My name is Brianne, and I am a social media addict.
Please feel free to add the token “Hi, Brianne” as I am about to tell you my sob story.
I can’t even tell you how much time I waste doing absolutely nothing on my iPhone or laptop, and it almost feels shameful to admit. After Baby K goes to bed at night, I rarely get anything accomplished despite my best intentions. Once Facebook has been logged in to, I get caught up in the meaningless conversations and click from page to page to page until it’s way past my bedtime and my eyes are wary with fatigue.
The first thing I do in the morning (well, after greeting a very excited baby and changing her diaper) is grab my phone and check my email. Something I repeat throughout the day as I feel this absolute pull to stay connected to everything that is happening in the cyber world.
I’m so scared about missing something important there, I fear that I am missing out on something far more precious.
What’s so important on there? Nothing, really. Sure, I stay connected with friends and arrange playdates via social media, but that would still happen if I was only to check in once a day. All the photo-creeping and link-following and comment-making I do is really not adding anything valuable to my life. It’s simply taking. It’s taking time, it’s taking energy and it’s taking away from the truly important things that are sitting right in front of my face.
Like my really awesome daughter.
Any other parents out there with me yet?
I’m talking about the need to be present in our own lives. It’s something I’m working on, and something that I think a lot of us should be considering.
Take a look around. While your kids plays with their toys on the floor, are you playing down there with them and feeding their little mind or are you tapping away mindlessly on your tablet with some daytime television blaring in the back? When you go to your kid’s hockey games, how many parents are actively watching and how many are playing on their phones?
We’re all so busy worrying about how to keep technology at an acceptable level for our kids that we seem to have lost track of how much is an acceptable level for us.
Instead, our kids are constantly competing for our attention. Their competition? Pinning crafts we’ll never do, playing Angry Birds and making sarcastic replies to other people’s thoughts.
When I sit down and think about it, all I can think about is how incredibly selfish it is.
We all bring our children in to the world wanting what is best for them. We rock them, feed them, sign them up for all the right activities, take them to doctors’ appointments, provide them with developmentally appropriate toys and activities, dress them for the weather, baby proof our homes and harness them in to car seats nine ways to Sunday.
But what is really best for them? What do they want more than anything?
They want our love. They want our attention. They want to know that they are the most important thing in our lives.
Our technology is getting in the way of that.
I’m realizing this more and more as Baby K is getting older. It’s something I’ve always tried to be mindful of, but it’s so hard when my phone is pinging away with all the days’ activity. Now that she’s mobile, she will happily crawl over and bat it out of my hand if I’m trying to check my email when she’s trying to engage me.
It’s her very own pinging noise.
I sat one night and watched as my husband played on his phone and Baby K played with a wooden puzzle on the floor. It was sad really; she would get a piece out and excitedly turn around to show him and her face would visibly fall when she saw he wasn’t watching.
When he turns his undivided attention to her (which is most of the time), she lights up. She tries new things. She laughs, she claps and she revels in it. You really can’t argue that this is what is best for a child.
Our attention is our love; they shouldn’t have to work or compete for it.
My phone now sits on silent and is only checked as she naps. My cable has been cancelled and my computer put out of her reach. I’m trying to enjoy moments instead of instantly reaching for the camera. I’m not making her compete anymore.
The reward? I’m better rested, less stressed and my kid is just getting smarter and more awesome while I soak up every second of her being little.
My time and attention is worth something more than a few “likes”.
Yours is, too.