To the parent with your face in the phone…
“Oh, Hi, that’s me….this is awkward.
I guess it’s time that you and I had an honest one-on-one where I break it down for you. You are not present. You are not living in the moment. It’s time that you start doing a better job of that.
I completely get it. You are trying to work from home and have some semblance of a social life and a job/career. It is not easy. It is a struggle and it is a juggle. So, take some advice from someone who knows this struggle all too well. If you don’t stop now, your kids, when they become teenagers, will have their nose in their phone, just like you. What’s even more scary, is that it might even happen before then. Frightening.
But…why should they do it any differently–it’s all they’ve ever seen you do.”
Ugh. What a gut-wrenching punch to the stomach that was. But, also a much needed and welcomed dose of truth.
The challenge for so many, myself included, is knowing when, where and why to unplug. It makes it even harder to unplug when your work involves a social media or general digital component. But, there has to be a line drawn, because if one is not, then your children and your family will suffer. Here are a few tips on finding that harmony between being plugged-in for good reason and unplugging so that you can be present and aware.
— Plan your plugged in time. Allocate a certain amount of hours each day to be “plugged-in”.
— Keep email checks brief. Only check occasionally and when absolutely necessary.
— Keep social media checks (unless work-related) to a minimum. Checking in to see if “Jane” is at work or at home, based on her status update, can wait.
— If you are going to be plugged in while you are with your children, share with them what you are reading or looking at (when appropriate). Kids are curious and they want to know what is so important to you that it cannot wait.
— Leave your phone in your bag or in the car when the setting allows.
Meaningful conversation and active listening is becoming less commonplace. So many of us are more tuned in to our virtual life then our real-life. I want my kids to know that their mother treasures her time with them. I don’t want my kids thinking of me as the lady who was always on her phone.
Let’s all combat the epidemic of constantly being on our smartphones and take the advice of Dr. Seuss (because who is wiser, right?) who stated that “today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered”. I don’t want my cellphone pictured in that memory of me–do you?
Now go and unplug.