It happened, my six year old told me something brutally honest this morning.
“Mommy, put your phone down! You’re always playing on it. Won’t you play with me instead.”
(silence – let that soak in)
…I immediately set the phone down and finished helping her get ready for school. I made a conscious effort to not pick up my phone for the rest of the morning. I dropped the kids off at school, came home and went to work, but those words stuck with me ALL day! Am I really on my phone THAT much? Clearly, if a six year old thinks I’m on my phone too much then it’s got to be true.
Here’s the thing though, I have made an effort for the past year to be more present in my kids lives. Not that I’m a absent mom (absent minded maybe, but not absent), but it’s so easy to focus too much effort on the wrong things. I’ve made an effort to leave my phone on my desk when the kids are home from school in the afternoon, during dinner, and while they get ready for bed. I’m not perfect and I catch myself looking at the updates more often than I should. When they are in the other room playing, I should be playing with them or cleaning or cooking or working out. There are hundreds of other things I could be doing….
….but I pick up my phone, scroll through my updates and emails, and make mental notes of things I need to do after they go to bed.
Here’s my struggle and it’s not much different than many of you. I work full-time in social media, I’m online ALL day and ALL night. If I’m not online, you can see the effects in customer service, satisfaction, and sales. THAT.SUCKS! Society is one that seeks instant gratification and if you can’t find the answer quickly, you’ll go to the place that can give you the answer. Ten years ago, it wasn’t like this. Six years ago when my daughter was born it wasn’t nearly this bad. Today, this is reality.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my job! I love every minute of it. I love the freedom to work my own hours and the freedom to take my kids to Girl Scouts, Flag Football and orthodontist appointments. I love that I can send them to a charter school which requires me to drive them and pick them up. I love that they don’t have to stay in after-care while I work. There are so many positives and I have to keep telling myself that it will all be ok. My kids will turn out just fine…
…even if I’m on my phone. I will continue to make a more conscious effort about when and how often I’m looking at my phone. I will continue to juggle my work-life and my mom-life the best that I can. I will not be on my phone in the morning while getting everyone ready for school, I’m pretty sure there will be less arguments! I will never take my phone to the dinner table and will continue to encourage family dinner. I will not take my phone with me while reading bedtime stories. I will love my children with all the love they deserve.
What ways have your kids been brutally honest with you? What tricks and tips (if any) do you have for managing your phone time?