I came across an article the other day from Time (I know; I know, but this is a good one.) talking about cell phones and how they are bad for parenting. It’s true and you know it. In fact, I am 100% guilty of this. I’m not proud of it, but it’s a truth I have to face. Mom guilt has overtaken me now that I’ve noticed how bad it is.
I have recently made a rule that at certain times of the day, I put my phone away (as in not even remotely in my line of sight). It is so incredibly important that when I play with my children, I play with my children, not sit on the floor looking at Facebook while the kids play around me. (Admit it, you’ve done it too!)
Smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. It’s awesome to have the Internet at your fingertips when you can’t think of the answer to something. Believe me, with a three year old constantly asking “why?”, I am happy to say “I don’t know honey, let’s Google it.” But it’s awful too. When I first got a smartphone at my former job, I was so stoked, but quickly realized I had a problem. I checked my email right before I turned off the lights to go to bed and it was the first thing I checked in the morning. Can we say NOT HEALTHY?
I should have been using that time to chat with my husband or daydream about the day ahead — but no. I was immersed in work, into the life online instead of the life that is right in front of me.
The other weekend I went out with a bunch of my girlfriends. Sure it’s normal for moms to leave their phones out in case the sitter calls, but every single one of us logged onto a social network while we were in each other’s company. Ok, that is lame. Totally and completely lame.
What is happening to us? And how can we get it to go back the other direction?
I want my kids to know that I enjoy being with them. Sure, sometimes I need a break, but I can do that during nap time, quiet time and other times when they don’t need me. If I need a huge break, I should hire a sitter. My kids need me. Your kids need you. And believe me, they notice when you aren’t truly present, even as young as three years old.
I don’t want my daughter’s first real memory of me to be on my phone.
So I challenge all of you….spend a day phone free. I’m going to do it. And I’m sure it’ll be hard…because it’s become an addiction of sorts. But the next time won’t be so hard and the time after that will be even easier.
Put down your phone. Be with your kids.
They’ll love you even more for it.