Stepping Away for the Sake of the Kids

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I love how my iPhone keeps me connected: my husband and I exchange silly banter and updates on our day through text messages; I can search for recipe ideas to inspire my dinner plans for the evening; I can answer my email even when I’m away from my computer; I can connect with people to share a joke, a photo, an opinion when I log into my social networks. My iPhone enables me to create balance between work and home, giving me the chance to spend time with my kids while still meeting work obligations.

See? It connects me to everything, everything but my kids. connecting_with_kids

Connecting with Your Kids

The convenience of having a mini computer right in my breast pocket has started to interfere with my life; fooling me into believing I’ve achieved balance. There’s a difference between walking my kids to school to ensure they arrive from point A to point B safely and on time, and spending time with my kids as we walk to school together. Can you guess which group I’m in?

Spending the whole walk with my fingers tapping words on my iPhone, my eyes focused on a little screen, is not what I envisioned as quality time with my kids. My kids don’t either. They’re not content with mom just walking them to school, like a robot on automatic pilot, and who can blame them.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t leave the house with the kids intending on doing all my office work en-route to school. It starts off by innocently checking my email, which leads to another email and a text and a tweet. Next thing I know, we’re at school and the kids are heading in.

My youngest suffers most I think. She loves to play imaginary games and is quite content to play them on her own when we walk home, almost giving me permission or justifying my palm-sized screen time. Looks can be deceiving. On those occasions when I do interact and play her games on our walk home, she laughs more and louder, does less whining about the weather and seems to enjoy our time together more. I guess that’s the difference; it’s actually time together, connecting, not just walking side by side.

Technology is a great tool and it does give me more freedom. But if I’m not taking advantage of that freedom, not living in the moment, what’s the point? So things are going to change. I am no longer taking my phone with me when I walk the kids to school or pick them up after school. I will have no need to check email or send a text or tweet since I won’t have the tool. I can only focus on my kids, talking about their day, sharing silly knock-knock jokes, or even just walking together silently. But we’ll actually be together.

No email or call or message is so important that it can’t wait forty-five minutes. They’ll still be there when I get home. Sooner than I want, my kids will desire doing things with others instead of hangout with me. I want to enjoy these moments now, remembering why I left agency life to spend time at home. So goodbye phone, hello silly animals games and school yard stories. It’s been a long time coming but I’m glad I’m back.

Off to get the kids.

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