We’ve all been there. Work is overwhelming. Motherhood is overwhelming. We’re tired. The shreds of patience are wearing thin(ner) by the moment. So we take the kids to the park, we sit down or stand around, and pull out our phones. A little ‘me’ time amidst the hustle and bustle. While you were looking down, your 4-year-old ran about playing. You glanced up to see him going down the fire pole for the fifth time. But there’s something you didn’t see. Something you didn’t feel.
Here’s what you saw:
Someone you were connected with ten years ago shared three posts from The Onion. You kind of smiled at one, rolled your eyes at another and felt indifferent to the third. Scrolling on by.
You saw a selfie of your friend with her baby. And got a teeny bit jealous of how ‘carefree’ she looks.
You saw your husband share some random memes, and you aren’t even sure what they mean.
You saw a handful of blog posts and made sure to ‘like’ or ‘love’ them, but you’ll never read them.
You saw someone looking for recommendations. You looked at the responses but didn’t contribute.
You saw people fighting in one of your Facebook group pages, and wondered to yourself…’ what is the world coming to’?
You saw a local business owner pushing their product.
You found out that an acquaintance you met once in person is moving away from Charleston.
Here’s what you didn’t see:
You didn’t see the little glances your way.
Your child was looking to see if mommy was watching, but she wasn’t.
You didn’t see your child get sad for a second, the fleeting frown on their face or their little heart meltdown and then harden because they are growing used to not meeting your eyes with theirs.
You didn’t see them bravely walk up to another little on the playground and ask, “Will you be my friend”?
You didn’t see them finally grab that next monkey bar, all on their own.
Suddenly, it’s time to go home.
Da-da, you didn’t know that your little one asked when you would be home about every three minutes. All. Day. Long.
You didn’t see their little faces light up when they heard you pull up on the street.
You didn’t see the disappointment in their eyes when you told them to give you space to breathe because you were tired and worn out from work.
You didn’t realize just how much long-term distance you were creating when you sent them up to their rooms to play games on the iPad so that you could get some time in front of the TV.
You were a ‘good’ mom today.
You were a ‘good’ dad today.
You fed your kids, you made sure they brushed their teeth (albeit not long enough). You hollered at them to hurry up, to listen, and to quit messing around. You got them to school on time. You even took them to the park. You did all the things.
Except you forgot to do the most important thing.
You didn’t bond with your child today, did you?
You didn’t really see them.
You didn’t really hear them.
You didn’t really understand them.
You were a busy momma. You are a tired Da-da. You had to do all the things with little to no help. I see you. I know you. I am you.
Think about this. If we made a conscious effort to not check that notification, respond to that email, or immediately participate in the group chat…what would happen?
We might actually feel unplugged. We might get the relaxation and escape that we are running after. We might feel more connected to our kids. They might BEHAVE more because they are more engaged with us and aren’t so hungry for attention — because they actually really have it given to them freely for once.
We might even make a friend at the park, just like they did.
We might actually feel peace and happiness. And we will see those moments. We will see our four year old looking over her shoulder to see if we are watching. And we will see the smiles on their faces and the warmth in their heart.
And that my friends, is more valuable than any Facebook post, text, or email can ever be. It’s not going anywhere, and you aren’t going to miss out if you put your phone down for a solid four hours at a time. I promise.
Tomorrow is a new day. ☀️💛