I’ve been struggling a lot lately with the amount of time I spend on my phone and how my children see me. I feel like my phone is becoming too important to me. I check it a zillion times a day, often the first thing I do upon waking and the last thing I do before falling asleep. My children are getting a little bit older and play with friends more or with each other, so I find myself having a lot more downtime than I’ve ever had in the past five years. I fill this downtime with looking online, and not even productively. Wasting time just because.
Now I am chained to it. Phones have become our way of connecting, our link to the outside world and a tool for business. Staying at home with kids can be really isolating, so a phone becomes your tool for staying in touch. A tool for sanity. It is my way of connecting and I love it. But to what end? Do I have to Instagram every moment? Tweet it? Facebook it? Do I have to answer every text or call? I am becoming that mom. That mom that always has her phone at her finger tips and I’m not sure I like it.
I’ve been noticing lately that my five year old is really interested in what I’m saying and doing. She listens closely to conversations and mimics my tones and phrases. While this is cute in some ways, hearing her emulate some of my not favorite qualities gives me concerns. I realize that I have to move past the time where I could say things and not have children understand. Just like when they are learning to talk and you have to filter everything, I have to filter how and what I say about everything.
I’ve also made steps to limit television on weekdays and I closely monitor what they watch. They are swayed by everything the see, everything! Commercials, news stories, inappropriate ads, snippets of a show that is on after bedtime, they notice it all. I’m pretty reserved with what I think is appropriate for them to watch. I don’t like video games, television on at meal times or anything other than Disney Jr or PBS Kids for them (no commercials!) They read books in the car, we don’t own an iPad, I don’t have apps on my phone for them, etc. I’m not saying any of those things are bad! There is a time and a place for everything and we all do things differently. I just notice that my children are really sensitive to over stimulation and it doesn’t work for us.
After all this, they have amazing imaginations and can play well with each other or just reading quietly in their rooms. Now I feel I need to adjust what I am doing again. I need to be better. I need to put down my phone and enjoy them. Time is going by so, so fast. My babies are no longer babies and this is scary for me. I don’t want them to think of me as the mom that is constantly distracted or on her phone. I know my feelings for them, I know my intention, but they won’t know them until I show them and tell them.
I need to challenge myself to be better. I don’t want my children to think that my phone is more important than them, but that is what I’ve been showing them. Just like I challenge myself to not shop, I am going to challenge myself to disconnect a bit more.
1) One day a week I need to shut my phone off and leave it off. All day. No checking, no texting, no calling.
2) Limit my work times on the computer to naps/bedtimes and school days. Blogging is time consuming, but so is motherhood. I must use my time more wisely.
3) No texting in the car at stoplights or scrolling through Twitter on weekends in the car while driving with my family.
4) I want to commit to no TV for the children (and me) at all on schooldays. We don’t watch it in the mornings, but I have been putting on the news and that is too distracting. I want to dedicate the weekdays to school, playing together and reading. I have been slacking in this area and TV is the reason why.
5) My main goal is to become more present and less distracted. I don’t think mom’s should give up everything for their children, but I’ve seen my shortcomings in this area and know I need to improve.