Do you practise present parenting?
I am jinxed when it comes to phones. Seriously. I’ve lost more than I can even remember, and once dropped a brand new phone down the toilet two weeks into a two year contract. My latest tech failure comes in the form of a severely cracked screen on my iPhone, which is less than six months old.
It’s left me phone-less these last few days, and you know what? It’s been bloody liberating.
More than that though, my kids have articulated that they prefer their mummy phone-free. Ouch!
There I was thinking I had a grip on this. I know that I spend a LOT less time on my phone than I used to. I also know that I spend a crap tonne less time on it than almost every other blogger I know. Not that it’s a competition, but sometimes it’s good to compare and contrast.
The truth is, not having a phone to divert my attention elsewhere is great for my present parenting abilities.
Because even with the best will in the world there will be texts to reply to. Quick chats to have with friends going through a hard time. A sneaky look at Instagram to see how well that latest post is doing. A brief look at gmail to make sure I’m not missing anything important.
And all those five minutes, add up.
Being glued to a phone is not conducive at all to being a present parent. It’s just not. Especially with my spectrum children.
I can convince myself all I like that my kids need to get better at letting me have a little bit of a life outside of them, but is that fair on them?
I used to think that their inability to see me on my phone and not try to grab my attention by kicking lumps out of each other was a fault on their behalf. I can see now though, that it’s completely unreasonable of me to expect this from them.
They didn’t ask for this life did they? They didn’t ask to be bullied and unsupported at school, and have to be home educated. As a family we go up and down and round in circles on this matter. Some days we win, and it’s amazing, but often we struggle.
Me being on my phone certainly doesn’t help. So once again I am going to own this as something I have control over, and react in a positive way.
I’m sure the world will still continue turning.
I absolutely refuse to look back on this time and feel guilty for anything. Present parenting is definitely top of my agenda this year. What’s on the top of yours?