I remember being a young, single, kid free woman sitting at Centennial Park several years ago. This park has awesome fountains that several kids had “accidentally” jumped in. I watched as their mom let them laugh and play and I dreamed of my future when I would have my own babies to watch.
What I remember most about this scene though is how desperately the little boy wanted his mama to watch him. He would play, splash, and giggle with his whole heart and then turn around to find his mama’s approval.
Only when he looked at her, she was looking down.
She was looking at something that seemed to matter more to her than his laughter, her cell phone. It broke my heart to see the disappointment on his face as he ran to her and said “put down your phone, mama.” At that moment I said what all people without kids say “I will never do that to my kids.”
Fast forward five years and I have my own bambino now. I love my baby with all that I am. Recently I was nursing her and like normal I had my phone scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, catching up on what happened the night before. She stopped nursing so I glanced at her to make sure she was okay. When I looked, she was just lying there staring at me with a huge smile across her face. And I had no idea why.
And in that instant I realized I was that other mama. My heart melted and broke all in the same instant.
Your babies want to see your smile. They want to look for you and find you looking at them, with as much love and attention as you give your phone. When they take their first steps, finally master the art of jumping rope, hit that home-run, or finally read all their sight words, they want to know you were watching. That you valued them enough to give them all of you when you are with them.
Your friend from down the hall in college is not going to miss you on Instagram. The person you don’t even know that you’re spending 20 minutes creeping on Facebook is not more valuable than the little life you are responsible for.
Live the moments you have right now. They go by way too fast to miss because you were watching other people live their lives. Put down your phone, mama.