Making changes for the sake of my kids

18 Feb

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I’ve read a few blog posts recently about how we, as a society, have become so wrapped up in our handheld technology that we have been neglecting our relationships with our kids. My cousin even went so far as to get rid of her smartphone after realizing she didn’t want to miss out on one bit of her daughter’s childhood by falling into the habit of “staying connected”.

As I read “How to Miss a Childhood,” I found myself nodding here and there, but mostly thinking that getting rid of my Windows phone (I am pretty much the only person I know without an iphone) was something I could never do, simply because I mostly use it to take pictures and video clips of the kids, not to play games or surf Facebook while pushing my child on the swings at the playground, as the author described. And yet, as I read a similar post by a different blogger, it started to hit me.

In “Dear Mom On The iPhone,” a mother of four wrote about how if we are not careful, our kids will remember us as having been more connected to our smartphones and ipads than we were to them as they grew up.

That is NOT how I want my children to remember their childhood.

She went on to describe in detail how important she feels it is for us as parents to always, and I mean always, give our kids their full attention. Even if that means listening to your 5-year-old daughter tell the same silly joke five times in a row. Because kids remember.

I felt empowered after reading these posts. Not that I was about to toss my smartphone out the window. Please. If I did that I would never be able to drive anywhere other a three-mile radius from our house, I use it’s GPS that much, really. But I was ready to make some much needed changes to the way I utilize technology in our household. Yesterday afternoon I tried it, with limited success. You see, I also recently discovered the Vine app and it’s slightly addicting, as you’ll notice by my Twitter feed. But I guess that is the root of this story now, isn’t it? I digress.

On Sunday afternoon, I made sure to look my Little Man in the eyes, each and every time he said, “Mommy! Mommy, I want to tell you something.” I snuggled with my Baby Girl and we sung the ABC’s at least fifteen times. I played games with them and helped my Sweet Pea work on her color identification. These are simple things that I used to do with my son all the time when he was little, back when we didn’t own smartphones, an ipad, and an ipad mini.

I truly listened to my kids and I heard their voices in a way I hadn’t in a long time. I noticed how Baby Girl skips the “H” in her ABC’s and how she perfectly and emphatically pronounces the “X” the same way her big brother did when he was her age. I felt her smooth, soft baby skin and noticed, when she decided to strip down to her diaper, that she’s starting to lose some of her adorable baby rolls. Her pudge is being replaced by a more slender version of herself. And her brother. His imagination is running wild in all sorts of directions and his stories of what his monster trucks and firemen are up to are just fascinating. I never tire from seeing how his eyes light up when he tells a story. His eyelashes practically touch his forehead, they are that long.

I noticed such an impact, such big differences in just one day of slight changes in my behaviors. From now on I’m going to do my best to make even more of these important changes. Slowly, I think. Because I’ve never really been a cold turkey kind of gal.

I’m not going to turn on my laptop/ipad/phone first thing in the morning. Instead, I’m going to kiss and hug each member of my family before engaging with an electronic device. Because my family deserves that kind of respect. I’m only going to log onto Twitter/Facebook/blogs/email in the evening after the kids are in bed or during nap time. My friends and family know how to reach me in an emergency, and if something is urgent, then a person can call me rather than email me. Email can wait. I will no longer make calls while driving, hands-free earpiece or not, unless it is an emergency. This is precious time that I can spend talking to my kids about their day, having conversations. And I’ll do my best to pull out my DSLR to take pictures of my family instead of clicking snapshots of them with my phone.

On Saturday while the kids were at swim lessons, out of annoyance from all the other parents who were on their phones while their kids swam fifteen feet in front of them, I refrained from taking out my phone to take videos of my kids. Instead, I waved excitedly at my two little fish and beamed with pride as my son did his best few freestyle strokes yet, complete with a strong kick. I may have missed that moment had I been checking out my Facebook news feed like so many of the other parents.

I share this with you not because I am planning on becoming a model parent when it comes to limiting technology in the home. Lord knows I still have a great deal of work to do in this arena. I share because my eyes were opened by what two other women had written. And maybe you haven’t read their posts, but you are reading mine. And maybe this may help you make some changes that will allow you to capture so many more memories of your kids as they grow.

I know I grabbed a ton this weekend that I’ll hold in my heart forever now.

Which is much, much more important than time spent on any so-called smart technological device, don’t you think?

{Just in case you are wondering, I wrote this post last night in my journal, after the kids were in bed, hubby snoring happily beside me while I wrote. I edited and am posting it this morning from the guestroom office, while my Mother-in-law is spending time with the kids downstairs.}
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10 Responses to “Making changes for the sake of my kids”

  1. Andrea February 23, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Love, love this! It can be so hard to really live in the moment with the phones & constantly checking email etc. I noticed I was doing this a lot a while back & as soon as I realized it I took a step back & now make an effort to stay in the moment & connected to what is going on around me as much as possible.

    I agree with you & it is so important & I would hate for my daughter to only remember me as always on the computer or phone.

    Great post & a great reminder!!

    • BipolarMomLife February 23, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Thanks so much, Andrea! It hasn’t even been a week since I posted, and I can already see changes that mean so much to me in our family. This morning I spent time reading a book on colors with my baby girl before her nap and she just loved every second of it. Not that I don’t read to her, but it’s usually before bed because we’re so busy during the day. Taking time to unplug and choosing to ignore my laptop and phone in exchange for quality time with my kids is a change I’m glad I’m making. I’m in no way an expert at this, and I have a TON of growing to do in this area, but I’m going to work on it every day. It will make such a difference in our kids’ childhoods, I’m sure.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!! (and tweeting my post!) Hope you’re having a great weekend!! xoxo

  2. Hands Free Mama (@handsfreemama) February 19, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    I am truly honored to be mentioned in your beautifully written and powerful post! I celebrate the changes you are making. They are realistic and achievable, yet these boundaries can make a tremendous difference in our ability to bond with our loved ones and create lasting memories. Thank you for sharing your own journey to let go of distraction and grasp the moments that matter! You are an inspiration.

    Rachel Stafford
    http://www.handsfreemama.com

    • BipolarMomLife February 19, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Thank you so much, Rachel for stopping by to read and comment!! I was inspired by your original post and am finding that although the changes may be hard to make, in the long run they are so beneficial to my family. Just by looking at the differences between the way I spent time with our son (before technology like the iphone and ipads were in our house) and now our daughter (after the iphone/ipads were introduced to our family), I saw big differences and realized I wanted to go back to more of how we spent time with our firstborn. Our daughter deserves the same level of attention from her mom and dad. Don’t get me wrong – I think iphones and ipads are great tools, I just have decided that for us, putting some limits on them is going to be better for our family. Thank you for writing about such an important issue.

  3. Shelly February 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on onbeingmindful and commented:
    this is good advice not only for moms of young kids but for everyone. How often are we truly present with those around us? Make the choice to put away the devices.

    • BipolarMomLife February 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      So true, Shelly. Thank you for reblogging my post. Means a lot to me. :)

  4. 4littlefergusons February 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this post and linking our blogs up! It was beautiful and heart felt. :) Hugs, T

    • BipolarMomLife February 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Thank you, Tonya for being such an inspiration!! I’m so glad to have read your blog, and I’ll continue to read and learn because I am not perfect. In fact, I need to log off since Baby Girl is waking up from her nap. Tech time is over for now! :) Thank you again. xoxo

  5. phamily31 February 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you for this! We do get caught up too much in technology.

    • BipolarMomLife February 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Thank you for reading & commenting!! I’m so glad you liked my post.

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