Early motherhood (or fatherhood) can be an isolating time. Your life becomes consumed by a tiny human who isn’t the greatest conversationalist. Interactions with your partner quickly fall into a pattern of taking turns keeping said tiny human alive. And interactions with friends? They’re either fellow moms who are just as overwhelmed as you are, or they don’t have kids and they’re wondering where you went.
Enter the smartphone: Every new mom’s best friend. It keeps us company during hours of breastfeeding. It gives us knowledge and comfort when we have a question about that rash on baby’s bum. It gives us a feeling of real connection and satisfaction when we share the little highlights of our lives on social media. And sometimes, when reading a thought-provoking article or browsing a friend’s feed, it reminds us of the people we were before becoming mothers.
Smartphones can feel like a lifeline to a new mom, but sometimes they do more harm than good. Dr. Anna Kress, a clinical psychologist in Princeton, N.J., notes that moms today are often more isolated than previous generations, and our phones have a lot to do with that. “Ironically, devices can create an illusion of connection that can actually contribute to feelings of loneliness,” she says.
Having a healthy relationship with our smartphones requires a delicate balance, and that starts with setting some ground rules. Here are some tips for being more intentional about your phone usage.