I’m about to admit something publicly that I’m super ashamed of. The other night I was home with the kids after work. It was just me, doing the power hour shuffle, while my husband worked late. I knew there were some pressing things going on in the office, and once the kids were in bed, I’d be hopping back online. After all, that’s a working mom’s balance, right?
So I heard my phone vibrate. Not a “you have a call” vibrate, but a “you’ve got mail” vibrate. To be honest, I usually prefer the “you have a call vibrate”. I guess it’s because we do so much more business communication through e-mail, that the phone calls are usually social.
I picked up my phone, without giving it a second thought. That’s the beauty of smart phones, right? You can stay connected 24/7 with great ease. My 2yo, who had been sitting on the floor playing play do with me, clearly and emphatically stated:
“Mama, put that down. You don’t need it. Play play do.”
Oh boy, talk about mom guilt. For months, I’ve carried that phone around with me between 6 and 7:30 – between the time we get home and the time she goes to bed. I sneak glances at it when they aren’t looking, when I’m in the kitchen making chocolate milk, while they are in the bath. I call it multitasking. I’m proud of my ability to spend time with both the kids and work at the same exact time, without any negative implications on my quality time with the kids. I thought they didn’t even notice. I was SO wrong.
Really, who are we fooling? As I hear some of my mom friends say they want a smart phone so as not to miss play dates on the weekend (yes, we have a habit of e-mailing one another on a Saturday morning for meet-ups), I want to yell “NO, don’t do it! We’ll get off our lazy butts and call you!”
But really, the smart phone isn’t the issue. It’s the enabler. The enabler of bad habits, of a workaholic, of someone who can’t disconnect. That’s really the issue. If there were a 12 step program for this, I’d be in it.
I see it all the time, and I have been guilty of it myself. Texting and checking Facebook while my kids happily play on the playground. Talking on the phone as I navigate a shopping cart with my kids in it through the store. And who can forget the moms and teens who have been in accidents while texting/checking e-mails in the car. Thankfully I do have some boundaries.
Regardless, I have to stop and think. Am I really that important? If I don’t check e-mail for 1 hour and 15 minutes a day is anyone going to even notice? I mean, really. I’m definitely not that important, and I’m connected more than enough to fulfill my professional role.
If the first step is admitting you have a problem, then I’m on my way. How connected are you? If the answer is too much, join me on this journey. I promise, we’ll all be better off for it in the end.