It’s a gorgeous August evening. The peepers are peeping, the moon has just popped out, and my 3-and-half-year-old son and I are enjoying one of our favorite summer traditions: porch popsicles. A pretty perfect night for us. Suddenly I hear it: “Mommy, put your phone away.”
He caught me checking my Twitter feed when we were supposed to be having fun. This isn’t the first time either. I think I’m addicted to my phone.
I fully admit my phone has gotten in the way of quality time with the kiddo. It started because of my job. Like so many people, my job requires me to be available a lot of the time. When you work in media and public relations, that’s just the way it goes. I will answer an email, a text, or a phone call even on my “off” hours. But lately, it’s not about work. I find myself scrolling through social media and news sites while he’s playing with his toys. It’s sending three bad message that my phone is more interesting than my son.
1) He sees that I’m disconnected and distracted from him. There will be so many parenting moments where I’m distracted by something actually happening in real life, so why am I investing in this virtual distraction in my hand and not investing in the small, wonderful, loud, messy, goofy, brilliant human in front of me?
2) I’m being a hypocrite. We teach our kids, especially the little ones, to be patient. If they scream for something we want them to learn to wait and not have everything be instantaneous. Every time I check my phone, I’m teaching him it’s OK not to wait. It’s passing on the “do everything right now right when you think about it and don’t wait for it” behavior.
3) He needs me present. At this age, he looks at me to for reassurance and guidance. Literally. During any sort of activity he’s always looking over to make sure I’m watching him climb, jump, draw, build, be a kid. Quite frankly, I need me present too. This is the stuff I don’t want to miss. The stuff that goes too quickly that I want to remember. The stuff HE will want to have memories of when he’s older. Not “Sorry, James, I didn’t see you ride with your training wheels off because I was ‘liking’ this dog gif.”
These are just three reasons why I need to break my phone habit. There are so many more out there, but these are three that I focus on.
In a few weeks, we are going on vacation to stay with my family in Connecticut. It’s a good opportunity to put the phone down and just enjoy our last bit of summer fun, and some distraction-free porch popsicles.
Here’s to breaking up with my phone addiction.