So before I even start writing here I will say this ….. I love Technology any yes for me I have a small addiction with my computer, cell phone, and TV and up until a few months ago I have an ongoing affair with my iPad “Martin”. But I began to realize that my son has my same addiction that I had and it was something that I did not what to see in my child. Now don’t get me wrong I did have TV limits and limits on the iPad, set for him and I thought that most days I did a good job sticking to those limits but let’s face it I’m a single mom who works all day and sometimes, like all of us are, I’m just tired at the end of the day and need a little time to myself.
But one day in the dead of winter my son said to me “Mom if I can’t have time on the phone you can’t either” and I have to say it was one of those moments that you cringe and know that the child has a point and more then that he is right. I needed time limits on myself.
So I’m making some changes not only for my son but I’m begrudgingly trying to make them for myself as well. I started out going cold turkey when we went away for the weekend to see our good friend Toby and Jen in Southern VT for a “Technology Free Weekend.” Now I confess I went away because I was not sure that the two of us at home for the weekend in January in Vermont, would make it, or more to the point I would not have to breake the rule myself, which I know I would have.
The thing about Toby and Jen’s (beside them being really really cool people and being at their house) is they don’t have a lot of technology and I can’t get cell service. In fact, Toby up until about 5 years ago, was writing his magazine articles for the “Woody Times,” old car magazine, on a computer that he got in 1982. But I digress.
More to the point the weekend taught me about myself and the relationship that I have or want to have with my son, that weekend was just that about being together.
We played with blocks, trucks, read books, played with that dogs, played outside learned to cook chicken pot pie, work in the wood shop and I even learned that my son likes to play scrabble. Yes it was a very full weekend and we didn’t even leave the house. But it made me realize that once again it is about the time I can spend with my child and make the different between that relationship that I have now and in the future with my child. Let me say here again that I’m a single mom and I don’t always have my kid and frankly I’m not sure what is like to parent with another person because that is not my situation. So feel free to tell me I’m wrong here but I realize it is not the amount of time that I have with my child, it is the time that I want to have with my child and it is that small amount of time I want to make count.
I once read that on average the amount of time a parent spends with their child a day is 11 minutes. 11 minutes! And that was some time back in the 90’s before cell phones and iPads and all that Jazz. Frankly if that is me I’m doing a really crap job as the parent that I want to be. And I think I was being that crap parent for a while there, I was relying on technology too much to give me a break. Then when my son was at his Dad’s, I would complain to friends that I did not have enough time with him. The realization is that I was giving the time that I did have away to technology, and I don’t want do that anymore.
So we have been home for a month and even though I’m no longer going totally without technology we are not so friendly anymore. Martin is no longer sleeping with me at night, the cell phone hangs out with the toaster most nights, and on the weekends the TV does not go on till the sun goes down and then it is only on for an hour….. At least this is want I’m aiming for. I have tried to play more with my child ever when I’m tired and would love a break and I’m trying to teach him to play by himself more which is fun to see. To be honest my son is not too happy about the whole change but we are still in negotiations of sorts, and I have heard the word “when do I get to go to Dad’s” a few too many times in the last month. It has been a little rough and I kind of miss Martin…..