I am getting fairly personal here, but hey that often makes for a good read doesn’t it. We tend to only post the magical moments online that would have it appear that family life is always easy and perfection, and that’s why I am ok posting this publicly. I believe in honest portrayals of our lives, especially now that people trust me to support them through their early parenting journeys.
So, below you will find my journal entry from this evening (I would simply post pictures of it if my handwriting were legible enough!), and my promise to my kids to unplug from my phone anytime they are awake for the next week. I hope to touch base again in a week’s time and tell you how amazing (and hard, and freeing, etc.) it was! Some of you might already do this, good on you, and some of you couldn’t dream of ever doing this, and there is absolutely no judgment or pressure from me either way. This is my journey.
February 17th 2017, 8:10pm
Hannah returned from swimming with Grant and came up to the room where Avery and I were resting. She was whispering every little part of her story…”I put a life jacket on and learned the doggy paddle!”. I stare at her and gobble it all up with eager eyes and an excited heart. Her bright eyed pride combined with her wet hair smelling of chlorine make me melt into her story. I’m so in love with her and her every little mannerism and action throughout. She peers over to my bedtime tray and eyes up my snacks, her shoulders raising inquisitively “I want an orange mummy” she says sweetly.
I cherish every second of our 5 minute pre-bedtime interaction while deep down hearing thoughts of regret for the moments I was too busy to notice her intricacies today. Whether it was updating my business to do list as items came to mind, hopping on the ‘follow friday’ post in a doula group to keep up supporting my fellow businesswomen, noticing and quickly reading a blog post with quotes from me about birth photography, etc. each of these were quick 30 second to 2 minute interactions with my phone and everything I do on there I see as important in the moment. Our generation is blessed and burdened with having our grocery lists, joint family to-do lists, recipes for supper that night, calendars, business emails, banking, etc. etc. all on one handy gadget. Of course the things we are doing feel important in the moment.
BUT imagine every lost glance, every unnoticed facial expression, every time she looks to me and sees the top of my head.
I know that we had a beautiful day, we read so many books, we coloured an incredible number of Celestia and Pinkie Pie characters together, we cuddled all three of us (Hannah, Avery, and I) for nap, and we built a massive fort and even hid the three of us in it laughing quietly at how loud Avery was and that he was going to give us away for TEN whole minutes waiting for Grant to find us when he got home, looking downstairs then upstairs and even peeking in the backyard before poking his head in with a smile.
So I am not sitting here feeling like a bad mother by any means, this isn’t about guilt, I am just questioning the new norm I’ve allowed to develop and whether I’m ok with how it might feel to her and how it is starting to feel unsettling to me. The only way to really know how I feel about it is to see how it feels without it.
So, I vow to unplug for the next week. It isn’t going to be easy as there are huge new and exciting developments with my business that I will be itching to act on. An invitation came in to run a joint workshop with someone in the community I admire, I signed up to host my first table at a meet the doula event, and am having professional headshots taken and will want to be checking constantly for them to land in my inbox.
But, I am realizing there will always be new things that come up that seem imminent, but Hannah will never be 3 years old again and Avery will never be 3 months old again.
I know that I am struggling to find balance in setting up my dream business, one that may in fact allow me to be with children more, and just being with my kids now on my maternity leave.
Not every quiet moment is an opportunity to move ahead with my business. Quiet moments should also be savoured, to just stare at them and enjoy them when they don’t need anything from me, and to just breathe it all in.
For the next week, I will not have my phone even near me when my kids are awake.
I promise this to myself, I promise this to you Hannah, and I promise this to you Avery.