Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hands Free Mama

Do you always know where your phone is? Do you get notifications for everything and often find yourself 'just quickly' checking something on a phone or a laptop? I do. I'm ashamed to say it but I do.

I came across as website the other evening called Hands Free Mama and it made me cry.

This part especially got to me (extract taken from Hands Free Mama)

How to Miss a Childhood
*Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority.
*Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand—treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
*Decide the app you’re playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
*Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
*While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
*Go to your child’s sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won’t notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
*Check your phone first thing in the morning … even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
*Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
*Don’t look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an “uh huh” so she thinks you were listening.
*Lose your temper with your child when he “bothers” you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
*Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can’t she see you’re busy?
*Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day—or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
*Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember you did this all the time.
*Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Follow this recipe and you will have:
• Missed opportunities for human connection
• Fewer chances to create beautiful memories
• Lack of connection to the people most precious to you
• Inability to really know your children and them unable to know you
• Overwhelming regret
If you find this recipe difficult to read—if you find that you have tears in your eyes, I thank you, and your child thanks you.

Does that hit a chord with you? I think that living in such a technically-minded world can be hard because we are surrounded by distractions. I also feel like the internet and my phone are my link to the world, they make me feel less alone when days feel very samey.

But that doesn't excuse the fact that I am doing this to my children. Since reading that blog I have decided to change my ways.

My first step? I have set my mobile so that it no longer beeps or flashes at emails or facebook notifications. This is stopping me noticing a beep or light and picking up my phone and then getting distracted by it. I'm limiting the time I have my laptop open and am trying to do it ONLY when the girls are asleep or out somewhere or if I have to use it for a proper purpose (grocery shopping, printing something for the girls etc). It's hard. I am also allowing myself 10 minutes a morning of laptop time, for that 10 minutes when I'm not really awake, when I've got my cup of tea and the girls are watching a little bit of tv.

I get the irony of blogging about being hands free but I only tend to blog when the children are asleep :D

I am currently on holiday - I have set this post to appear magically while I'm away (let's hope it does). On holiday I'll have no laptop (only my mobile) and no wi-fi. So hopefully that will help me adapt. I will be using facebook as the family like to see pictures of the girls but I'll try and only use it when the girls really don't need me. They are my life. They deserve my full attention. They will only be little for a little while and I intend to make the most of it from now on.

I'm adding the logo to my blog. If you want to add it too then you can find it - and the code for it on the Hands Free Mama blog.

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