Before children I had a job and a life that really involved being on top of the news. I could happily chat to anyone about policy and economic trends, ethical dilemmas and profound philosophical problems. I used to read the economist in the bath! Not even a copy of Elle decor in sight! (ok a copy of Elle decor was always in sight if not in hand). Anyway, that changed a bit after I had 4 children under 6 and they just had some kind of sensor that went crazy every time I tried to casually flick through the BBC news page on my phone while I was supposed to be playing playmobil.
The thing is, having children may have made me more tired, less well dressed and a fair bit more likely to cry at an episode of Topsy and Tim (the camping episode is rough, be warned) but it hasn’t made me any less interested in the world around me and politics. The problem is just that I’m so tired and time limited that it is easy to skip keeping up with the news and start keeping up with the… showbiz page on a certain dreaded website. But that changed recently when I found myself scrolling through 24photos of Selena Gomez in rehab and I had an epiphany. I didn’t know who Selena Gomez even was! I don’t think that her being in rehab is really relevant to me (or a lot of people in fact) but what I do know is that a 20something girl (maybe she’s even in her late teens?! I really don’t know who she is) definitely doesn’t need some lame photographer taking photos of her while she’s in rehab and even more crucially, she doesn’t need some lame 30something mother swiping through the photos whilst she decides what to cook for supper.
Enough was enough! I deleted the app immediately and haven’t gone back! (Apart from a quick peek on my browser to see whether Cheryl cole is pregnant and then only really to see if her face fills out a bit – so that doesn’t count)
Anyway with this new found free time on my hands (5 minutes while feeding the baby in the morning and 10mins in the bath in the evening) I decided I would do everything I could to get more on top of the news. And, after all this, I present to you my Quick Guide to Knowing all the News even when you’re really busy. The alternate title is, Being able to Have a Conversation with someone about something Other Than Children (clearly I still struggle at that part though)
1. Download some useful news apps and personalize them
Not you, daily mail with your showbiz section. <side eye>. The Guardian app is great. Even if it wouldn’t be your choice of paper, it is free and quick to update and eminently personalize-able : I.e., take the time to organize your homepage so that you don’t see all the sports news or culture pieces (no time, remember? We are on a strict news diet here)
If you aren’t trying to desperately curb your spending so that you can spend more on homeware or candles then I would also really recommend the Times app but some of us are too stingy (not me) (me).
2. Email news
For those extra busy days when you don’t have chance to use a news app, having news sent directly to your email means you often catch a quick glance of the headlines, at the very least. Enough so you aren’t left nodding your head with glazed eyes the next time you have a conversation with that neighbour who is just a little bit too clever and well informed. For the UK the BBC has a great email news service and for a bit of balance I also like to see what the New York Times has to say about things too (or at least, again, read the headlines.
3. Read the Economist in the bath
Print version, if like me you are liable to dropping a phone in the water (too high a price for the news). A nice gift for someone to treat you to at Christmas!
And there we have my three stage guide to keeping on top of the news. In summary: stay off the showbiz and read the news.