In an age where each of us has multiple social media accounts, laptops, iPads, and iPhones, it can be incredibly easy to always live in the virtual and never in the present. Obviously, I love social media and am thankful for it in many ways. It was Facebook and text messages with my friends in the wee hours of the night while nursing my babies that helped me get through some very dark and lonely times. Social media is also a great way to keep in general touch with all of our friends and family, even when miles make us far apart.
My boys get to have me all day, everyday, since I don't work outside the home and so my days pretty much always revolve around them. I love to watch them do imaginative and independent play and consider it a double bonus when they play with each other without me having to break up a toy argument.
Today on our way to swim lessons I was listening to a Christian radio station that talked about an article focusing on the gift of being present, and I was convicted hard. It made me think about how there are many times throughout the day where I think I am being present with my kids but my heart, mind, and focus are on other things. When I was growing up, my mom always made sure that we gave her eye contact and respect while speaking to her and I think it played a big role in why I loved communication since childhood. I can see now how I am not always demonstrating the same focus to my kids but at the same time I am constantly asking for it back. Calvin even confronted me today and said, while grabbing my face, "Mom, can you talk to me!?" It broke my heart to hear these words. I never want my kids to feel like they need to compete for my attention with a device and here Calvin was competing for my attention.
So now I need to focus on balance when I am with them. I am not glued to my phone or laptop and do not need these things 24/7 to feel connected or anything. But I am trying to see how I can better be 100% present with my kids and when I can be fully present with my husband and then also have time to be present in my interests (blogging, reading, etc.) instead of partially giving myself here and there. I have found that putting my phone on airplane mode so that I am not tempted with notifications has been helpful in being fully present. I do not want to always feel guilty while reading a blog, news article, or streaming through Instagram, but the fact that I do feel guilty tells me I probably spend too much time on these things.
God's mercies are new each morning, so I pray that tomorrow I can focus on balancing my interests, my boys interests, and my responsibilities to take care of matters in our home. If you are like me at all and find yourself having some mom guilt, then join me in putting the phone and laptop down while the kids are playing. I want to notice and be alert whenever my boys show each other kindness. I want to see their reactions when they learn something new. I am more convinced that the world will look a lot more beautiful through my own eyes than through the glass (or whatever material it's made out of now) of my iPhone.
Tomorrow I hope I can give Calvin and Max the gift of me being present. I may think I do not have enough time in a day and therefore need to do 20 things at once, but truly I do have time. I just need to learn how to use it wisely.