I know a woman who, judging by the frequency of her tweets and Facebook status updates, spends a lot of time in front of her computer. This woman is also a stay-at-home mom of two young boys. While I admire her in many ways, a recent status update from her made me wonder just how much she and her children are missing out due to her desire to be constantly connected to the outside world. Her update read something to the effect of, “Joe is trying to braid my hair and I think he’s pulling out more than he’s braiding.”
Sure, it’s a sweet moment between a mother and child. But it was marred, in my opinion, by the fact that she was busy telling her Facebook friends about it rather than focusing on the moment with her son.
Dr. Mark Goulsten has written a piece at Huffington Post in which he laments just this sort of thing. Technology has created a world where truly busy parents and those who only think they are busy are missing out on so much. With our ability to instantly connect with the world via email, texting, blogging and social networking, have we forgotten how to connect with the children who are right in front of us?
Some of us clearly have and for them, Goulsten offers some practical exercises to help parents not only connect with their children, but do their jobs as purveyors of life lessons. His ideas are good and certainly worth a read. But, as he points out, kids deserve – and need – more than thrice-daily scheduled one-on-one time with their parents.
And when we interact with our children, we need to be fully present, in body and mind.
Maybe I read too much into that one incident with my friend, but I think about it often. It made me take a closer look at my own computer habits. Now, when my own child comes home from school, I log off, shut down and step away. At least for as long as it takes us to reconnect with each other and for her to move on to solitary pursuits. Because I work from home, this isn’t always easy. But it’s always my goal.
Do you find your online life interferes with your ability to be “in the moment” with your kids?
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