Put The Phone Away

It never ceased to amaze me, how my tiny baby practically came out of the womb fascinated by screens and technology. She has always been intrigued by the TV, trying desperately to see around whatever obstacle is in her way. And she constantly reached for any cell phone within her grasp, despite the fact that she’d never seen what they can actually do.

My husband and I are not the type of parents who use screen time as a babysitter. Our daughter has only seen our phones brought to life a handful of times in her ten months. Only sharing a YouTube video of Baby Shark with her, or teaching her how to play a short game of balloon popping from a Baby app when we were desperate to soothe her inconsolable cries.

So why has she always been fascinated by technology she’s never been allowed to use? How can someone as young as she know that these contraptions are so important?

I used to think maybe it was the colors, lights, or sounds that sparked her interest. But then a few days ago, I stumbled upon an article that filled me with sadness.

The author spoke about a study with cell phones, babies, and mothers. It was discussed how little ones were observed in public, smiling or making faces at their mothers. And each of those mothers remained distracted with their phones.

After a few minutes of trying to capture their uninterested mothers’ attention, the small children appeared visibly distressed. In some cases they even acted out after being ignored, as that seemed to be their only chance at receiving attention…

Reading that broke my heart. And I realized how many times I’d actually witnessed scenarios exactly like the one described in a restaurant or a grocery store. Perhaps even been one of those mothers a time or two without even realizing it…

I suppose we have to face the reality that our children are growing up in a digital world. I totally understand the addiction to today’s technology. And I am one hundred percent guilty of having a cell phone in my hands way more frequently than I should.

It’s hard not to with all of the benefits cell phones bring. Communication is so easy. I constantly snap photos on my phone of every moment with my beautiful little girl. Then I find myself sharing all the baby spam in texts, on Facebook, Instagram, my mom blog, etc…

I realized after reading that study about cell phones, it’s probably not just the lights, colors, and movements that intrigue my daughter. It’s also a reflection of how much she sees her mother, or anyone else in her life, obsessing over these tiny devices. If it’s so important to us, maybe she should be obsessed with it too.

It’s rather sad she learned this so quickly in the short time she’s been earth side…

If I could redo anything about these last ten months, it would only be to put my phone away more.

How many precious little moments did I miss with my daughter because of a screen in front of my eyes? How many times has she felt ignored by her mother, but couldn’t voice her concern to me?

What would be the harm in saving phone usage for nap times? It would allow me to give my growing baby a real human connection.

Why not put the phone away until lunch breaks at work, or until after my daughter has fallen asleep for the night? Then I can give her the motherly love and attention she deserves while she’s awake and in my company.

I wonder if these questions should have ever been something to cross my mind as a mother… These are options I should have been using all along for the sake of my child.

These last ten months have flown by in the blink of an eye for me. The baby stage and childhood only happen once.

Personally, I know I don’t want to miss another minute…

And so my beautiful baby girl, here is my new promise going forward:

I will put the phone away.

And I will be more present for you in this crazy, digital world.

Being A Parent Is The Greatest Adventure

Tonight I sat alone on the living room couch, watching my husband soothe our daughter to sleep on the glow of the baby monitor. I reflected on how being a parent is hands down the greatest adventure I have ever been a part of.

Sure, it has its ups and downs. Some days I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn. Some days I want to pull my hair out in frustration with a baby who won’t stop fussing. And sometimes I wonder if I’m doing everything wrong raising this tiny human…

It’s definitely one crazy ride.

But I always try to remind myself on difficult days that I will never get this time with my daughter back again. I wonder where the time has gone already when I look back on these last ten months.

I remember the first few weeks my daughter was earth side. How quickly she learned I was her go-to person. She always needed me, always wanted me. I was her walking, talking, warm and comforting food source.

I remember I was able to soothe her cries quicker than anyone. I was the person who could whisk her to dreamland with little to no effort. I was the one she stared at with wonder or awe in her eyes. And I was lucky enough to be the reason for her first smiles.

She was completely a mommy’s girl.

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My husband would sometimes become frustrated that she preferred me over him. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t calm her cries as quickly, or put her to sleep as I did.

I understood his frustrations, and every once in awhile, I wished someone else could rock her to sleep so I could have a break.

But for the most part I secretly reveled in the fact that I was her lifeline. I felt on top of the world that I meant so much to this tiny human already, at just a few weeks old…

I remember holding my daughter and crying when she was just a few weeks old, knowing these precious newborn moments couldn’t last forever. She wouldn’t always be so small. She wouldn’t always rely on her mother.

I knew I would never get that day, or any of the precious past days back. She would never again be as little as she was in that moment…

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Then in the blink of an eye, ten months passed. About a week ago, the tables turned.

My daughter suddenly refused to let anyone hold her to sleep other than my husband, not even myself. All of a sudden when she wakes crying in the middle of the night, it’s my husband’s strong, comforting touch on her back she’s seeking. He is the only one who can soothe her wailing and put her back to sleep…

I thought to myself, when did things change so abruptly? When did she turn ten months old and become such a daddy’s girl? She already seemed to no longer need me as much. At least not at this current moment in time.

I’ve heard so many others say babies go through stages. Sometimes they prefer their mother, and other times they need their father. I, for one, can’t wait for my daughter to prefer her mother’s cuddles before bed once more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see my husband triumph now! To succeed in the little things when it comes to parenting, as I once did just a few months ago.

But the slight difference in parental preference at night serves as a reminder of just how quickly time passes and changes… How short these last ten months were. How fleeting the baby years are in general.

Even eighteen years of childhood are so very brief when you actually think about it. In the blink of an eye, one day I am my child’s hero, while the next day my husband is. One day I’ll be helping her learn to walk, the next I’ll be watching her head off to college…

So tomorrow morning when my daughter wakes, I will hug her a little tighter. I will embrace every stage of her life. Each milestone in her childhood as it happens, even the difficult ones.

Because one day she will wake up and no longer need me as much at all. And one day she won’t need my husband as much either. That’s the beauty of this parenting adventure. Doing the best you can to raise a little human being in the time you are given.

So soak it all in moms and dads! Do your best to enjoy this fast-paced, chaotic adventure, full of learning experiences and growing pains for all. You’re doing the best you can. You’re not alone.

And just remember, it won’t last forever.

There’s only one part of this adventure that I know will always remain constant. Maybe it’s the most important…

I will always remember my daughter as she is right now. Beautiful. Ever-changing. Full of life. Youthful… My baby, forever.

And nothing will ever change this love my whole heart holds for her. A powerful mother’s love that adapts with each new season of both her life and my own. A love like no other I’ve ever felt before.

This is the greatest adventure.

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