Being Fully Present with our Children

Misha Seger Photography

Facebook. Cell Phones. Internet. Texting, Television. Blogs. Email. Pinterest.

We have so many social outlets available to us in our day and age.  And through many of them we can communicate with hundreds of people any time any place, without even leaving the comfort of our home.

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  But lately, I am becoming increasingly aware of how easy it can be to be technically home, but not really be home.  From the moment I awaken to the moment I drop into bed at night, there is a constant pull on my time and emotions to keep up with everything that is going on in the world.  Whether it is checking my email, replying to text messages, catching up with 15 people on Facebook, or making a dozen phone calls, there is a constant source of need and information at my very fingertips.  I could literally spend every waking hour on social media or researching topics of interest in the internet.

But there is a world of entertainment and imagination and exploration within arms reach of me every day, and their names are Jeshuah and Eliana, God’s precious gifts to me. My little ones are growing up before my eyes, and I am missing it by being distracted by the latest piece of news or information.

How did checking social media replace the joys of laughing and learning with our children?  How did browsing a long-lost acquaintance’s profile page online become more interesting than sitting down face-to-face with our little ones for completely devoted, undistracted attention to them?  How have we begun to allow instantly responding to every text message to have precedence over the real-time conversation we are having with our children?

I understand.  Our children are not always a delight to be around.  Being at home with small children can become very lonely.  Our household tasks can become drudgery as we do the same thing day in and day out, wondering if anything we are doing is even making a difference.  Believe me, I know! I know the temptation to escape the mundane and enter a world where there is constantly something new and exciting going on.  I know the desire to feel efficient by multi-tasking and checking email while everyone at the table eats lunch.  I know the longing to be appreciated for more than just wiping snotty noses and dirty bottoms (oh wait, they don’t even appreciate that??) I know the loneliness and irritation of spending all day every day with children whose only language is whining, fussing, and tantrums.

But what I also know is that when I am with my kids, I want to be really with them.  I don’t want to be distracted by texting while I am helping my two-year-old go to the bathroom.  I don’t want to be surfing the web, casually responding with “uh huh” to his questions as he eats his lunch.  I don’t want to be on the phone the whole time we are on a nature walk. I want to be with my kids, in body, mind, and spirit.  I do not want my kids to grow up thinking a screen is more interesting than they are.  Technology is good and can be used tremendously to build God’s Kingdom, but we must learn to be disciplined in our use of it.

So that is why sometimes I intentionally leave my cell phone at home while we go outside.  That is why I make it my goal to limit my internet/computer time to when the kids are napping.  That is why I do not always let myself turn on talk radio to have on in the background while I am playing with my kids. That is why I constantly reassess what I am doing and why I am doing it. Ultimately, I want to be a stay-at-home mom and really be present with my children, despite the plethora of possible distractions available in our own homes now.  I want to play with, teach, love on, and truly engage with my children.

I hear a little voice calling for his mama:-) Naptime is over. Lord, give me grace to practice what I preach!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for sharing this! Oh, how I can identify. I think this is specifically a struggle for us as “younger” moms…though it can be a temptation to anyone. Thank you for the reminder that being fully present with my kids is a choice. I can choose not to pick up my phone. I can choose not to text back right away. I can choose not to look at FB until naptime. My kids are worth it.

    Reply

  2. […] This article was originally posted on Ashley-Nicole’s blog, Organic Matters: Nature, Nurture & the Gospel in Everyday Life, and can be found here. […]

    Reply

  3. Beautifully put! I have been thinking the same thing as I am now a mommy myself.

    Reply

  4. Good thoughts, Ashley-Nicole. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply

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