July 9, 2012
Put Down the iPhone and Pick Up Your Child
We're all plugged in right and left to technology, but how plugged in are we to our own kids? My friend Tara recently introduced me to a blog called Hands Free Mama, wherein there's a post called How to Miss a Childhood, which should be required reading for every modern-day parent.
I promise if you read Rachel Macy Stafford's post, it will be life-changing for you, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of iPhone/computer/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest or any technology addiction.
I never wanted an iPhone. I remember thinking I would certainly be chained to it and compelled to constantly check my email. My husband surprised me with one a couple years ago, and while it has been a necessary tool in my business as a freelance writer and editor, I have found that it is a double-edged sword because it causes me to always be in work mode one way or another. Thankfully, I still think I fall on the side of the spectrum of not being addicted or obsessed with my iPhone... but once I read How to Miss a Childhood, I found ways I could improve as a parent in light of always being plugged in to something other than my kids.
Hands Free Mama is a great blog in general, and I subscribe to the newsletter because Stafford delivers such amazing, heartfelt and tear-inducing stories about her experience as a mother that will make you want to be a better parent, as we all learn together on the crazy and unpredictable journey of parenting.
On a related note, check out this fascinating study highlighted in Harvard Business Review... in which researchers concluded that what most captured the attention of toddlers and infants during visits to Disneyworld wasn't the personable and larger than life cast of characters, the sea of rides, the enticing snacks at every turn... it was "their parents' cell phones, especially when the parents were using them." The article notes of the children they studied: "Those kids clearly understood what held their parents' attention — and they wanted it too. Cell phones were enticing action centers of their world as they observed it. When parents were using their phones, they were not paying complete attention to their children."
Living "Hands Free" is now a daily goal of mine. I hope you find the blog and message behind it as inspiring as I do.