There's a lot of things people can be addicted to. Most commonly, you hear of food addictions, drug addictions, alcohol addictions, video games, gambling and so on.
I'm not addicted to what are considered "traditional" or obvious things to have an addiction to, which makes it harder to acknowledge or even admit the problem.
I'm addicted to my phone. To social media. To always being "in the know." And to always doing. My phone is a constant presence... even though I have it on silent, I'm tapping to light up the screen for missed updates, PM chat bubbles and beyond, regularly.
I don't recall when exactly it happened. Probably shortly after I started blogging. It's impossible for me to ignore notifications: "What if it's a comment I *need* to respond to?" I'd justify it as I checked out of whatever I was in the middle of doing.
My twitter feed is my news feed. I follow a shit-ton of political figures and am generally hittin' up twitter hourly just to make sure I didn't miss some breaking news, and if I did, what it was, what everyone is saying about it, and where I can find the latest articles and blogs on what's going on.
Aside from my blog, and since being a mom, I'm now in intimate groups of friends with kids (not necessarily "mom groups"), but small chats and groups where we ask for advice as friends, and plan get-togethers, and talk about politics and parenting.
It's hard for me to check out, and yet, each day I become more and more conscious of this issue, especially as AB gets older and is more aware of my phone use. I don't take my phone into the dining room with me anymore and I make sure we have family dinner most nights at the dining room table, where we aren't watching a cartoon, baseball, or scrolling through our phones.
And while this sounds minimal, and common sense, and basic parenting 101, it's something I have to work at. I have to work at not being selfish. It's something that doesn't come naturally. I love AB. But AB also can't joke with me about the apocalypse or get deep with me on Game of Thrones theories. That's not her fault. She shouldn't have to. The onus is on me to be an engaged parent, to build princess castles without hitting refresh on my phone, to color with her, to bake with her, to talk to her, with undivided attention.
And as much as I want to say that comes naturally easy for me, it doesn't. My mind constantly races throughout the day. Whether it's about all the things I want to write, or all of the things I want to read, and finding a balance, or even a way to shut that off at home is something that has become a daily goal for me.
And it's also a topic that's sensitive. You know when you have a problem, you don't like it being pointed out. It's a natural defense mode. Especially when the outlet is how you manage your stress and anxiety.
Today I made a concentrated effort to have my phone away from me for most of the day (sitting in my purse, or out of reach). I'd say it was a good effort. Hubs left at 4 a.m. for a hike, meaning I'm on full AB duty today -- no one to pick up my slack. Up at 7, we had confetti waffles together before we met up with a friend at the mall play area. I left my phone in her backpack. I survived. Next we ventured to my parents' house so AB could play with her grandparents and we went and got a full-on breakfast with them. I wasn't great with my phone during the meal -- I was waiting to hear back on if I could schedule a last-minute haircut. After breakfast, we came back to the house and popped in "How to Train a Dragon." I'm not full of energy these days, but 10 minutes in, I determined this was not going to be a full day of vegging and minimal interaction with AB. I turned off the movie, took AB to the book store and then to the dollar store where we bought tons of crafts for cheap, and came back and painted outside and played with the water table (I snapped a few photos and placed my phone inside). After the fun, we hit up a bubble bath before AB curled up on the couch on her own and asked for Beauty and the Beast. She's now taking a nap while I write this and get mac and cheese going for dinner. (The organic kind of course.)
And, I'm feeling good about our day. I felt like I really focused on AB (which is what she deserves and needs), and yet, I shouldn't have to feel accomplished. This should just be every day. It's not like you're supposed to be patting yourself on the back when you do the basic parenting duties.
But, I share this with you because I know a lot of us are in this age of technology and social media, and I think a lot of us find ourselves struggling with this balance. It's really hard to be a parent. It's a lot of sacrifice, and not that it's not worth it and that your kids don't deserve it, but it's a lot of "you" sacrifice, and it's still something I'm learning how to do.