Dear Mom On The iPhone,

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.  It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?  You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.  She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair.  She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t.

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Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing.  She loves it!  Cooing and smiling with every push.  You don’t see her though, do you?  Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. 

Talk to her.  Tell her about the clouds, Mommy.  The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there.  I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy.  They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. 

Because they know…

  You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are.  They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.  

  May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

~T

Note from Tonya:

This blog post is written for me, too!  It could just as easily say Dear Mommy on the Computer, because I also struggle to find balance between needing a break, and knowing when its time to walk away from the computer to be Mommy again.
I try to limit it to nap time and after the children are in bed. I am just asking for us to be aware of how this media time can overflow into our face to face time with our family and those around us.

I will never forget when this all became clear to for me….

The children were in bed, the house was dark, and I was getting ready for bed, when I noticed a stack of books on the edge of my desk.  Books my 2 little ones had been asking me to read ALL DAY.  A stack of books that was set aside until Mommy could get her work done.  Work turned into research, turned into facebook, turned into answering emails, turned into……NOT READING AT ALL.
I went to bed defeated that night, hot tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow, as I cried out to God to help me do better. To help me put my eyes back on the people that need me the most, my family.

Was my stuff on the computer more important than my children?  Heavens no!  But my actions are always screaming louder than my words ever could.

What did my actions say to my kids that day?

 “My computer is more important than you today.  Go play!  I simply don’t have time for you.”

  Also, may I add, that the point of this post was NOT attachment parenting, or putting your child first and falling all over yourself trying to meet their every whim or need.  That is about as opposite as you can get from what I believe and how I raise my kids.

This is about looking up and around, enjoying life in the moment, not staring at a phone!  With your spouse, with a friend over lunch, a smile to a grocery check out worker…..look UP and leave the phone behind once in a while. It’s liberating.

More here and here:

Re: Dear Mom On The iPhone

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Phone Etiquette 101

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Just a Minute

  After talking about this in Sunday School twice, I just knew it was something important to share.  I think it’s something we all struggle with, if we are honest with ourselves……..

 How many times do we tell our children “Just a Minute,” but then never get to it? 

“Read me a book, Mommy!”  Just a minute.

“Can you hold me?”  Let me just transfer this load of laundry first.  (and make lunch and take a phone call and never get to it…..)

  What if our “Just A Minute” words (or our excuses) were replaced with the words:

“I don’t love you enough to stop what I am doing right now.” 

-Or-

“You are not more important than my _______.” 

                                     Fill in the blank: chores, facebook, cell phone, tv show.

  I know that is harsh and not at all the case, but have you ever seen those sagging shoulders and sad little faces as they turn and walk away? Don’t you think that despite what we are saying, that this may be what they are HEARING?!

  We can “just a minute” those kids right out the door, grown and gone before we know what happened.

  Do I always stop the second a child asks?  No.  Do I wish I could ?  Yes!!!!! 

  But, here is what I CAN do:

1)  Commit at least a half hour an hour a day to just sitting with them, holding them on my lap and reading them a book before nap.  Or rolling a ball back and forth between our legs.  Or laying on the floor together and coloring a picture. For us, morning time is best, or sometimes, between after school chores and supper prep.    Do I have a million things I COULD be doing during that time?! Of course. 

   Playing is hard for me, I am goal oriented and have a list of a million and one things I want to accomplish before the day is done.  But I will NOT go to bed feeling guilty anymore for lack of play time with my kids.  I am going to do better.  I want my kids to know they are loved, not just by my words, but by my actions as well!

2)  Stay off the computer when the kids are awake!!!! 

  This used to be my rule, but as I have started this blog, answering emails, writing new posts, and editing photos have become very time-consuming, I want to do better at balancing it all! 

My goal is to do as follows:

~Check morning email during TV time only. As soon as they are done, I am done.

  I have to come to my office to get on the computer, so it takes effort to come in here and check.  If you have email/facebook on your cell phone, set it down in another room when you are with your family, so that they have your FULL attention.  Mom’s FULL attention for 30 minutes is better than her half-hearted attention with wandering eyes looking at her cell phone, all day long.

~ Use nap time wisely, so that I can have time left in the evening to be with Destiny when she gets home from school, and time with Dale after the kids go to bed. 

Laundry, photo projects, editing, supper prep, whatever! The more I can get done during nap time, the better!!  Those are ‘free hours’ when no one needs me.

~Keep my priorities in order and ask myself:

“Does this activity promote the following?”  God first.  Family second.  THEN all the other things.

  ~In the evening, we try very hard to start bedtime EARLIER than we think we need to, so that we have time to read a Bible story, sing a few songs and pray together to close the day.  The kids LOVE that time and cry when we have to skip it due to a late night.

  After that, I blog and email and Dale watches a documentary or something on TV.  We have to be careful to shut those both down at a good time, so we still can have our devotions, prayer and talk time before we fall asleep.  This has been hard for us, since 10 pm sure comes quickly!

  Satan loves for us to be “too busy” to pray with each other, seek God together and converse and be friends with our spouse.  In fact, I think busyness is one of his sneakiest weapons!

  Don’t let social media and busyness rob you of the precious moments you have with your family.

   Your kids only spend so many years seeking YOUR attention, then you spend the rest of your life, trying to get theirs.

~T

Just For This Morning…..

 

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Just for this morning, I am going to smile when your whining at my feet, & laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

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Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

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Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

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Just for this afternoon, I will set down my cell phone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

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Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble. Even when you scream and fuss, I will keep my cool and deal with it in a calm manner.017

Just for this afternoon, I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won’t stand over you trying to fix them.new sis

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

077Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV show and computer time.

Just for this evening when I run my fingers through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.0363

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I will think about the mothers and fathers who are age 2searching for their missing children, the mommy’s and daddy’s who are kneeling beside their children’s graves, rather than beside their beds, and the couples who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can’t handle it anymore.ava2

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And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer……

It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask Him for nothing, except for one more day.

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