Resources for the Intentional Parent

Mom is Always on Her Phone

A few days ago my family and I were lounging around the living room teasing one another. We played our own mini version of family charades – each of us impersonating one another. We laughed when my husband whined, “I’m gooooonnnna,” just like our seven-year-old. My son, giggled through an impersonation of his sister, but things got real when my four-year-old pretended to be me by staring at an imaginary phone. She laughed, “I’m Mom, because she is always on her phone!” Ouch. That certainly hit home. Is that how I really am?

In the wise words of Mumford & Sons, “where you invest your love, you invest your life.” Here we are in February, the season of love, and it seems that I might need to face up to the hard question of where I am investing my love.

I’m afraid if you asked my family, they might say that I am investing in Apple products.

As a recovering perfectionist, I don’t like being wrong, or feeling like I am failing, or times when somehow I don’t measure up. I don’t like facing those places where I lack, but I do think that when we tell people we love them, our actions should represent our words. There is no time like the present to take a long look in the mirror and for me, I don’t like what I see.

It is hard for me to admit that the tech addiction struggle is real. As an introverted parent, often I neglect self-care, leaving me drained from that constant feeling of being “on.” Burnt out, I attempt to escape through a screen. I mindlessly scroll through my apps or play games on my phone, while my kids fend for themselves.

That doesn’t look like love.

A popular quote about love says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

If I tell my children I love them, but instead of engaging them I retreat into social media, am I really loving them? If I snap at them because I just want to finish reading this ONE blog (even though I’ve been blog surfing for over an hour), is that love?

If I tell my spouse that I love him and I’m glad he is home from a long day at work, but spend my time playing solitaire instead of looking him in the eye when we talk that night, does that show him I love him? If I am comparing him to the Facebook husband of a friend that brought her flowers today, am I showing love?

When I make resolutions to stop wasting time and care for my mind and body, am I doing that by binge watching Netflix? If I spend an hour looking through Pinterest and wishing that amazing antique card catalog was mine, am I not choosing envy over loving my actual life?

Of course, the answer to all those questions is no. So often the way I use tech robs me of real love, only to replace it with cheap, momentary feelings of satisfaction, or more accurately, distraction. I don’t like that about myself and honestly, it is a large source of inner guilt for me. Frankly, I’m ready to kick that guilt to the curb.

Every day is a new day to start again. Every day is a day to choose love. For me, that looks like choosing to engage (my word of the year for 2016). Some days I will fail, some days I will succeed, but the time has come to choose love instead of technology. I can’t think of any better time to start, again, than today.

This February, where are you investing your love?

By Jesica Swanson, Kudoso Kontributor