Late last year there was a blog post titled Dear Mom on the iPhone doing the rounds and causing quite the stir and some of the responses Dear Mom Judging Me For My iPhone and Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine generated lots of passionate comment and discussions. At the time I was AMEN sistas, tell that to all those seemingly ‘perfect mums’ to quit judging THEN I saw this and it got me thinking. I don’t tend to make NYE resolutions but if I do I usually make them in March right after the first of our busy birthday clusters. Perhaps it is getting a year older that makes me so pensive. Retrospectively, I think the main reason I was so gung ho PRO about the response posts was that they justified my moments of weakness and lessened the guilt I felt reading the original. CONFESSION TIME: I know I am on my phone when I should be interacting with the kids. Please note that the use of the word should is directed at me (you can be your own judge, jury & critic). Because I want to be a ‘present parent’ morally I feel I shouldn’t be on my phone when it is ‘kids’ time. I totally support and ‘get’ that no one has the right to judge me nor do they know what is going on in my life and for that sentiment I continue to applaud these articles but personally I stand here before you and admit that when I am on my phone I feel like I am indeed ‘failing’ my kids. When I first read the posts it was much MUCH easier to nod along in agreement with these bloggers (and thousands of commenters and supporters) that I was working or that I had been watching the kids from sun up, than to admit that I was failing to be present in my children’s lives and enjoy my children’s childhoods…. I continually repeated to myself BUT I’M WORKING and that is important because through work I earn money and through money I am able to provide more for my family not to mention the fact that I enjoy my work (often to the detriment of family). So how do I propose to tackle the situation? What is my post birthday resolution? Well, as a professional organiser, dedicated planner and a list maker this ‘New Year’ I am carefully planning in SCHEDULED work times/hours and the goal is to stick to scheduled work time and family time with only the most urgent exceptions. The big challenge is not to let urgent requests become everyday excuses. So I might NOT be guilty of missing something of whale size significance but… imagine missing a first step or a ride without training wheels which to many parents are more memorable and valuable than any whale sighting. Even if you were present enough to see exactly who hit who to start the argument and being able to settle those little tiffs without fuss or bother. Many a day I would give my right arm not to have to referee another ‘he said, she said’ argument. Also as a mad mummy photographer (and obviously as a photo organiser) instead of huddling over the screen on my own I will be using the phone to capture those moments on the camera so that I can later on add those photos into an annual photo book. My kids adore looking through old photos in books or on screen and I love that the trip down memory lane with them gives me greater opportunities to get those great ‘do you know’ conversations started.
I love this idea from Liz at Click it Up A Notch – snapping the one object (like a favourite toy) each day of the month, I might schedule it in one month soon, something much better and inclusive to do with the phone.
Are you comfortable with how present you are in your children’s lives? What strategies have you put in place to deal with the demands on your time? Are you a planner person like me? Have a magical day Mara