I LOVE YOU, AND I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME.
BUT, I ALSO THINK YOU LOVE YOUR PHONE.
LIKE A LOT.
LIKE JUST AS MUCH AS ME.
LIKE MAYBE MORE THAN ME?
IT'S KIND OF A QUESTION, BUT I KNOW YOU WILL DENY IT, SO LET'S CALL IT A STATEMENT.
IT'S MY OBSERVATION AND I'M POINTING IT OUT TO YOU NOW BEFORE I GET ANY OLDER AND IT BEING SUCH A DISTRACTION GETS ANY WORSE.
I HOPE YOU LOVE ME MORE THAN YOUR PHONE, MAMA.
I HOPE YOU CHOOSE ME, WHENEVER YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
DO YOU KNOW? YOU DO HAVE THE CHANCE AND THE CHOICE.
PLEASE CHOOSE ME.
PLEASE PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE.
LOVE, YOUR KID ___________
Those words, like a dagger right to my mama heart, weren't found on a note from one of my kids, but they very well could have been.
I read an article published by The Atlantic a little while back on "The Dangers of Distracted Parenting" which contended that more than being fearful of our children's screentime, we should be frightened and embarrassed by our own ungodly amount.
7 hours and 20 minutes of screen time per day.
That's 440 minutes A DAY that I averaged last week.
How is that even possible?
My three kids, under the age of seven, are only awake say 15 hours of the day and they are only home from school 10 hours of the day (for my youngsters) and 8 hours (for my elementary-aged girl).
Have I really been spending 7 hours and 20 minutes of the 8 hours I get with my oldest on my flippin' phone?
I must be.
I can't possibly be.
Can I be?
While the reality is that "screentime" probably accounts for apps that I leave open on my phone (and goodness knows I suck at exiting apps that are not in-use or closing browser tabs following each search) and my kids using my device to play games, I am sure this number is not THAT far off, and that's gross.
Yes, my addiction to my phone and obsession with social media is, honestly, puke-worthy.
Yet, I can't stop.
Here's the thing, though...
My role as a writer and "blogger" requires -- if I want to be successful -- for me to share my words, daily and often. I've got to market myself and my brand. It's also kind, good juju and extremely important for me to share the words of other writers and bloggers who support, inspire and entertain me.
In our current day, if you are not active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the like, your words get fewer eyes them, and fewer eyes mean fewer shares, less money for your business and your mission having a smaller impact.
Some of my screentime is me taking videos of the kids and pictures, of course, and the smallest amount is likely spent on me jotting article notes to myself for future drafts.
Still, 7 hours and 20 minutes of screen time per day, it's overboard.
The note I shared above wasn't legit.
I told you that.
Still, me coming home and finding those words from my seven-year-old, wise-beyond-her-years daughter, it's not a far stretch.
More than anything -- more than I want to write a book, grow my business, have more followers, make media appearances, do speaking engagements, and make money -- I want my children to know that I love them and that nothing, not even mommy's entrepreneurship endeavors, now or will ever mean more than them.
Still, it seems as though I have been a distracted present parent if that's even a thing.
I think it must be a thing with so many people, mothers, especially, starting their own businesses, working from home, and working part-time.
Resolving this problem -- and yes, it absolutely an issue -- is going to require a lot of thought, uber-conscious behavior, time-blocking and forced digital fasting.
The Atlantic article noted that smartphones are too blame for many "crummy outcomes—car fatalities, sleep disturbances, empathy loss, relationship problems" and "that it almost seems easier to list the things they don’t mess up than the things they do."
Here's my digital confession that I've been a distracted present parent and my wholehearted assertion that I plan to make a change, starting today.
One crummy outcome that is not going to happen, if I make the shift that I contest I desire to, is raising children who think everything that is important can fit in the palm of your hand and be accessible at the ease of a swipe.
I cannot let that happen.
I will not let that happen.