On being phone shamed

Today I was phone shamed. I was in a family-friendly museum with the children, our third outing of the day, and they were having fun in the toy room.

It was a hands on toy room filled with vintage toys for them to play with from old-fashioned dolls prams to cars to spinning tops. They were thrilled.

As they settled in to play, I took out my phone to look at the photos of the children taken at the beach earlier today.

Photos are important to me. I love taking them, reviewing them, sharing them.

I was the girl who couldn’t wait to get my photos developed when I had my first yellow Kodak camera.

The girl who went to the local photo shop as soon as possible and paid extra to have photos developed quickly.The girl whose walls were covered in photo collages of friends and family at home and at university. So, yes, I love photos and I take most of them on my phone.

A man walked into the room and announced: “It’s so nice to see them playing with toys that aren’t electronic. But oh!” he sneered, nodding his head towards the phone in my hand. He left the room before I could answer.Yes, like most, I’m a little too addicted to my phone. I have to put boundaries on how much I use it. I’m conscious of not using it too much around the children and when I’m with company. Do I get it wrong sometimes? Absolutely. But I don’t think I got it wrong today.

The man with the sneer didn’t see me plan our three holiday trips out that day, packing snacks and beach gear, giving the children their breakfast beforehand, helping to them pick their clothes and brush their teeth. Reminding them to wear wellies and making sure we had coats and spare clothes with us just in case.

He didn’t see me take them to two beaches earlier that day, which I’d researched to make sure they were suitable for families, and zipping them into their bathers and wetsuits so they didn’t get too cold in the sea.

He didn’t see me pushing by body worries aside to jump waves with them for an hour in just my bather. Or see me dry them off, fill their rumbling tummies with snacks and wipe sand from in between their toes so they didn’t get sore.

He just saw the mum with the phone and he judged me for it.

We all judge. I get it. I’ve done it. But when I catch myself judging I try to tell myself that I don’t know the person, their story or the whole picture. And I try to keep that judgement in check.

So please, if you find yourself judging, try to remember you’re not that person. You’re getting a snapshot, a quick insight into their life and it may not be their best moment of the day.

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What went well today? One week in.

A week ago, I was lucky enough to do wellbeing workshops at work. The workshops covered lots of insightful ground, but the simplest thing that resonated with me was writing down the three things that went well for me at the end of every day.

It is a positive psychology concept by psychologist Martin Seligman and had led to some brilliant results.

Now I’m the type of person who can struggle to switch off and relax. Very often I can’t sit and do nothing as my brain is a constant monologue of the things I should be doing. The washing, the ironing, cleaning, wrapping gifts, doing the online groceries, packing the school bag and batch cooking meals. I have always been like this, but I have fallen into this trap even more since having the children as the to do list just never ends.

I downloaded the Headspace app earlier this year, which I loved, but I found it difficult to commit to 10 minutes a day when there was so much other stuff to do (a sad excuse, I know).

So I was drawn to this simple idea that could be done in very little time. I dug out a pretty new notebook and started the what went well? project that evening.

One week in, I have to say I am feeling more positive. It is great to end the day celebrating the things that went well. 

Quite of often it’s the little things such as a sunny lunchtime walk, laughing with friends, getting to that exercise class when I would much rather have collapsed in a heap on the sofa. 

So I am going to keep going with this simple exercise to see where it takes me. So far, so good.

Have you tried what went well? before? Or are you thinking of giving it a go? Let me know.