To the parent with your phone in your face,
Oh, Hi, that’s me; this is awkward.
It’s time that you and I had a chat where I break it down for you and point out the obvious that you are NOT present.
I completely get it.
You are trying to run a business, maintain some semblance of a social life and love/tend to your family and home.
It is not easy.
It is a struggle, and it has you jugglng, but if you don’t stop now, well, your kids, when they become teenagers (and quite possibly before then) they have their nose in their phone, computer or tablet, just as YOU have always done.
What a gut-wrenching punch to the stomach that was, yet also a much needed and welcomed dose of truth.
The challenge for so many, myself obviously included, is knowing when, where and why to unplug.
It makes it even harder to unplug when your work involves a social media or general digital component.
Still, there has to be a line drawn and here are a few tips on finding as close to harmony -- between being plugged-in for a good reason and unplugging so that you can be present and aware -- as I think we can realistically get:
— Plan your plugged in time and allocate a certain amount of hours each day to be “plugged-in.”
— Keep email checks brief and only check email occasionally and when necessary.
— Keep social media checks (unless work-related) to a minimum. Checking in to see if “Jane” is at work or home or drinking wine and posting funny memes -- it can wait.
— If you are going to be plugged in while you are with your children or spouse, inform them about what you are reading or share what it is you are looking at (when appropriate). Kids, and our partners are curious and they typically desire to know what is so important to us that it cannot wait.
— Leave your phone in your bag or the car when the setting allows.
Nowadays, meaningful conversation and active listening is becoming less commonplace. So many of us are more tuned in to our virtual life then our real-life and me, well, I want my kids to know that their mother treasures her time with them. I don’t want my kids thinking of me as the lady who was always on her phone. And, more than anything, I want my husband to know he is a priority.
I will conclude by suggesting that to combat this epidemic of continually being on our smartphones, we must take the advice of Dr. Seuss (because who is wiser, right?) and "behave as if this is the day [we] will be remembered.”
I don’t want my iPhone pictured in that last memory of me, do you?
Now go and unplug.