Friday, June 20, 2014

#watchyourchildren

There's been much in the media lately about putting down technology for the sake of your children. I heartily agree and, like many, I heartily struggle with it.

A few months ago, I came to the conclusion that I didn't want my baby to see me on my phone all the time. This was quite a challenge, given how frequent a baby needs nursing and how desperate a new mom seeks outlets and news from the "outside." I read via an e-book app. I checked social media. I bought things. I pinned. I blogged. I texted. And when baby was playing and smiling, I snapped photos and videos. I checked the time.

Since then, if she is nursing and awake, I try to be technology-free. I talk to her, rub her head or her back, kiss her hands, cut her nails. It gets boring. I twitch for lack of hashtags or buzz lists. I've become a junkie. I hate that. But, I'm trying to relish this short lived time that my daughter and I have together and have been keeping the phone out of arms reach while nursing.

This still leaves many hours when I want to check my phone. And I still do it. But I've been working on leaving it behind. And I have gotten better at not checking my email, Facebook, and texting all the time. But then I realized I still frequently logged screen time just by checking the hour on my phone. (How long until the sweet relief of my husband's return from work? When was the last time she napped? Has the mail come yet?)

So what to do? Time is a metric that moms need - for a busy schedule, for tracking their new baby's naps and feeds. The thing that seems obvious, but took a while to figure out, is to go old school. A watch. A clock you wear. On your arm. With which to check the time.

Having none of these nearly obsolete items anymore, I purchased one in minutes (via a phone app: palm/head/smack.) But now I feel a little more elegant (somehow a watch, like a piece of jewelry, elevates the ubiquitous mom uniform of yoga pants and nursing tanks (only slightly.) More importantly, it allows me to be able to leave the darn phone behind so I can be part of my daughter's life, not just document it.

I want to watch my child as she rolls over. I want to watch her walk. Her soccer games. Her dance. In fact, I may want to dance with her. I want to watch her as she smiles. At me. I want to be present in her life. I don't want her to think that a phone or tablet or screen is in any way more valuable than her sweet little life.

So join me! Do what I did and put on a watch and #watchyourchildren!
(Why yes, I just hastagged that directive. I'm not eschewing the modern age altogether!)