The Tech Dilemma

There are many ways that being a mom in 2018 is different than it was when our parents had us. First off, Facebook did not exist. Nor did Instagram. There weren’t many mommy support groups. Babies were supposed to sleep on their tummies. Maternity leave wasn’t typically a year long. Most people hadn’t heard of the Internet. Many things have changed, some for the better and some for the worse.

Perhaps the biggest change that I know of is our technology use. When my mom had me, the only type of “modern” technology available to her was her home telephone (“what the heck is a landline”, is what a junior high student once asked me), a radio, and a television. I doubt she had time to turn on her tv. She might have had the radio on in the background in the morning while she fed me, and that is if she had the energy to turn the dial until she found the right station amidst the radio fuzz.

Now, the first thing I do when I hear my baby crying in the middle of the night is to check my cell phone to see the time. Despite the fact that I am only meaning to check the time, I am able to see that I have a new friend request on Facebook, I have three new likes on Instagram, and Toys R Us sent me a promotional email at midnight. I grab my phone and groggily walk down the hallway to my baby’s room where she is waiting for a quick snack. I take her out of her crib, get her settled onto me, and then I open up my email to see what kind of baby items I can get on sale this week. I am even more interested in seeing who wants to be my friend on Facebook and further, who liked the picture that I posted on Instagram. This afternoon, as I was feeding my baby, I decided that I am not okay with this.

See, just as I was about to fire up Pinterest to browse recipes, my little girl (who was nestled into me feeding) let out a small sigh. I looked away from my screen to see what her sigh was about and realized she had a tiny smile playing at the corner of her mouth. Her little hand was rested on my chest, and she looked so comfortable, safe, and content. This small, absentminded gesture from her made me stop and think. How many tiny moments just like this, have I missed in the middle of the night because I had to browse recipes, or take a quiz to see what Disney princess I am? I put down my phone where it was out of my sight and stared at my baby with the same contentment that she was showing me. At that moment, when I silenced my technology, I was able to fully absorb how happy my baby makes me, and I felt nothing but pure, unconditional love.

These moments, the ones where the whole house is quiet except for the sound of gulping, are the ones that we will never get back. We will wake up one day and realize that our children are grown and they are busy. They will be too busy making friends, travelling, studying, and gaining independence for us to stare at them while the whole house is quiet.

Now, this is not to say that I will never go on my phone again when I am with my kid. Sometimes I need to read articles in the middle of the night to stay awake. At other times my mind is racing with worry about little one’s new developments and I want to see if her behaviour is “normal”. This is okay! However, I will not be on my phone while she is laying on a mat staring at the ceiling. I will be interacting with her so she can learn speech. I will be reading to her, singing to her and laughing as much as possible. I want her to always know that she is more important to me than the people who are liking my pictures on Instagram. God knows that she will probably have a cell phone one day and I refuse to let her ignore me while she scrolls through her “likes”.

Technology is awesome and awful. It’s my saviour and it’s my nemesis. It helps me and it hinders me. I can find recipes, activity ideas, mom forums, health advice, and fashion tips all while developing arthritis in my thumbs from scrolling. I can track my baby’s feeds, her poops and her development all on a new app. Technology, in many ways, has made things easier for parents. It is all about finding the right balance.

I don’t yet have any older children or teenagers. For those of you who do, I would love advice on how to create tech balance in my home. It is never too early to be prepared. Cheers!

#babies #cellphones #realtalk #technology

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