Enjoy Every Moment (In Defense Of Screen Time Part 1)

 

My cell phone is broken. It broke on my birthday over a month ago and at the time it was a tragedy. I’ve healed and mostly moved on since the loss, but sometimes I still miss it. Yes, I’m still talking about my phone. Like a lot of mothers, and people in general, I have become attached to my phone because it gives me access to the things I enjoy, my friends, books, Netflix, Words With friends, and my favorite feature, the camera. My phone had thousands of pictures, and yes, I had them backed up. I love taking pictures of my kids and my world.

 

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Remember that book Penny had on Inspector Gadget? I always wanted one of my own.

Cell phones get a bad rap, especially parents with cell phones, or parents that let their kids have cell phones, or parents that let their kids look at any kind of screen, or parents in general. If you are a parent everything you are doing is probably wrong, especially if what you are doing is reading this blog on your cell phone. Look up, see, that lady is judging you.

I read a post on Facebook the other day about a mother that observed her toddler at play. She made a note of how many times he looked up at her and the tally was 18 in however many minutes and she posed the question, “what if I had been on my cell phone?” She would have missed her toddler looking up! Eighteen precious looks!

I wish I could find the post again because I have so much to ask her. What if her toddler had looked up and witnessed her reading a book? What if her toddler looked up and saw her chatting with a friend? What if her toddler looked up and saw her taking his picture? What if her toddler looked up and saw her helping a friend with a parenting dilemma? What if her toddler looked up and she was *gasp* in the bathroom?

I wouldn’t really ask her any of that because I’m not trying to give anyone a hard time. She was making a valid point. Some parents probably do spend too much time on their phones. I’m not going to give them a hard time either. Parenting is hard enough without me sticking my nose in their business. You can’t tell by looking at a parent on their phone if they are on it too much. Even if you witness them missing a moment they might have enjoyed that does not mean they miss every moment. They might have missed that same moment because they were tying their shoe. We can’t possibly observe every precious moment with our children and trying might be worse for the soul than your cell phone. It’s stressful trying to “enjoy every moment” because we all hear all too often “they grow up fast.”

It does go fast, and you will miss it, I can’t deny that. My daughters are old enough for me to realize that the cliches are true. That does not mean you shouldn’t enjoy a book or a chat with your friend or play Candy Crush Saga. You do not need to witness every time your child looks up at you and your child should sometimes witness you doing more than staring back.  It’s good for your child to see that you have hobbies and interests and friends. It’s okay for your child to wait a moment while you finish what you are doing. If you were speaking on the telephone you would not hesitate to make them wait their turn to speak. If you were reading a paperback you would probably finish the sentence, or even the chapter, before responding, depending on the age and urgency of the child.

This is a new generation of parenting. We are still figuring out how technology fits into every aspect of our lives. We chat with our friends by text and read books on digital devices, and that’s okay. It’s okay to accept the progress and make it work for you. Read, chat, play, live. Enjoy every moment of your life.

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It’s all in how you look at it.

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In loving memory of my phone.

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Every Year Is A Revolution

My community lost many good people this year. Some suddenly, without warning, and others slowly, gracefully, giving us time to rally and support them and their families. We also didn’t lose people we thought we might, and that is always a miracle. I wanted to write a blog about that and more to end the year. I wanted to say something profound, something wise. I wanted to end my fortieth year with something more than a messy house, the sounds of two little boys playing with a Star Wars science kit, and Firefly on Netflix.

Really, what more is there?

(Side note: Wow, we are geeks.)

This is everything. It makes me happy to know my friends are getting ready for a night out with music and chaos and the people they love. I’m content hanging with the boys, knowing the girls are at work with my boyfriend, at the business he bought this year, and they will all be home soon, at least for a minute.

Instead of something wise or profound I’ll leave you with my favorite Facebook comment from this year.

So fragile, and yet, they cut my head open, moved a bit of my brain, pulled a tumor off of a very tiny bundle of nerves (only damaging the single nerve that it was attached to!) and stapled me back together, all in the course of one day. Ten days ago. And today I went on a hike. Up a hill. It’s kind of amazing. My recovery has not been exactly typical, I admit. They were able to retain my hearing and leave other important nerves intact, and don’t let the hiking fool anyone, I’m still a hot mess, but… I spent the day with my kids.
Fragile, but amazing. All of us.

See ya in 2016.

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