Making changes for the sake of my kids

1-IMG_7310 I've read a few blog posts recently about how we, as a society, have become so wrapped up in our handheld technology that we have been neglecting our relationships with our kids. My cousin even went so far as to get rid of her smartphone after realizing she didn't want to miss out on one bit of her daughter's childhood by falling into the habit of "staying connected".

As I read "How to Miss a Childhood," I found myself nodding here and there, but mostly thinking that getting rid of my Windows phone (I am pretty much the only person I know without an iphone) was something I could never do, simply because I mostly use it to take pictures and video clips of the kids, not to play games or surf Facebook while pushing my child on the swings at the playground, as the author described. And yet, as I read a similar post by a different blogger, it started to hit me.

In "Dear Mom On The iPhone," a mother of four wrote about how if we are not careful, our kids will remember us as having been more connected to our smartphones and ipads than we were to them as they grew up.

That is NOT how I want my children to remember their childhood.

She went on to describe in detail how important she feels it is for us as parents to always, and I mean always, give our kids their full attention. Even if that means listening to your 5-year-old daughter tell the same silly joke five times in a row. Because kids remember.

I felt empowered after reading these posts. Not that I was about to toss my smartphone out the window. Please. If I did that I would never be able to drive anywhere other a three-mile radius from our house, I use it's GPS that much, really. But I was ready to make some much needed changes to the way I utilize technology in our household. Yesterday afternoon I tried it, with limited success. You see, I also recently discovered the Vine app and it's slightly addicting, as you'll notice by my Twitter feed. But I guess that is the root of this story now, isn't it? I digress.

On Sunday afternoon, I made sure to look my Little Man in the eyes, each and every time he said, "Mommy! Mommy, I want to tell you something." I snuggled with my Baby Girl and we sung the ABC's at least fifteen times. I played games with them and helped my Sweet Pea work on her color identification. These are simple things that I used to do with my son all the time when he was little, back when we didn't own smartphones, an ipad, and an ipad mini.

I truly listened to my kids and I heard their voices in a way I hadn't in a long time. I noticed how Baby Girl skips the "H" in her ABC's and how she perfectly and emphatically pronounces the "X" the same way her big brother did when he was her age. I felt her smooth, soft baby skin and noticed, when she decided to strip down to her diaper, that she's starting to lose some of her adorable baby rolls. Her pudge is being replaced by a more slender version of herself. And her brother. His imagination is running wild in all sorts of directions and his stories of what his monster trucks and firemen are up to are just fascinating. I never tire from seeing how his eyes light up when he tells a story. His eyelashes practically touch his forehead, they are that long.

I noticed such an impact, such big differences in just one day of slight changes in my behaviors. From now on I'm going to do my best to make even more of these important changes. Slowly, I think. Because I've never really been a cold turkey kind of gal.

I'm not going to turn on my laptop/ipad/phone first thing in the morning. Instead, I'm going to kiss and hug each member of my family before engaging with an electronic device. Because my family deserves that kind of respect. I'm only going to log onto Twitter/Facebook/blogs/email in the evening after the kids are in bed or during nap time. My friends and family know how to reach me in an emergency, and if something is urgent, then a person can call me rather than email me. Email can wait. I will no longer make calls while driving, hands-free earpiece or not, unless it is an emergency. This is precious time that I can spend talking to my kids about their day, having conversations. And I'll do my best to pull out my DSLR to take pictures of my family instead of clicking snapshots of them with my phone.

On Saturday while the kids were at swim lessons, out of annoyance from all the other parents who were on their phones while their kids swam fifteen feet in front of them, I refrained from taking out my phone to take videos of my kids. Instead, I waved excitedly at my two little fish and beamed with pride as my son did his best few freestyle strokes yet, complete with a strong kick. I may have missed that moment had I been checking out my Facebook news feed like so many of the other parents.

I share this with you not because I am planning on becoming a model parent when it comes to limiting technology in the home. Lord knows I still have a great deal of work to do in this arena. I share because my eyes were opened by what two other women had written. And maybe you haven't read their posts, but you are reading mine. And maybe this may help you make some changes that will allow you to capture so many more memories of your kids as they grow.

I know I grabbed a ton this weekend that I'll hold in my heart forever now.

Which is much, much more important than time spent on any so-called smart technological device, don't you think?

{Just in case you are wondering, I wrote this post last night in my journal, after the kids were in bed, hubby snoring happily beside me while I wrote. I edited and am posting it this morning from the guestroom office, while my Mother-in-law is spending time with the kids downstairs.}