Rachel Weeks

Do iPhones bring us together or drive us apart?


Rachel Weeks
Rachel Weeks

Welcome back Rachel Weeks!  This post’s timing is perfect with the arrival of my new iPhone. I have introduced Suri to my son and he’s addicted to talking to the robot!  Let us know if Rachel’s view on her family devices resonates with you.  Rachel Weeks is a director of marketing in the software industry. When she’s not trying to catch up on sleep or TV shows on the DVR, she enjoys family time, mommy-son time, mommy-daddy time and girls’ nights out.  You can follow her on LinkedIn.

I love my iPhone.  I carry it with me wherever I go. And while it stays on the charger downstairs in the kitchen (not next to my bed) it’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before going up to bed at night.

I wasn’t always a gadget addict, but in all fairness, I never had a real smartphone until I got my first iPhone. Around this time I had started a new job with demanding hours and the expectation of 24×7 availability, so having my work email available on the iPhone was a convenient way of staying connected. I also access my personal email from the iPhone and all the “important” apps I need to pay bills, check sports scores, get the latest entertainment updates, and keep in touch on Facebook and other social networking platforms. If we play the “what would you need if you were stranded on a deserted island?” game, my answer would be “my iPhone and internet access.”

My husband has an iPhone too. He uses it for work and personal email, but mostly he uses it to play games. He introduced our son to an internet game they play together, amassing supplies for some imaginary battle with monsters, creatures, and machines, which gives little boys (and men) extreme pleasure.

So when my husband was preparing for a week-long business trip, I asked him what our son will do when he’s typically spend time playing “the game” with daddy. I had no interest in playing “the game” and I wasn’t willing to hand over my iPhone so my son could use it – what would I do while he’s using my iPhone!?  So we decided to get him an iPod Touch.

Our son uses his iPod to access shows we’ve selected for him on Netflix and PBS Kids, and he has some game apps that we download for him. It’s great when he wakes up early on a weekend morning and plays on his iPod while we catch a few more ZZZsss, and it’s nice when we want to watch sports on the big TV in the family room and he can sit with us while watching what interests him.

But then one day I noticed the three of us sitting together in the family room, each of us on our own device.  Have we become one of those families that don’t talk to each other anymore, but only communicates via mobile devices? Have we set a precedent with our son that it’s ok to use the iPod to entertain himself at the expense of interacting with others?  

The reality is that mobile devices such as iPhones are here to stay in one form or another. It’s much more efficient to check email on the iPhone than having to boot-up the computer and it’s fun staying in touch with friends and family on Facebook from anywhere at any time. I am conscious of the amount of screen time my son spends each day, but the truth is after a full day at pre-school, he deserves to just zone out on the couch for a little while, just as I need to chill out after a long day at work.

So we’ve decided, at least for now, that it’s ok for all of us to use our devices and we set limits on our son’s iPod use, just as we do with TV. Will this bring our family closer together or drive us farther apart? Only time will tell. Maybe I should ask Siri and see what she has to say about it.


Can you relate?  Let us know in the comment below!

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Liz McGrory

Liz is a work/life sway strategist helping stressed out working mom better manage their quadruple workload of self, family, home and career. You can also check her out on TheSpurce.com as their working mom expert and on The Maven Clinic as one of their career coaches.

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