A few years ago I wrote about divorcing my iPhone and I’ve done very well with my separation. Yes, separation from my iPhone. Instead of tending to emails constantly during the day, I’m just making it a point to get through them in the morning or evening. Instead of worrying over how many followers I’ve gained on Instagram, I’m snapping photos with my DSLR. And get this guys — my phone has died three times this week and I haven’t rushed to charge it. #seriouslygome
As the week without my iPhone glued to my hand progressed, I still felt the pressure to check social media, so I’ve deleted all social media apps from my phone except Instagram. Small steps, mamas, small steps. This has been hard for me because it’s connected to my business, which is my sixth baby. I’ve had to let go of the control freak in me and delegate more things to my team — my beloved assistant has been so supportive through it all, telling me to just let my phone die, it’s OK. I’m slowly starting to learn how much the online world takes up your time. As much as I absolutely love it, I’ve learned that spending that extra time with my babies makes my heart so happy and less stressed. On Friday nights, I am usually catching up on work from the week, but tonight, I laid in bed with my girls and we snuggled while watching the Winter Olympics. No phone. No social media. No emails.
After my fab five went to bed, I started to make a list of memories — memories I wanted to create with them, things I wanted to do more of to enjoy their childhood. I’m ready to make memories, not to-do lists. Before you know it, your little newborn bundle of joy is going to be running around, and many of you might say to yourself, I feel like I’ve missed a childhood. Some of us may have missed it already, some of us are trying hard to make sure we don’t and some of us are just those Pinterest-perfect mamas. Oh, yes, I am so jealous of them.
Our to-do lists start to become a problem in the age of blogging, social media, working from home — just being a mom. You know it might be a problem when the first thing you do in the morning is check your social media and email before kissing or cuddling your babies. You know you’re addicted when your 3-year-old comes running to you with your phone. Because Mom, why isn’t it in your hand? You miss bedtime because you’re catching up in cyberspace, not in reality. Being a mom is one thing — being a present mom is something else, and more of a challenge. Believe it or not, our children see this more and more, starting from the youngest of ages, longing for our attention. They know when you are on your phone. The only thing they see is that they are in second place. Mommy’s iPhone is priority. I’ve done all of the above and I was at a point of overwhelming regret. I needed to change this so I have. I’ve created a list of ways to make memories — in real life, not in cyberspace.
While I understand that this is a first world problem of the modern 21st century, I can no longer sacrifice a childhood — five childhoods to be exact. Yes, my job is important. Yes, everyone is online. Yes, I’ve been readily available to the web-o-sphere for almost six years. But there comes a time when one must change. My dear friend Kacia who is my life cheerleader said to me tonight, “Being rich is being able to say no. Rich in life.” My first job is being a mom, and I’ve realized I’m adding a new chapter to the book of motherhood and crossing many things off my to-do list by saying no.
If you’re with me, I thought I would share just a few things on my how-to-make-sure-you-aren’t-missing-that-precious-childhood list with you:
- Give your baby your full attention. Look in his eyes. Let them melt your heart.
- Next time you’re at the playground, take your camera and leave your iPhone in the car. Yes, you will actually have to get those photos printed. But those memories can be instilled in your heart forever.
- Rock them. Forget crying it out. Rub their back, hold her hand, continue to sing him a lullaby even when he’s fast asleep.
- Be distraction-free. No checking emails or text messages at the red light. You are the role model. Make your child your No. 1 priority. Create a distraction-free day where all eyes are on Baby and nothing else.
- Read more books. Make an effort to read a few times a day. Enjoy that time and add it to your to-do list.
- Plan fun field-trips. Go to the museums, the zoo — look for more fun things to do on the weekends that even Baby can enjoy!
- If you have older children in school, take a nap with Baby. Do it. I dare you. Let the lunch dishes sit, they will be there when you wake up.
How are you becoming a more present parent? I’d love to know.