Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dear Mom on the iPhone

Remember when we had phones that we just used to talk on? We'd only reach for our phones if they rang or if we were calling someone. Of course, today we reach for our phones for those same reasons, but we also reach for them for SO many other things...... when we want to check the forecast, see what our friends are up to, log something in one of our many apps, and much more. These days, people are looking down at their phones constantly, instead of being in the moment. I read this article(see below) on Facebook today as my kids played next to me (Ha! You caught me!)and it totally made me cry. You see Mom's (and Dad's) doing this all the time and not giving their kids the full attention they deserve. When I first read the article, I thought: No this isn't me.... I check my phone for a few minutes here and there, and then put it down. But then I remembered the times where my kids put their cute little hands upon my cheeks to get my attention and saying 'Mommy!' as I'm looking at my phone. NO MORE! Reading this gave me a big wake-up call to change. So many of us are addicted and it needs to stop. We are setting the example and we are sending our kids a message that they are not as important as whatever is on our phones and that it's ok for them to do this too. Technology has turned us into robots.
My kids love the iPad. When my son was little, he used played educational apps at the dinner table and I could just shovel food into his mouth and he'd eat anything. I thought it was the greatest thing! Then one day, it hit me.... my son was not learning to feed himself, he wasn't enjoying and savoring his food. I'd look over at my husband, and he'd be checking the internet on his phone instead of talking to me while I sat directly across from him at the dinner table. This had to stop! I made a rule of no more devices at the table, and that includes the adults. Now, dinner time is family time and it's great! My kids still enjoy using the iPad, but not at the dinner table. They use it here and there throughout the day, and take turns. But when it's been more than 20 minutes, at the most, I whisk it away and we do something else.
Now, after reading the article below, I've decided to set a new treat my phone like an 'old-school' phone during the day when my kids and I are at play. I'm going to turn the ringer up, put it up-high on a shelf, and only reach for it when it rings, or if I need to make the occasional call. When I was young my Mom used to talk on the phone a lot. It drove my siblings and I nuts, and I vowed, I'd never be on the phone a lot as a parent. But being on the phone isn't just talking on it these days, so I am vowing now to stop and to start setting a great example to my little ones and be fully present. Do you want to join me in this challenge???
Here is the article:
Dear Mom On the iPhone, I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores. But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now….. Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. You aren’t. Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do. Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly. Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids. Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware! Play time at the park will be over before you know it. The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it. They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!” There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. Because they know… You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime….. I know that’s not true, Mommy. I know your heart says differently. But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly. 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.