Time magazine reports that the average person looks at their phone 46 times a day. According to Digital Trends, that’s equivalent to a third of your day on your phone, or 4.7 hours.*
That’s a lot, and it’s hard to believe.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent, you are busy. And let’s be honest, you’re working either way. I’ve been in both positions and neither is easy—the to-do lists are endless, and keeping up with schedules, grocery lists, and laundry requires a lot of strategic thinking. You’re the CFO, COO and probably the CEO of the household, along with your job or other responsibilities.
I know you mama’s get me: I toggle between work, family, and “me time.” (The latter was not possible until recently). My mind doesn’t rest because I’m always thinking, “what’s next?”
It’s difficult to be “here and now.”
So in January, I vowed to be more present. Each day an alarm goes off in my phone (add another 10 seconds to the total time spent on my phone).
It’s a message to remind myself to keep work at work, and not let any mama-drama get in the way of what’s most important: these guys.
In yoga, they ask us to stay rooted in the now, and at the end of class, we let go of anything that’s keeping us from being our highest and very best self. Also known as Shavasana, laying on our mats gives us a chance to relax. Even the deepest muscles can let go, if only for a few minutes. The thought seems simple, but quieting the mind is more challenging than any pose. I continue, trying to root myself in the present, and take that into my every day practice—of being a parent.
Here’s what helps me:
1. Ditch the phone, iPad, and laptop.
Don’t look at it unless it’s absolutely necessary. The texts can wait, your emails should not be life or death, and your social media will always be there.
I know it’s not always possible, depending on your job and responsibilities, but the Corn King and I make an effort to stay “unplugged” certain times of the day.
I have to relay this message to A1 & A2 as well, who are addicted to YouTube Kids.
A few months ago we implemented a no phone or iPad rule at the dinner island. Instead, we use that time to talk about our “favorite part of the day.” Before you roll your eyes, let me paint a real picture: We’re busy, so we don’t always eat together. And when we do, our “family dinner” usually lasts about 15 minutes- maybe 20-before one of the A’s want to jump ship. We’re working on it 😉
2. Stop feeling guilty.
I struggle with this one. The mom guilt never ends and the second guessing is a voice that haunts me. Austin’s Mom Blog did a great job describing this, and I know we all go through it. But guess what, YOU’RE DOING GREAT, MAMA (and Dad’s too)! Trust your gut, because you know what’s best for your child, and yourself.
3. Rely on your partner.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a partner, let them help you.
Sheryl Sandberg speaks to working mama’s in Lean In (read it, if you haven’t), when she asks women to stop being “maternal gatekeepers” and insist: 1) their partners do more parenting and housework, and 2) we stop trying to control the way it’s done.
More importantly, she addresses that myth of “doing it all.” Every relationship is different, but I believe that parenting takes a village.
Let me be transparent: I wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of our nanny (a woman who loves our children as her own), Grandma (who spends time with them on Thursdays), and the Corn King:
I so appreciate his commitment to fatherhood, and his understanding of partnership in raising our kids, and keeping this house moving.
4. Let yourself be helped.
After you stop trying to do it all, and get over the mom guilt, allow yourself some perks. My friend, who I equate to super-mom, was debating on letting the teenage boys next door help with some yard work. “Is it lazy of me?” she wondered.
NO, hire them! It’s saving time that can be used to be present with your kids, or yourself.
Services like Runchkins helps me gain back time by providing perfectly paired outfits for my kids. They make sure the A’s are always comfortable, and in style.
This month, A2 wore this awesome deux par deux shirt multiple times:
Blowing bubbles at his friend’s house.
At Auntie Beth’s birthday brunch, paired with a denim vest.
And of course, looking fly on the farm 😉
So give yourself a break, and treat your kids, and yourself.
For the record, I downloaded the Moments app to keep track of my daily phone usage. On an average Sunday last month, I picked up my phone 42 times, and spent over 3 hours on it!
So, I’m going to sign off now…and be present.
*Time, 2015, http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/
and Digital Trends, 2015, http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/informate-report-social-media-smartphone-use/