I knew the question would come, and it did, last night, after Emma’s dad dropped her off at home. She and I were sitting at the kitchen table sharing a snack and talking.
Well, that’s not the whole truth, there was someone else at the table, my phone. I was alternating between talking with her and texting with her father about a couple of things. And then… “Mom, why are you guys always on your phones? Why can’t you just put them away, like maybe for a whole day? Dad was doing the same thing.”
I felt about as big as an ant in that moment, and I had the audacity to try and defend my behavior, “I’m just texting with your…you know what, you’re right. I’m being rude. You are most important.” I turned my phone over and pushed it away.
I needed that intervention.
I know well enough, when something starts to take control of me and I no longer have control over it, I’ve got a problem on my hands and in my head.
When I went to bed last night, I thought about my relationship with my phone. Actually, it’s no relationship at all; I’m addicted. It’s the first thing I reach for in the morning, and the last thing I put down at night. I panic if I can’t find it in the quick sand of my purse, or in the mountain of pillows on my bed. I crave it.
I have a system/ritual too. I check texts, then emails, then FB messages and I do it over, and over, and over again throughout the day. It’s not like it makes me feel any better. Instead, I create more work for myself, another thing to add to the to-do list when a certain email or message comes through.
Worst of all, here is my child, calling me out on it — recognizing I am not being present with her. She felt disrespected and neglected. Although she’s grown up in this technological age, she knows there’s something wrong with it. What’s that saying? “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re a part of the problem.” Yup. That’s me. Part of the problem.
I know I’m addicted because when I think about leaving my phone at home for the whole day, fuck, I start to freak out. What if? What if something bad happens to someone I know? Or, to me? What if this? What if that?
Let’s face it, I ain’t the President. I’m not a president of anything. I’m not that important. It can wait, and you know what? If there was really an emergency, I guarantee I could find someone with a phone within a few yards of wherever I’m standing, or sitting, or driving, or doing yoga, or writing, or food shopping because most of us are in co-dependent relationships with our phones, right?
Solution: Today, I’m going to begin distancing myself, slowly, not just out of respect for my children, but out of respect for myself, for this life I’m living. I don’t want to spend it looking down. I don’t want to miss a moment. Thank you to my daughter, for waking me up, once again. ~Rebecca