Phones beep and buzz and light up. They house memories, recipes, and stories from people halfway across the world; all at our fingertips. Why would we want to miss out on any of that? But what happens when not missing out on our cellphones means missing out on eye contact and interactions with our children?

 

By Reanna Spain

As a millennial, I’m part of the last generation of individuals who experienced life BC (before cellphones).

Back before “office hours” became checking a quick email during dinner, and when reading the news meant sitting in your rocker on Sunday morning with a hot cup of Joe; not sitting in the stands of your kids t-ball game scrolling through Facebook during innings. Distraction doesn’t even adequately describe it: it’s just become the norm—all these things constantly vying for our attention with equal persistence.

Who can blame us?

Phones beep and buzz and light up. They house memories, recipes, and stories from people halfway across the world; all at our fingertips. Why would we want to miss out on any of that? But what happens when not missing out on our cellphones means missing out on eye contact and interactions with our children?

On any given day, I have innumerable opportunities to either be engaged with my son or pulled off into the world of technology. At six months old, he’s just beginning to venture into independence. Exploring curiosities and boundaries in the constraints of our living room while rolling, drooling, and squealing with delight. Everything is new to him, which means everything is the absolute most interesting thing he’s ever encountered.

I see him look to me countless times for reassurance, guidance, and approval.

I can’t help but wonder what he thinks when he looks to me, and my face is buried in a 5.5-inch handheld screen. When I’m mentally somewhere else, driven by GIFs, memes, and emojis. Does he notice when I’m unable to share in his delight, or assist with his frustration because I’m worlds away?

Even if he doesn’t, is that the message I want to send? Or do I want him to feel seen, heard, and validated? I’ll always choose the latter. I’ll always choose mindfulness.

John Kabat-Zinn said that, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” I’m aiming to be present because—in this current state of disconnection—I want him to learn the value of eye contact, of deeper love, and of greater curiosity.

 

Reanna Spain is a wife, mother, and small business owner. Using her writing, she helps others hone their authority and make more money in their personal and professional ventures. A certified yoga teacher, student of mindfulness, and adventure seeker, she’s constantly fantasizing of international travel. You can occasionally find her hanging in a hammock on the beach; more often she’s hanging cloth diapers in her backyard. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @reannawordsmith.

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: John Lee Pendall

 

Were you inspired by this piece? You might also like:

 

 

Finding Enlightenment, My Tribe & Myself, Under The Magnolia Tree.

  By Deb Avery   When I left rural Alabama many, many years ago, it did not occur to me that I would ever live there again. Let's just say that not only do I understand deeply "why the caged bird sings," as Maya Angelou writes so...

Becoming a Free Spirit Mommy.

  By Amanda Dobby   My little family has recently faced some very major struggles. I began to get very desperate over the last three years, and I unknowingly focused all of my attention on what I later realized, were all of the wrong things. Starting at the...

The Golden Ratio of Anger: It is Okay for my Kids to See Me Upset.

  By Carolyn Riker   I aim to be a good parent but there are days, I am frustrated and fail. There isn’t a handbook. Vacations are few. Summer days are endless. Being a parent is stressful as it is rewarding. Most days are incredible. We hum well together....

The Distance Between.

    By Brian Westbye It is the Summer of 2000 and I’m living in Medford, MA, not far from the Tufts campus, working for a non-profit at the corner of Boylston and Arlington and playing in a band. I pick up the 96 bus at the corner of Walnut and Summer St.,...

Comments

comments

Latest posts by The Tattooed Buddha (see all)