Friday, April 13, 2012

Step Away From the Screen

Surely you’ve heard this song:

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home dad?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then

I was think of this song and how it applies to moms today; or, at least it feels like it applies to me. It's been a long two years of school, where my time was so divided that I didn't get to parent like I would like to.

Then, there was a blog post circulating, talking about not setting our self-expectations so high. But, the part of that blog post that caught my eye was:

"...I realized that my family doesn’t care about what I see on Pinterest. They care about me."

True, our kids don’t expect perfection from us. They don't crave gourmet cinnabuns or color-coordinated candelabras. But, I bet our kids do crave our time. How much time do we spend a day on facebook? On email? Discussion boards? Blogs? And, for me, homework sites? I have avoided pinterest because I am afraid it would just suck more of my time. At least when we watch TV, we do it as a family. It’s not very likely we are checking a Web site with a little helper standing beside us, enjoy the time.

I’m just afraid that I’ll be like that dad in the song, spending all my time trying to provide some self-driven elevated quality of life but forgetting about quantity of life. My kids want my time and the memories that come from it more than they want decorated walls or expensive shoes or fancy, gourmet meals.

And yes, I recognize the hypocrisy in writing this on a blog, when I could be spending time with my girls. For what it’s worth, I didn’t type this until they were tucked in bed. It’s not so much as draw away from my kids tonight, as it is a stall from starting studying.

Do I want to eliminate Facebook from my life? No. Do I expect Jay to sign off his gardening discussion boards? Nope. But I do expect us to limit our computer time as much as we limit their screen time. I do expect us to not try to “finish one more post” before tending to their needs.


I wrote the above on Wednesday night. Since then, I've been careful to minimize my time on the computer and put the kids before the screen... with the exception of cramming for two tests and a clinical.

Today, I promised the girls I wouldn't get on the computer until after supper. You should have heard their cheers, even when I followed that up with, "So instead, we're going to clean the house!" The biggest surprise to me is that the girls would rather spend time with me cleaning the house than they would me sitting on the computer while they watch TV.

They just want my time, as limited as that is. I can't give them every hour of every day. I can't always stay off the computer, when my school responsibilities pull me on. I will still get on Facebook... but maybe not as much. But for today, I'm grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my girls.

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