These Hours

I asked if she did her homework. It was close to bedtime.

“Yes, I did.”

“All of it?”


“I didn’t see you do it.”

“Because you’re always on the computer.”

Or looking at my phone. It’s the truth. I admitted to my husband that I hide from the kids, tapping away at my laptop in the kitchen, accomplishing close to nothing most afternoons. Because it’s stressful to be with them sometimes. In the morning I scroll through Facebook while they fight about whose shirt that is and who picked what movie last.

I’m avoiding a lot of my life while looking through everyone else’s. And my kids are noticing. I’m noticing how distracted I am almost all the time. Not surprisingly, the more I am on the laptop or the phone, the more I want to be on the laptop or the phone. I’m like that.

These hours with them must not continue to be marked not by my semi-conscious, reluctant presence. These hours belong to them.

I have decided on some changes. Unless it cannot be put off, I will avoid texting and e-mailing if I am with the kids; I won’t check my phone for social media while I am with them; I will avoid posting pictures of them while I’m with them (because I will just want to check back); and I won’t spend the afternoon on the laptop, repeating “give me five minutes,” as they come in to ask me questions, or to just be near me. And I get irritated by that because “I’m in the middle of something”: a phrase I’ve now heard them repeat.

The hours that they are in school go by quickly, and I am tired when they are in bed, but I’m embarrassed that I’ve been asked by my five-year-old son to “stop looking at the phone, mommy” on more than one occasion. Once, he wanted me to look at a superhero on a television show. It wasn’t important to me. It was to him.

My five-year-old daughter brings me drawings while I’m working at the computer, and it takes everything I have sometimes to turn away from the screen and acknowledge her.

These are not moments of which I am proud. And I’m saying they are real so that I can start making them better.

I would rather they see me reading a book or magazine while they play, than mesmerized by images on a smart phone. I have been using my phone for “notes” related to my writing; I am using a notebook more now. My oldest has her own special notebook; I’m happy to have her watch me write in mine.

Wish me luck. And if you need me during these hours, you will have to wait.



This entry was posted in Family Life, Mental health, New York City Living and Coping, Parenting Moments and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to These Hours

  1. You are right! Social media is extremely distracting, leaving one with little time to pay attention or to think.

  2. kristrange says:

    Good luck! I still have nap time as me time but that will soon disappear and I will have to become more creative.

  3. adkamanda says:

    I get this. It’s a heavy pendulum, but I have faith that you’ll find your rhythm.

    • thank you! yes, moderation is key–I have a hard time with moderation in general. I am all or nothing with a lot of things. At least until I work it out. I struggled just to get through one afternoon when I KNEW I couldn’t be on FB when I wanted to. But I was less angry at the kids at bedtime. I think it may be related.

  4. aviets says:

    Good for you! I hope you realize you’re not alone – I think all moms feel that need to get away and have some “me time” and end up feeling selfish. But your resolution is a good one! 🙂 -Amy

    • thank you! Yes, we all need “me time” for sure! I need to be careful that I don’t use my phone to numb out though. I often don’t even know what I’ve been looking at for 10 minutes…

  5. Pingback: Putting Down the Phone to Face Life | Mama Healthy

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