We Have to Unplug to Recharge
written by Alison Tedford
I’m a busy working mom. I’m doing the best that I can. I work outside of the home at a day job, I pick up my kid, come home, have dinner, and start my next shift as a freelance writer.
When I describe myself as a busy working mom, I realize the most important word in that sentence is the last one: MOM. My son is proud of what I do, but at the end of the day, he needs me to show up for him personally in the same way I show up for people professionally. He needs me even more so.
He knows I’m busy, but even my cheerful, easy-going child has his limits. He has carved out boundaries around what areas of his life my “busy” and my business cannot encroach.
He has rules about “snuggle time” or “NO PHONE SNUGGLE TIME” as he subtly calls it. He uses those words in case there was any confusion as to whether electronic devices are welcome in our daily cuddles. We lay in the darkness together peacefully.
He says things like “Lets just lay here and talk about our lives until we fall asleep.” I agree and say, “That’s awesome because your teacher left a note in your planner I wanted to discuss.” In the darkness, I can hear his little voice say, “Never mind.”
He giggles. He lives for our playful banter, gentle ribbing and the way his bony ribs dig into my side when he leans in for a big old hug. I hold him close before I shoo him off to his own bed so I can get some more work done.
One weekend he was in for a very big treat. We went on a road trip somewhere there was no signal or service at all. We had no laptop. It was just the three of us. We played games. We played pretend. He built forts out of the hotel bedding and furniture. He was so excited to have my undivided attention that he was positively gleeful.
24 hours unplugged doesn’t seem like much of a concession, but to my child, it was the greatest gift I could ever give him. It was a bit of a kick in the teeth to realize that something that small could make him that happy. And what kind of mom did that make me? I felt like a failure. But I remember…
I’m a busy working mom. I’m doing my best to show up for my kid like I do everybody else in my life. I’m doing the best that I can.
I’m a busy working mom – of a little boy who just wants his mama’s attention, teasing and snuggles without the chirp of an email or the beep of a Facebook notification. He wants my face to light up like my smartphone screen when he walks in the room.
This little boy of 8 years old taught me the best way to connect was to unplug and that was his gift to me. I need to spend less time charging my phone batteries and more time charging my spiritual batteries. The only FaceTime he wants is time with my actual face. And when I look into his eyes I can see he understands.
He understands that I’m a busy working mom and I’m doing the best that I can. For that I’m grateful, every day, and for the opportunity to show up for him at the end of each day (without my phone, because it’s snuggle time).
Alison Tedford is a freelance writer from Abbotsford, BC. She writes about motherhood, mental health and moving your body on Sparkly Shoes and Sweatdrops.