Friday, March 8, 2013

Phones, Computers, and Being Present

I found a post floating on the internet last week.  I think it has been quickly making its way around, so maybe you've seen it too?  It was a letter to a mother (or rather, all of the mothers) on her iPhone.  Ringing any bells?  The tone of the letter immediately put a bad taste in my mouth, as it seemed a bit extreme for my taste.  Holy guilt trip.  But the message, is something I've given a lot of thought to recently.  I go back and forth on the whole topic of my phone, computer, and social media in front of Henry.  My personal opinion, is that it's important that Henry learns that I'm still with him and loving him completely even if I'm not on the floor playing 100% of the time.  After all, the house sadly needs to be cleaned, I have emails to check, things to look into, etc.  I don't want to feel guilty for doing those things because the vast majority of my time is still spent engaging with him, and I think it's healthy to feel confident in Mama's love even if I'm working on something near by.  However, it is so easy to bury my face in my phone when I feel like I need a break.  And honestly?  I'd like a short break quite often.  But Henry more than ever, cares what I think about the things he's doing and is constantly calling my name and looking at me for a reaction, an excited expression, and words of encouragement.  He spends what feels like hours each day excitedly shouting "Mommy too! Mommy too!" and I have become much more aware of the way he probably feels when he looks up expecting a big smile from me and instead sees me staring at my phone.  I'm not saying that I plan to put my phone away for the whole day, because like I said think it's okay that he sees me doing other things, and interacting with him at the same time.  But I think balance is key.  Because without a doubt, he is the very most important part of my day, and I don't want to allow myself to be distracted during times when he needs me to be present.  I keep reminding myself (and this may have been in the letter, I can't quite remember) that some day down the road, and it will come all too soon, Henry won't be looking to me for my opinions and reactions, my hugs when he does something silly or my cheering when he does something helpful.  The time really does go too quickly, and more than anything I want to be present during this stage.  To strike a balance, I do the majority of my computer work during nap and after bed, and when I need a quick break during the day, I try to hold off until he is busy working on something independently.  I'm far from perfect, and I know that some days it doesn't work the way  I want it to.  Some days I just need a few minutes to zone out, or I have more things than usual to take care of on my computer. Deep down I know he's fully confident in my love for him, and that we spend plenty of quality time together, but it's just a healthy reminder to myself to keep it in check a little more.

Like I said the letter itself was overboard for me, but the quote at the end struck a chord:
"May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all."
For me, I'm trying to skip the guilt of the whole topic.  Rather, just to remember that as much as I enjoy checking in on facebook and twitter (and I know that's okay), that he is absolutely more important than any of it and as long as he knows that in his little heart of hearts, then we're okay.


1 comment:

  1. This post is so True!!! I read something similar and it struck a cord with me, but it wasn't as heavy with guilt as the one you found!! I think it's important to take a break every now and then too, and i also agree with your comment that kids need to learn that even though you're not right next to them all the time, you still love them! It did make me realize that i was spending a lot of 'useless' time on the internet though, so it was still really helpful! Great post!! Henry is looking so big!!

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