I’m on holiday in the South of France with the two youngest boys and my mum; the eldest ditched me to stay at home. Can’t say I blame him, I would’ve at his age!
We have had a lovely week. The sun is shining, we’ve swum, played games, sunbathed, read books. It has been awesome. I’ve read three books in 6 days and started a 4th. This never happens. I love spending time with my mum and kids. I don’t get enough of it.
Whilst I am officially on annual leave, I have spent a lot of time emailing and calling work over the past two days as I am changing jobs and had issues with my start date. I’ve done this laying by the pool in between diving in and out, or watching the kids attempts to learn to dive themselves.
Whilst I’ve been doing this the boys have been playing with their friends and my mum has been reading on her kindle, watching TV on her ipad or crocheting. She’s never without a crochet hook within easy reach. She is bloody amazing at crochet. She makes loads of fantastic stuff. She can’t help herself.
Anyway this evening on the last day of our holiday my Mum said to the boys in front of me “I have to say your Mum is always on her phone”.
For some reason this raised my hackles. I have fully participated in this holiday. It is my holiday too after all. Despite the fact that I drove for 14 hours to get us here, whilst they were all watching TV, or reading or crocheting in the car. I’ve swum, taken the kids go-karting, and climbing. I’ve read over three books. I’ve cooked every night (with help from my Mum, of course), but I was being judged because I was using my phone a lot.
Whilst it annoyed me immediately, it’s not worth stressing over and so I forgot about it until I was in the shower. Whilst I was washing, I started to think about how some things appear to be acceptable for others to comment on, but somethings not. For example, I never watch TV. Anyone who has been to my house knows that I actually don’t know how to work my TV. And I don’t have Sky or Virgin, just the standard TV channels. People always comment on this. “You don’t watch TV?” As if I have some affliction..nope I don’t watch TV, not on a regular basis. If I’m not working I read or I catch up with friends, that may be in person or on the phone or via text. I don’t sit and watch crap on TV.
But somehow it’s socially acceptable to sit all evening watching TV. Or all day, and to judge me for not doing the same.
Lots of people spend all their spare time knitting, or like my Mum, crocheting. No one would ever dream of saying to them in a slightly acusatory and judgemental way “Oi Doris, all you ever do is knit” or “Brenda, you are always doing those jigsaws, can’t you do something else”.
What does it matter to anyone else if I’m on my phone rather than doing something that they feel more suitable and appropriate? How is me being on my phone different to any other pursuit, such as reading or sewing?
I don’t get a lot of time that isn’t occupied by work or childcare or other life admin; I keep in touch with those I care about using my phone. Instead of buying newspapers I read the news on my phone. If I’m reading, I often do so on my phone. If I want to watch a documentary I’ll do it on my phone. If I’m working, I can often do it on my phone. I really don’t see a problem with that.