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How To Miss A Childhood

First let me start by saying how EXCITED I am to be here!! My name is Jessica Williams and I am a mother of two and a full time business owner for Session Nine Photographers. You might have seen me photographing each of the Mom’s Night Outs each quarter (sign up for the next one!!). I’ve guest posted on Scottsdale Moms Blog before, but to actually be a part of the team of contributors is a true honor.  All the ladies who post here are phenomenal women with so much to share and I am beyond excited to have a regular spot here among them.

I wanted to just jump right in and share something that has been on my heart for a couple of months AND talk about something that I struggle with parting with daily as a working mamma. I’m sure that a lot of you can relate… MY CELL PHONE. Sound lame? Let me ask this- Is anyone else addicted to their iPhone? Does your ENTIRE LIFE exist in it? Do you rely on it A LOT? I do. If my computer exploded, aside from editing photos, I could do the VAST MAJORITY of my work from my phone. That’s pretty neat, if you ask me. That we live in a time and place in history that we are able to enjoy little gadgets like that. And that they enrich our lives as much as they do and help us to be productive.

But lately, Jason (my husband) and I have been having a heated conversation about whether or not it’s super healthy to be on our phones as much as we are. I say ‘heated’ because it causes me to get a little defensive for some reason (red flag #1). It’s been a good, healthy debate- don’t get me wrong. Weighing the pros and cons of how much we actually use our phones, how often we should be on them, and what it takes away from socially sometimes.

And what it’s taking away from our kids. Yikes.

He shared a blog post with me that I’m going to link to here today. You may or may not have read it. But holy moly, it is eye opening. It made me wonder exactly how much am I missing in my kids lives, just because I am on my phone. It reaffirmed the conversations that Jason and I have had about how you can be in the room, but not really there. Not listening. Not connecting. Because there is an entire world on the internet that is always distracting me, pulling me in another direction, and vying for my attention. All while two little boys of mine are vying for my attention too. And they don’t know anything about the world wide web.

And nor do they care.

They are going to grow up before my eyes. And I am going to miss it if I am always on my phone. I am going to regret it if all I do is pin stuff, Instagram stuff, and ‘Like’ every status known to man. But I WON’T regret being there for them. I WON’T regret watching them grow up. The internet is always going to be there in some form. But my small, little boys won’t always be. I don’t want them to remember their mom with a phone always in her hands. I want them to remember me as a mom who played with them. Who was silly with them. One who tickled them and made them laugh until they couldn’t laugh anymore. I don’t want them to think I was too busy ‘working’ that I couldn’t build legos with them. So here’s a few questions that I’ve pulled from that post that I ask myself almost daily to make sure that I am not missing their childhood because of my phone. I challenge you to ask yourself the same questions:

DO YOU….

-Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day, allowing the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child mid sentence?

-Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand- treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device?

-Decide that the app your playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids? Even better, do you yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game?

-Check your phone first thing in the morning, even before you kiss, hug or greet the people in your family?

-Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity?

-Not look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an ‘uh huh’ so she thinks you were listening?

-Lose your temper with your child when he ‘bothers’ you while you’re interacting with your hand-held electronic device?

-Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact that you could be talking to your kids about their day- or about their worries, their fears or dreams?

-Read email and text messages at stoplights. And then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember that you did this all the time?

Conclusion I came to for myself?

I need to put my phone down more often during the day. I’m not saying that being on the phone during the middle of the day or when your kids are awake is a bad thing. BUT, I am suggesting that you read this full blog post and figure out what this might mean for your own life with your own kids. There’s a lot of things I HAVE to do during the day through my phone because of the nature of my job and because I have toddlers. I work a lot and at very random times during the day. But is it out of control? Am I too busy on my phone to actually SEE my kids? Am I missing huge parts of their childhood, even though I’m a stay at home mom? That’s what I’m sorting through right now.

Read the blog post HERE. And then make your own conclusions. I hope this inspires you to remember that our kiddos SEE everything that we are doing. They are watching us. And they want ALL of us and deserve that more than anyone. I have grown consciously more aware of the time I am taking away from them while I am on my phone. And I try to be as present and in the moment with them as I can. I encourage you to do the same!  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*Photos taken by Mike Olbinski Photography.

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10 Responses to How To Miss A Childhood

  1. Steph October 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Eek!!! This post totally hit home with me Jess! Thanks for hitting me over the head (and for joining the SMB Contributor team)!

  2. Jessica October 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Aw you bet Steph!! Thanks for reading AND for being such an encouragement in my life! xo

  3. Ashleigh October 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    I read the original blog post awhile ago and this is a good reminder of the goals I set before. I have slid back into my old habits and will work on this as soon as little one wakes up. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Heather T October 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I remember reading the original post the first time. I felt totally conflicted — a sign I needed to reevaluate my phone (and computer) habits. I honestly can never be reminded enough. I want to prioritize my attention on the ones that matter to me the most.

  5. marisa October 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    i don’t have a smartphone and honestly, i’m glad. not that there is anything wrong with having one, of course. i know they are super useful – and as a photographer i wish i could use instagram! 🙂 but for me, eliminating the temptation altogether is simply easier than trying to have enough willpower to avoid getting on my phone all the time. it’s sort of like why i don’t keep junk food in the house – i make better decisions when i don’t have the cheetos beckoning from the cupboard.

    not to mention, i have been to WAY too many dinners/family functions/meetings where someone is constantly on their phone + not really engaged with the people around them. it bums me out and i certainly don’t want my kids growing up feeling like they have to compete with my phone (or laptop, or television, etc, etc.)

    i’m really glad you posted this because i think it is so important for all of us to think about. what are we missing when we are always in front of a screen?

  6. Tracy Nadler October 3, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Great article! This is something I think about often as I
    try to curtail my “phone” use. It is so important to truly
    connect with our kids and loved ones in the present moment – thank you for the awesome post!

  7. Cate October 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    . . . . . .and then I found myself asking, “what else do I justify?”

  8. sarah farnsworth October 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    thanks for the transparency and ‘wake up call’ for all of us! i have read that before, yet my days don’t look like i desire them to…..thanks for the reminder for all of us. great to have you guest posting for SMB!

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