My beautiful daughter was born in June of 2011. Soon she will be 3! When we went into the hospital I put my phone on silent (because I just assumed you were supposed to in a hospital!). I also wanted to be fully available to my wife.
Before then, my phone would buzz, beep, ring and chime all the time. Like most people I get plenty of work and personal emails on a regular basis, and they come in at all hours of the day.
I remember one time my wife and I went out for dinner. My phone beeped in the middle of our conversation and without thinking I checked my phone. My wife was talking, but I wasn’t paying attention. Needless to say, I had to apologize to my wife!
I want my kids to know that Daddy loves them. I want them to know that when I am with them I am focused on them. I don’t mind them knowing that Daddy is busy and sometimes has to go to work.
What I don’t want them to know, is what Daddy’s phone sounds like.
Most of us have this sense of obligation to pick up a ringing phone. When our phone beeps or chimes we are like Pavlov’s Dogs, we salivate until we check our phones.
As a bi-product, when our phones go off those around us expect to lose our attention and focus. This can be very damaging to our relationships.
This is exactly why my phone is ALWAYS on silent.
My children (and my wife) don’t know what Daddy’s phone sounds like! They don’t know how many emails I get or when an alert comes in. It’s fantastic!
I know what you might be thinking. I must miss every call and people might think I am unreliable and never pick up the phone.
This simply isn’t true. When I am “open for business” my phone is usually in my pocket and I can easily feel the vibration. I almost never miss a call!
This has spared my family from the noise pollution from the sound of every call, text, tweet, email or sports update.
This makes the time I send with my family protected time.
Think about what would happen if every time my phone beeped I looked at it? I would condition my children to know that when my phone beeps that Daddy ignores them.
I charge my phone in the living room, away from our bedroom.
This way when emails and alerts come in during the night, my phone doesn’t light up and buzz.
Rarely, if ever does my phone come into the bedroom. This is a boundary to respect my wife. I believe it is well worth it.
What boundaries have you set up with your phone to protect your relationship with your family?
Please share your thoughts below.