Friday, March 28, 2014

My Pledge To My Children

I was laying in bed last night with a horrendous headache, nauseous and unable to sleep. I was thinking about everything from bills that are due, to my anxiety that has been acting up, to how I really need a hair cut. Somewhere along the line I started thinking about the kids and how, as much as I hate to admit it, I have somewhat pushed them aside for my blog and various different social media outlets that I use to try and promote my blog.

I started thinking about how, when they were younger and the online world wasn't quite as easily accessible as it is now, I used to actually spend time with them. I'm talking about quality time. Not just being in the same room as them. I used to get down on the floor with them and play with cars, baby dolls, blocks. We used to fry plastic eggs in the pretend kitchen, sit at the dining room table and color and draw. I wasn't picking up my phone every two minutes to see how many likes a picture I just posted had, or who had commented on my latest blog post.

More and more I am being reminded of how fast the children grow. How all of a sudden they will be teenagers, too cool to hang out with me. Then they'll be off to college, getting married and having babies of their own. I don't want to look back on these days and regret not having my priorities in line. I don't want to look back and wish hat I had just taken the time to play Barbies with them or build Legos.

We are surrounded by electronics. Everywhere we turn, there they are - smartphones, tablets, Kindles, laptops, TV's, PC's. All the social media outlets are there as well - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. We are constantly "turned on", literally and metaphorically. I know that there are a lot of benefits and positives to having all of this at our fingertips, but I think there is a fine line between the good of them and overuse of them.

Everywhere I go there are expressionless kids staring at their DS games. Families out to dinner where each and every one of them is on their phone; texting, checking Facebook, searching the web. Sure, technically they are out to dinner together, but they aren't really together. I know that some children, who are uncomfortable in social settings, benefit from being able to divert their attention onto something other than their environment, and that is fine. But I have a hard time believing the entire family needs it.

Why has it become so difficult to spend time with the ones we love without having some sort of device plugged in? I am the most guilty of this in my family. I'm great at limiting the time I allow my children to play on their tablets, or how much TV they can watch. I have a serious case of "do as I say, not as I do" going on.

I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be the mom who, when the kids look back at their childhood, was never really there. I don't want to be the one who was distracted all the time. I want to be the one that their friends were envious of because of how present I was. I want my children to know that they were number one in my eyes.

I am making a pledge, today, March 28, 2014, that my children will once again be my priority. When we play Monopoly I will be 100% there, in the moment, playing the game. When they want me to look at their latest Lincoln Log creation I will be there, without brushing them aside for 15 minutes to finish my latest post, or scroll through my news feed 5 more times. I will watch them riding their bikes and scooters. I will help them with the painting they are working on. I won't huff and puff when they need help with their homework.

I am not saying that I won't write anymore, or post online when they are around, but I am going to focus on doing that when they are at school or in bed. I will put down my phone, turn off my laptop and not worry about how many people my Facebook page is reaching. The only people I should be worried about reaching is my children.

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