February 21, 2023

It's "no phones" not "no doing nothing on your phone"

We've had increasing numbers of houseguests recently, which has been awesome because I love people visiting.  But it's also interesting to see other peoples routines and habits and how they fit into our house.

As previously mentioned, we mostly don't use phones/tablets/computers in our house, and especially not around the kids.  Of course I used a computer to write this blog, and I have an ipod (what I call my "Smart Camera") to take photos of the kids and listen to audiobooks, but we never scroll, we don't use social media, and we have a general "hands off the phone" lifestyle.  My husband is much better about this than me, but I am pretty low-internet as compared to mos.

We don't always tell our no phones in communal spaces rule to people before the visit, and I need to get better at explaining our house rules.

I don't ban scrolling or phone use when it's adults hanging out in the house, but I do find myself bored when I'm chatting with a guest and they get their phone out to look something up and then look something else up and then ??? I'm not sure what people do on their phones.

I've also realized that I think in normal groups, if one person starts playing on their phone then everyone starts playing, and it's not so glaringly uncomfortable.  When there are three people chatting and scrolling it's probably not weird.  When one person is scrolling and one person is waiting it just seems... odd.

I will definitely comment if someone gets a phone out during a meal.  I feel that "no phones at the dinner table" is a pretty understandable rule.

On occasions where I've had to ask someone to put their phone away - the dinner table or in front of the kids being two examples - whoever I ask usually gives the same answer.

"Oh I was just looking something up/checking the weather/checking my email/doing something"

The funny thing about this answer is that, of course they were.  Everyone is doing something on their phone.  No one is looking at it for no reason... or rather each person has their own reason to look.  and our rule isn't "no phones at the dinner table unless you need to look something up / check email / do something".  The rule is "no phones at the table".

I still need to get a sign that says "This is a no smoking no smart phone house.  Smoking can be done outside, and smartphones can be used upstairs".

On a completely different note:

This morning we had a grocery delivery this morning, and I painfully learned to check my online order, because there is a rather large difference between 0.5kg onions and 5kg of onions.

Now I own a lot of onions.

Recipe ideas anyone?


  1. Ha! I had your onion experience with sour cream once during the height of lockdown. I say it's time for French onion soup!

    I love this post and I really wish that I could get my husband on board with no screens. There's really a trickle down effect on our kid, for one thing. But I do think our conversation suffers. He does the, "but I just need to..." thing at the table and I do not like that. Sigh. I need to figure out how to talk to him about this in a way that gets him on board, because I think he would otherwise just say no.

    I do not understand people who check their phones during "dates" either. I have a couple of friends who will interrupt a sentence -- theirs or mine -- to answer the phone or read and respond to a text message and I always feel miffed. I make it a point to keep my phone away when I'm meeting with someone, but it doesn't really seem to help - I think people who are likely to check their phones in the midst of a conversation are also the people who would not notice if I never had my phone out.

  2. I love your no devices rule. We definitely don't adhere to this, but sometimes I have aspirations of doing so.

    That is A LOT of onions. It reminds me of a scene in the Anne of Green Gables movie where Matthew Cuthbert comes home with 20 pounds of brown sugar because he was nervous about ordering a dress for Anne from the store and blurted out a need for sugar.

  3. I am totally on board with your no phones rule! I like to be fully engaged when I am with someone (and especially at the dinner table) and I think it's important to show the person that you are with that you care more about what they are saying and your interaction with them than your text with someone else, or even worse, a mindless scroll through your email, which is probably all junk anyway. Not that that matters but I feel that most of what people do on their phones is NOT that important so by using the phone while with others you are insinuating that the person is less important than whatever is on your phone, which I feel is not important, so...where does that leave us?

    5 kg is a lot of onions but luckily they last for a long time and there are a ton of recipes that use them! You can make chili one day, lasagna the next, stir fry the next...and I think you can use them up without having to resort to multiple days of onion soup! Unless you like onion soup a lot, which in that case, go for it!

    1. I totally agree with you - in my first job I had a boss who would always answer his desk phone during meetings with me and it felt like he was saying "I don't know who this is but they're more important than you". Now, when people use phones when around other people it basically says "I'm looking for something more important than you" which is not a nice feeling!

      Also, good note on the onions. I might also make and freeze some soffritto mix too. Onions do last a while and I'm sure I'll get through them. I like French Onion soup too though... but probably not 5kg worth.

  4. This is so weird; I posted a comment here yesterday and came back today to see if you had replied and my comment is gone! Argh. But I think my basic premise was good on you for restricting devices. My least favorite thing is when I am in the middle of a conversation with someone and they just start staring at or flicking on their phone. It's like they are telling me that I am less important that the spam email they are probably looking at. If I picked up a book in the middle of a conversation and started reading, would they be offended? I wonder.

    1. Sorry, I realized your comment was in pending! I really appreciate your comments, thanks for the notes and I'm enjoying reading your blog too :-)

  5. I definitely try very hard not to use the phone when I am out with other people, esp. when we're at dinner or another sit-down social situation. I do use my phone to take pictures, but abstain from checking social media, email or anything else unless important for the at-hand situation (like coordinating to meet with others, etc.)