Good morning dear ones! To begin this week, I’m going to hit you hard and cause you to really think. Are you ready? This is offered in love, I promise!
I sit writing this blog post while I wait at an appointment. Isn’t it amazing that I can simply add an app to my phone, type away and then publish in minutes? My, how far technology has brought us! Yet as amazing at it is to use and appreciate this technology, I see some downsides. Wouldn’t you agree that the constant “call” of technology can (and does) tend to pull us away from the people that matter the most?
Technology and the Single Parent
As single parents, whether it’s technology or anything else, we are forced by the circumstances of our lives to make many difficult and bold choices. First, we make our choices alone. That in and of itself is difficult enough. It gets even more difficult once we start making decisions that go against the “typical” social climate. We know when we make any out of the box decision, so to speak, we understand that this also requires a degree of intrepid boldness.
Beth Moore recently discussed the definition of audacity. Read this and think about what it means:
Notice part of the definition, “disregard of normal restraints”. What is normal to you? Normal might look like a two-parent, intact family. Normal might look like a 4-bedroom, 3 bath home in suburban America. Normal might look like the super in-shape, hip and “with it” mom that you secretly wish to be.
Notice how many times “normal” isn’t you at all?
The Audacity to be Abnormal
Normal is, sadly for many families, giving more attention to our phones than to our kids. Normal are parents who hand their phones to their kids for entertainment, not realizing that it is the PARENT the child wants, not the device! Ouch. I said it! This is a true statement and we all know it. Ask yourself if that statement holds true for your family. Ask your children, “Do you think that mom spends more time on my phone than I spend with you?” Or, “what do you think is important to me?” Remember, our children mimic our actions more than they do our words. Are you willing to ask these questions?
More than a poised Facebook photo, I want to hear the story of his win at the swim meet. More than playing on the iPad for another hour, I want to teach them how I make my mean lasagna. For me, (talking to myself here!) rather than spending time reading about someone else’s life, I want to live my own. I want to learn how to do this single mom thing well. I want my kids to see a mom that isn’t stuck on her phone, but instead being engaged in nightly dinner and bedtime conversations. Not only do I say I want to be present, but I will follow through and DO IT.
3 Tips to Transfer your Attention from Phone to Kids
- Create a schedule. Just like you schedule work meetings and doctors appointments, schedule your social media and internet time. Schedule the number of times you will engage each week and for how long
- Look at the remaining calendar year. Do you know what the remainder of your year looks like? What activities do you have planned with your family this year? By the way, running around like a chicken to various extracurricular activities does not count! Plan a couple of weekend excursions, even if the excursion is a trip in a kayak, to the park or even to your back yard for a cookout.
- Treat your mobile phone like a PHONE. The “smart” part of our phone is used a lot more these days than the phone itself! Be audacious enough to use your phone simply as a phone during family time. I do this by setting my phone on a ledge in our laundry room and leaving it in there until after my kids go to bed. Better yet, put the ringer on silent!
My hope is for all of us single parents to realize that though life is incredibly hectic and hard, it is also very short, and we only have so many days to make a lasting impression on the precious ones that have been entrusted to us.
Let us live our lives audaciously when it comes to how we decide to use technology. Perhaps us savvy singles can set an example for all parents. I promise your kids will thank you. ; )
What is the biggest thing you struggle with concerning technology and parenting?