Saturday, 1 February 2014

My Home is a No Phone Zone

Last week, I was sitting on the couch next to my husband. It was about 8:30 PM, the dishes were done and the next day’s lunches were packed. We were both relaxing after a day at work when I realized neither of us had said anything in about an hour. I looked up and found the culprit. My husband and I had both been on our phones for over an hour. I was probably looking at social media websites and the hubby possibly reading business articles and looking up sports scores. I didn’t say anything that night but, I knew something needed to happen.

This wasn’t the first time my husband and I had phone issues in our relationship. Before landing a job as an admin assistant, I worked in public relations and my phone was glued to me at all times. This caused major problems between my then boyfriend/now husband. After I left that job, the phone seemed to no longer cause too many issues, but then my husband got an Iphone. Shortly after he began to be on his phone ALL the time. It seemed as though he could not spend an hour off his phone. At first I felt ignored but then I started doing the same thing.

And so there we were, in the same room, but completely ignoring each other night after night. I would sometimes get frustrated at my husband for spending so much time on his phone. Occasionally, he would be reading his phone while I was talking, or would refuse to do something right away because he was busy playing a game on his phone. The cat would literally jump on him and try to get between his line of vision and his phone so she could get some attention.

After that evening last week I knew it was time to do something. I mean we couldn’t be doing the phone thing when we have kids. They would feel ignored by us. And so I decided to make our home a phone free zone.

The rules are as follows: First, when we get home we both have to put our phones away. We can’t carry them around with us or keep them in our pockets. We both leave the phones on top of a shelf I have in the kitchen. Second, if the phone rings, you can answer it, no questions asked. The same goes for text messages. However, once the phone call or text message has been answered, the phone goes back on the shelf. Third, if you need to check something on your phone ( an email, a question that’s nagging you, the weather, etc..) you have to ask for permission from the other person to be able to use your phone, and once you are done with the phone, it goes back on the shelf. Phones can be checked at the following times: when the other is in the bathroom, when the other is out of the house, when the other is sleeping. There are more exceptions to this, but as a general rule, if we are together in the same room, both phones should be put away.

It’s been about 5 days since our home became a phone free zone. It was very difficult at first, but we seem to be getting used to it now. If one of us forgets, the other usually just says “Phone free zone” and the offending party puts his or her phone away without complaining (so far).

As you can imagine, having a phone free home has allowed us to talk a lot more and spend more quality time together. With a baby on the way, and all that’s going for us, it’s very important that we try to spend time as a couple rather than just roommates. I think as time goes on the phone free rule, will continue in our home. As the kids get older and get cell phones too, we will require the same from them. It’s very easy to get lost in technology and forget to socialize with the people around you. I don’t believe that we should completely cut ourselves off from technology, but limiting its use will hopefully bring us closer together as a family.

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