What is the longest amount of time you have gone without looking at your phone? An afternoon...an hour...do you even know? Its understandable to want to know and be connected with the things happening outside the four walls of your home. To do work to get ahead (or stay on top of things). To look at pictures and videos (or post some yourself). To read about what matters (or "matters").
Some self-awareness will do you some good.
Are you spacing out on your phone as your child is trying to get your attention? Are you spacing out on your phone as your child has a meltdown? Are you spacing out on your phone as your child figures out how to unlock the front door? It's okay to look at your phone. As the article below states, your kids do not require 100% of your focus. They can be age-appropriately independent for a bit.
But, when and why you are on your phone is telling as to what your priorities (and maybe deficiencies) are at the time. Take the time to engage with your kids. Model to them how to handle their emotions. Teach them how to talk with others, about manners, about wants and needs. Make them feel wanted, loved and encouraged.
Remember, though, you need the same. It's about creating healthy boundaries. On the whole, we don't function better when pulled many ways, but we do need the many parts of our life present in order to function. Do your best to create time for each part. We are raising little people to be healthy and well-rounded. Model that in yourself, show that you struggle with it and are working on improvement constantly and encourage your kids to do the same. Give them the attention, patience and space you also need in your non-parent self.
You love your kid. You love your kid more than you ever thought you could. It's one of the magical and impressive parts of being a parent -- watching your heart grow to immeasurable sizes and seeing that your heart now resides outside of your body and in this little human being. You love your kid. So, it makes sense that you want to share with friends, family, and unknown others how incredible it is that there is this adorable baby/toddler/child in your life. Share those memories. Share those pictures. Share those videos. But be mindful of what you are sharing and how that may impact your child later on.
There are times when we need to leave our kids for a bit: we have to go to work, we have to go to the grocery store, we have to take a shower...at different times in the toddler years, this can make a child nervous. While they might understand you aren't leaving forever, you being gone for even a little bit can feel like too much for them. Creating a routine with your toddler, developing a calm and simple way of explaining where and why you are going and then reminding your toddler you will be back can make the situation move from chaos to manageable in their minds.
Parents, understand that we all go through this stage. It is hard for both the kids and the parents. Its tiresome. Its frustrating. Its sad. It will get better and you will both survive...but its tough.
Sometimes as parents, no matter how often we tell ourselves that tomorrow we are going to be more prepared, more focused, more patient....we wake up and forget. We go to sleep so tired from a hard day at work, a long day with toddlers, a stressful day with finances, a failed day of health promises. We have the best intentions to get everything done so we can wake up as if we've hit a reset button. Unfortunately, good intentions can often turn into bad shame. We become upset with ourselves that we could not do more, do better and that in turn makes us irritable, short-tempered, and late. Our kids then see how we "cannot" handle things and become great students of our chaotic emotions and behaviors. Keep the cycle going, kids.
You are doing a good job, parents. Mom, you are doing your best even if you believe with everything you are that you can do better. Dad, you are doing your best even if you believe with everything you are that you can do better. You are doing a good job, parents.
Life gets infinitely sweeter with children and infinitely more debilitating. There are days when it seems equal and days when one out-weighs the other. You will get through this. Today this was your best. Tomorrow your best will be another level. Your best is not a bar that stays in one place. It moves. And thankfully! Each day we have a different level of energy, effort, ability and awareness to parent and to survive everything else. Be mindful of where that bar is. Be kind to yourself and know it will keep changing. And we are all going through it with you.
"You can't change what you refuse to confront."
There is an idea that therapy is easy. You sit on the couch, you open up about what is on your mind and you leave lifted. In, out, problem solved...great clarity achieved...mood improved. While the ultimate goal is for you to have your mood and outlook improved as well as having a feeling of increased control over your concerns, what some either forget or do not linger on is that therapy is actually a challenge at times. Fitting seeing as what we are going through is a challenge at times. In order to come out the other side of a difficult situation, or string of difficult situations, we need to be open and honest about the situation. We need to get into the details. You know, those parts of the issue that often we'd rather not discuss because its too hard or uncomfortable. That time on the couch is valuable. Use it to get to the meat of the issue. When therapy feels tough or leaves us feeling emotions afterward that we hadn't intended, its our minds working through the situation that brought us there to begin with. Its PROGRESS. Its a good thing. Its not a comfortable or easy thing all of the time, but stick with it. You'll get to the other side.
"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
A healthier, happier you.