This week is spring break. I took a few days off and away from home to hang out with some favorite kids of mine and a favorite friend, too. It was so nice to be away from my computer and my phone and from the need to constantly be contactable and replying to emails. The amazing thing was that for the four days that I was out of town, no one really needed to contact me. I had almost no emails, texts or phone calls. This really surprised me. I didn’t make any announcement that I’d be gone or anything and when I’m home I’m on the computer or my phone for hour/s a day. I guess when I’m not generating emails and making phone calls myself, there is a lot less to do. Which was lovely because I had a lot of focused energy for visiting with my friend and hanging out with kids.
One of these spring break days, we packed up in the car and went to the local Children’s museum. It was a very busy day at the CM. There were kids and parents everywhere plus all the noise and the exhibits. It took all of my attention to keep up with Nora. The 3 minutes I attempted a conversation with my friend inside of an ambulance in the Health care zone, Nora couldn’t find me, panicked, and started crying (completely forgetting that if we got separated we were going to meet under the flashing stoplight.) She was really freaked out, which made me feel sad and a little like a terrible parent, so I didn’t do anything but follow her around for the rest of the time.
We went from the vet’s office to health care zone to the child size Greek restaurant where Nora went behind the counter to take my order and make me some food. While she was plating some plastic pizza, bread and some sliced carrots, I took my eyes off of her for a few minutes and looked around the kid-town for the first time. Do you know what I saw? Approximately 1/3 of the parents were on their smart phones. I’m not kidding. And they weren’t having engaged conversations with someone on the other line. That would have been impossible. Almost all adults on the phones had this glazed over, dulled-out look that I recognize and totally get when I’m on my phone messing around which is a way of checking out wishing time would pass. It was so upsetting. How much are smart phones are affecting our parenting?
I don’t want to be on my phone constantly. I don’t want to be stuck on my computer unless I am generating genuine contact and communication with people. I don’t want to be glazed over when I’m hanging out with my kids on vacation or any other time. The frightening zombie phone-parenting I witnessed and know so well helps me consider what really is necessary work on the phone or computer. This week away gave me space to see that the amount of computer time that I give myself, the time I dedicate to looking at my large or small screen probably doesn’t deserve as much importance or attention as it receives. When the rest of life (the kind that is going on right in front of me) is engaging , then I don’t feed into the emails and the Facebook machines that require so much tending. That stuff quiets down and the work that I generate could be de-emphasized and lessened just by paying less attention to it. So I’ll have more time for the really important stuff. (See photo above.)
Amanda teaches breath-centered yoga in Austin, TX and online. She’d love to help you discover yogic practices of movement, breath and meditation that can help move you toward quiet attention, centeredness and calm. Click HERE for more information or to contact Amanda for a complementary 15 minute appointment.