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I May Need To Go Hands-Free...

*Disclaimer - this is not a funny post - just something I have been thinking about for a while!

I had a bit of a sombre moment this weekend. To be honest, it is something that has been brewing for about a year (I know, I am a slow learner!), something I thought about quite a bit while we were overseas this December, and something I keep MEANING to action, but never quite get around to doing. Because it is inconvenient. Because I don't REALLY want to do it. And because - like going to the gym and booking a dentist appointment, it's something that I always keep putting off until tomorrow.

And then I read something that brought it all together in one brilliant blog that hit me between the eyes - written by a mom who has not just THOUGHT about it, but has actually DONE it. And is reaping the rewards ... well, her children are.

The article that got me hooked was one entitled, "How to Miss a Childhood" - a recipe for ensuring that you are so connected with the outside world via phone calls, SMS, WhatsApp and emails, that you become so completely disconnected with what's going on right in front of you - be it your spouse, your children, your friends or co-workers. In a nutshell - it speaks about how we are all so desperate to remain 100% in touch with the world, that we are losing touch with the very people that ARE our world. Or should be.

And it hit home. It really hit home. 

Because I am OFTEN on my phone. 

I'd like to think that it's because I have children, and need to be 100% available in case of emergencies. But to be honest, that's only true SOME of the time. The rest of the time, it's because ... well, because I have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and I always like to be up-to-date on things.

I must also admit that the little flashing blue light drives me absolutely insane with curiosity and that I will quickly check my notifications to see who is trying to get in touch, and often end up "quickly" checking Facebook, replying to my messages or scrolling through my emails. Often while Stephen is chatting to me, Kayla is telling me a rather long story or Bella is trying to climb up my leg to grab my coffee cup. 

I'll check my phone when waiting at the robots. I'll catch up non Facebook while "watching" Kayla at her swimming lesson. I have even been known to check my phone when getting up with Isabella at night, because the little flashing blue light is driving me mad!

On the upside, I have made some big steps over the past year. My GFA (Good Friend Allison) once told me something that has stuck with me ever since (and was implemented the very next day, and each and every day ever since). She said that one of the best things I could do for Kayla would be to leave my phone in the car when I fetched her from school. Not ignore it, or put it on silent. But leave it in the car. And then greet Kayla as if she has been away for MONTHS - and let every part of me reflect how happy I am to see her - huge smile, big hug and excitement to hear about her day. It was honestly some of the best parenting advice I have ever received - and what a difference! Pick-up time is now one of my favorite parts of the day, and the trip home is filled with stories, details of hard moments during her day, exciting moments, things that made her laugh, and precious precious time with this little girl.

Sadly, it ends there. Because once home, my phone is pretty much attached to me - even when it is quiet. 

Please don't get me wrong - this is not a doom and gloom post, nor is it one of self-flagellation (I am WAY too marvelous for that!) I am just aware of something that doesn't so much need changing, as needs adjusting. The nature of my life and my work means that I need to be in touch with my team when I am not at the office, with our new Cape Town branch that has just opened, and with family and friends. I just feel (okay, I KNOW) that I need to spend less time on my phone when I am with my family. Even if they are busy with something else. My focus just HAS to be more on them and less on the not-so-urgent stuff on my phone.

I don't expect it will be easy but I'm going to give it a damn good try!


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