hate it so much if my boys turned out to be like that, and I am sure I will constantly be nagging at them in years to come, to get off their phones/computers etc. So I need to lead by example.

Screen free Sunday looks set to become a regular event in our house. How about you?!

(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)

17 Comments

  • Reply A Screen Free WEEK… | My Make Do and Mend Year June 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    […] blogged ages ago, about Screen Free Sundays, and how wonderful it was, and very smugly suggested that it would be great if we all switched off […]

  • Reply Rebecca January 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Excellent blog. Hit the nail on the head in regard to how I am feeling about allowing myself to be sucked in by cyberspace. The thought ‘just 5 minutes won’t hurt’ is not good for my little people.

    Great points really well made thanks for the honesty.

    • Reply Jen January 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks Rebecca. I am very guilty of the ‘just 5 minutes’ thing…
      Must try harder!

  • Reply Sew Scrumptious January 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Reading your post was like reading about me! I am exactly the same and think I need to make a change too. I might have to try the screen free Sunday thing. When Sam was going to a play group last year, I really noticed the amount of mums who just sat there on their phones and how so many children were just trying to get their attention that it really made me stop doing it myself and actually play with Sam. He loved it and so many other children would come over and try and sit on my lap whilst I was playing with Sam because they just wanted interact with someone! It was really interesting. I really am going to try and stop checking my phone all the when I am with the children. Its such an easy habit to get in to. Starting tomorrow!

    • Reply Jen January 21, 2013 at 10:18 am

      It’s so hard isn’t it? I am very aware of doing it, but instead if not doing it, I keep doing it and then just beat myself up about it! Not the most sensible course of action…

  • Reply Kiwijo January 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Good on you for realising what was happening – it can get a bit addicting cant it? Im finding it more an more as I have to be online ‘job hunting’- honest. Having said that, weve got guests this weekend so I havent been on as much as I normally would. I think screen free SUndays are a fab idea (might even mean I get to converse with the hubby a bit more). :o)

    • Reply Jen January 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend Jo. Screen free Sunday has not been a great success today-have been at work, and BigSmall been ill, so the TV has been on a bit while he has been flaked out on the sofa. And now, I am indeed online, as there are some bits I need to get done if he is going to be off pre-school tomorrow. Oh well. Try again next week! Any news on the job hunt yet?

  • Reply thepolishedbutton January 20, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I could have written this myself! Well done for your honesty – I’m going to dust off the scrabble set this evening! 🙂

    • Reply Jen January 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Yay! Enjoy-hope you are better than I am… 🙂

  • Reply antoinette . (@divasupermum) January 20, 2013 at 6:29 am

    just love the post, you did really well

    • Reply Jen January 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Antoinette. It was really quite refreshing, and a bit liberating, but distressingly hard too. Today has been a a big fat fail for several reasons. But will try again next week!

  • Reply organiclassie January 20, 2013 at 12:08 am

    I think this sounds like a fab idea! Think I’ll give it a go with my family. Not sure if Hubbie will give up the TV though….! 🙂

    • Reply Jen January 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Thankyou! The TV thing is hard isn’t it? I think the TV is ok if you are doing something like snuggling up and watching a film together though!

  • Reply For Bella and Will January 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I did really well last weekend until I came home from work and just had a sneak peek 😉
    Will try again tomorrow, looking forward to a walk with the family x

    • Reply Jen January 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Sounds fab! Wellies and snowsuits at the ready?!

  • Reply Janine January 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I love this idea – thank you!!!

    • Reply Jen January 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Janine! Are you going to give it a go..??!

    Leave a Reply