Distracted Parenting

Bloggers Guest PostWe are distracted parents, and that’s fine

Have you ever looked at a playground mom who was too engrossed on her phone to see her children playing? Did you shake your head, and then think you’d never do something like that? I’ll admit that these thoughts crossed my mind on a few occasions. But I know that I’m not free from the lure of my phone either. That’s when I realized that I don’t blame the playground mom, or any parent I see using their phone or tablet around their kids. They’re probably trying to answer an important email because they got off work early to be with them. Or maybe, they are organising their week to get the most out of it for their family. They may even be tweeting about their day. And here’s the point – it’s okay.

It’s time we accepted that these distractions are here to stay, and they have become an important part of our lives. As parents, we feel guilty about spending time on our phones or computers. I did too. Once my toddler even took my phone away from me! Actually, he was just playing, but that didn’t stop me from labelling it a ‘bad parenting’ moment. Now I think differently. Connecting with others online helped me as a new parent. It was relieving to read about other first-time moms going through the same experiences as mine, even if we didn’t know all the answers. It was reassuring to read the advice of moms who had ‘been there’ and ‘done that’!

The desire to connect with others on the same platform even led me to start blogging, and I am so happy to have discovered a world of interesting people. So, I no longer feel guilty about tweeting, or chatting on Facebook. I know I am part of a network of people who are constantly sharing ideas and even helping each other in many ways. Whenever I have a question that’s nagging me, I can turn to the myriad social networks I’m on, and ask away. Somebody usually comes up with a good solution.

We may seem like a generation of distracted parents. But, are we really? We constantly tweet about our kids’ milestones. We Instagram their smiles. We celebrate their birthdays with ideas from Pinterest. That’s who we are, and that’s the way it will be. It doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention to our families. In fact, we are connecting with more parents than ever possible and exchanging stories. We are creating a lifetime of memories that our children can come back to and cherish. I mean, don’t you look at your child playing in the sun and think, That would make a great post, or, I must share that on Facebook? In fact, we are not distracted parents, but connected parents. We are in the moment, and we want to preserve it forever.

Of course, it is important to regulate and organize your time spent online. I save the most important of my online work for when my toddler is napping because I know he’ll interrupt me constantly, and I want to focus on one thing at a time. I sparingly use the phone when I am outside playing with him. However, I do get on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. I think it is important to prioritise what exactly you want to get out of the millions of resources on the internet, and choose what suits your lifestyle and your family. You don’t have to answer every ‘ping’. The best part about social networking is that everything can wait. Don’t lose touch, though. After all, the reason we are more in touch with our friends now is because they are always available online.

Many of us worry about the time our kids spend on their phones, but it’s not worth making it a bad thing. If we are connected, our children are a step ahead of us. They are using connectivity in many interesting ways. Yes, it is important to supervise them, but you can also turn it to your advantage and get to know them better – online. As connected families can use technology to keep in touch with what we are all doing, and have something to talk about at the dinner table. Minus the phones, please!

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profileTarana Khan (or just TK!) is mom to a toddler. She loves writing and has done her stints as a copywriter, reporter and content editor, before embracing parenthood full time. She blogs at Sand In My Toes, where you can drop by to read more of her parenting and other adventures! You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google+.

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15 Responses to Distracted Parenting

  1. What a great post Tarana – so many valid points, and I am with you :) x

  2. Amy says:

    True. However with your phone in your hand it is too easy to check emails, update twitter, browse Facebook, sometimes I worry that I am too distracted to enjoy the moment. My head is always multitasking! Of course I could never give up these vital links to the outside world but like you say there is a balance to be found.
    I’ve employed a no phones and no tv at dinner time rule. I want Joel to be at the dinner table with us and learn conversation.

  3. Technology has connected us all, Tarana. When my son was a toddler, we didn’t have this kind of technology. Moms had to find a pay phone to make a call from somewhere near the playground. We still didn’t keep our eyes on our children 100% of the time. I think we’ve set expectations too high for new moms that no one can live up to them and they always feel guilty and unworthy. The connections are important and so is taking time for yourself.

  4. Great post – I agree with many points. I used to answer every ping immediately, but nowadays I realise that that can wait, I am having fun with my boy!

  5. Mel says:

    So true! Such an honest post. Mel

  6. Great post! I’m always worried that I’m constantly distracted from Potato by my phone or PC. I try to stick to the rule that I don’t use it at the dinner table, because I don’t want him doing that either, but I don’t always manage. Potato definitely gets grumpy when I’m on my phone too much. He tries to grab it and play with it. I don’t know if its because he wants to play with it, or because he wants more of my attention. A bit of both probably.
    This year though, I’ve made a really effort to be online less. If I miss a tweet from a friend, or a FB status update, its not the end of the world. But I won’t get Potato’s early days back again

  7. Mike says:

    This is fantastic, Tarana! Told you I would click over here. As long as the parent’s distraction isn’t taking away from the children’s safety I have no problem with it. Only two things to offer from my life experience. Like texting while driving. Can the phone or tablet interaction wait? And to not get caught up in the online device so much that you miss the magic of the moment with your kids. Just my 2 cents worth. You’re doing great, my dear! :)

  8. Richa says:

    Reading this really made me drain out my guilt of reading other blogs around my toddler. :)

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