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Within the squares of social media, mothers can be made to feel less than adequate if they are not an organised housewife, not setting up creative and educational activities to do with their kids or not always getting out of the house doing things worthy of an Instagram snap.
Just the other day I was watching my children play at the park, myself beaming as the smiles on their faces were so wide as they ran, climbed and jumped. I caught myself observing another child, a primary school aged child who was also running, climbing and jumping but all whilst she was holding her phone.
She was spinning whilst filming herself, going down the slide whilst filming herself, moving her phone to get a better angle. At one point she crashed into her friends at the bottom of the slide, in fits of laughter but instead of engaging with her friends she was engaged in her phone.
I am all for technology and what is has given us and what it continues to give us, but it saddens me as to what we have lost. Those memories may be captured on social media but were they truly engaged and fulfilled?
I looked across at my children, younger than this girl, (obviously not yet at the age to have their own mobile phone) engaged in their moment of play, playing for the joy, playing with pure excitement.
Are moments taken for granted for how it looks to others, the angle we project to others? What will people remember? Looking back on the photos will they remember the fun of play and the feeling of joy? How will they reflect on those memories created in a chaotic world?
I often find myself looking at my phone rather than engaging. Something I am guilty of, trying to manage and balance other aspects of my life rather than truly being present in the moment, too busy.
This moment at the park the other day looking at the primary school aged girl made me really think about me, the mother, the person who my children will remember. I nearly always have my phone nearby to capture memories, to share with family or to watch over and over again with my kids (not just once….multiple times!).
But will they remember the times we took thousands of photos just to get the right angle, the right shot? Or will they remember the times we were playing PJ Masks with Luna girl chasing Gecko and Owlette and there was an action shot taken?
Or a photo taken after the chaos resembling a moment of pure joy (and exhaustion on Mummy’s behalf from all that running! Seriously these kids are like Energizer bunnies sometimes!).
Quality is much more important than quantity.
There are so many times that I need to refocus and remind myself of this. Our phones are attached to us and as a result we lose our ability to play, our ability to completely engage. We don’t need to set up creative and educational activities to rival those on Instagram, our children just want us. They want us to play, to engage.
It might mean turning off your social media for the weekend to refocus or turning off your work emails to engage, to stay connected.
Who and what will they remember?
Create those memories that cannot be replaced.