MomsPumpHere is a technology based company providing information on nursing locations for moms to breast pump and breastfeed. It's a service for moms to use on the go or when planning your day. However, there are lots of moms that struggle with the use of technology and the balance needed to raise their children. When is it important to draw the line?
This topic is tough for me. I push my older sons to not use electronics during the week because we are so busy with homework, dinner, activities, and sports that "playing" on an Ipad, laptop or Leapster seems to distract them from what we need to focus on but I work from home and need to send emails and messages to my customers and contacts while I'm home with the kids. This is forcing me to ask the question - who gets more of my attention?
I feel very fortunate to work from home. I can work before the boys wake up, send emails and file reports before breakfast is served - and then I can help get them off to school and do a playdate with my younger son. I get more work done during his nap, and then I work again when everyone goes to sleep. Also, I have a sitter who comes a few days a week so I can focus on more of my work while the kids are home and need more attention than I can give them.
The arrangement seemed like a dream come true because my smartphone kept me connected to my customers but I was physically with my children, which I feel is most important. I only "worked" two days a week but the other days I was tracking shipments to Europe when my kids were sledding during a snowstorm, I could update my FB status while waiting for soccer practice to finish, and I could order raw materials for a project while I was at the pediatrician's office. I might look like I'm on the phone but I'm not playing Candy Crush - I was working and getting things done.
This thought changed one afternoon when I was reading in the nursery with my two-year-old. We were on the umpteenth book before naptime around 1pm, I had a conference call scheduled for 1:15 and I had a lot to do in between. I was trying to send a text to the customer asking for the time to be moved - and needed to use my phone. My son took my phone from my hand and shoved it down the cushions of the cozy, coveted rocking chair we were sitting in. I tried to say, I need to send a message and he touched my cheek with his two small hands and said, "We need to read and cuddle now."
He was right. My littlest baby wanted to read and cuddle with me but I was putting my cell phone conversations as a higher priority. I felt like a crappy mom and felt even worse that it was a two year old who was re-setting my thoughts on the topic. He's two years old - but his words were tremendous: "We need to read and cuddle now."
I teared up, spent another 30 minutes reading and cuddling. I missed the conference call, but my customer call could wait. My two year old will not always want to read and cuddle with me and soon he will be thinking that his own phone, tablet, TV, or screen is more important than his Mommy - but right then I learned a lesson about what my priorities should be.
Technology does keep us connected, though. So many moms are thankful for smartphones to keep them connected during the often-lonely and isolating first weeks of motherhood when your routine involves meeting the demands of a newborn and Facebook alone can connect us to other women who are going through very similar experiences. We need this support and encouragement from fellow women - but we need to consider the cost we are paying for it.
My children will continue to come first and I appreciate the stark reminder from my two-year old that he needs to be put higher on the list than the text messages coming from my customers. I am thankful I can see it - and my phone will not miss me when I leave it in another room during storytime with my son. I hope I can confidently say that my children get more of my attention than my phone gets.
Here are some quick tips to help you
- Make "no phone zones" in your home. I now try to keep it in the kitchen or in the office so I'm not tempted to check just that one email before bathtime or look up a new ingredient while I'm waiting for someone to brush their teeth.
- Limit the screen time - allow yourself to play Candy Crush while you're waiting in line for pickup afterschool or when the kids are at dance class. Just be sure to turn it off when your limit is up.
- Use the "Do Not Disturb" feature. If you're expecting an important message, keeping the phone on all the time can be very tempting but you deserve rest and relaxation. Let your phone go to sleep so that you can get some ZZZZs.