That one time when my toddler taught me a life lesson

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I learned a valuable lesson this week. My husband has been trying to teach me this lesson for a long time but I chose to ignore him. This week it finally sank in when my son picked up my iPhone and threw it across the room.

I have added a lot to my plate lately, trying to stay busy but also trying to avoid that four year resume gap, which will be waiting for me when I arrive back in South Carolina. This is a legitimate fear of a lot of women, who have moved around the world on their spouses assignment.

I can see it now… Sitting in an interview and the HR person say “O I see your last job ended in 2012 and you haven’t worked since then. Why is that?” This is easily explained: I was a mom (the one job I believe to be the most difficult but most rewarding), I traveled the world to broaden my horizons, and I blogged. I can imagine to an employer I sound pretty lame. They might think I have had an exciting life but I’m a lame job candidate.

This fear is actually healthy because it has become the fire under my butt to keep me from being sedentary. Fear has pushed me to explore new opportunities, discover which type of work I enjoy most and which type of people and nationalities I enjoy working with.

I have become so busy and involved, it is hard to step back and remember I have other things to do. Personally, I found it easier when I had a normal 9-5 job to unplug mentally when I left the office. Whatever emails I didn’t get to will be there tomorrow; I never put work on my cell phone and wouldn’t take a call regarding work when I was at home unless it was an emergency. When you work from home, it is a little different. I have found it extremely difficult to unplug and to know when to stop looking at the emails and “fixing” whatever problems that come up.

I didn’t see this as a problem really, I saw it as I was committed to what I was doing. As it turns out, there can come a point when you are overcommitted to something that doesn’t matter.

Most of us are guilty of this. We have been sucked into technology like a moth to the flame and we are powerless against it. Can anyone actually remember what life was like before we were on our phone all the time? Why is it so difficult not to check our phones every few minutes to see what others are doing, or the email that you have to respond to, and that text message that you told your husband “one second” which has now become a full conversation.

Please understand; I am not bashing technology or those of us who use it. I am also not blaming technology or social media for causing my fall into the abyss. This alone is my problem and my toddler made that very clear to me by throwing my iPhone across the room.

This simple gesture and look given by a child, who is on the autism spectrum and is nonverbal, came across loud in clear. “Stop playing on your phone and look at me! Play with me! Why is the phone more important than me! Help me to learn new words by talking to me and stop tapping that screen!”

Life lesson: There is nothing on social media, nothing in your email, nothing work related, nothing on the Internet that should come before the time spent with your family. Put down the device, turn off the TV, look at your loved one and ask them “how was your day?” or “what does the cow say!?”

As a result of this lesson learned: I have deleted all extra email accounts from my phone and will only be checking them when I am logged into my computer. When my son is home from school; there will be no more technology (for mommy). I choose to be in the moment with him to help him grow more to overcome his delays. When my husband is home; I will only be on my devices to write or blog, while he reads or plays video games so I can be connected to him and really listen to how he is doing.

Something so simple but so hard to do is to unplug and be in the moment. Try it… You might enjoy it. It feels liberating actually!

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3 comments

  1. Good & very interesting! Try not to go in over load Becky! Hey, send a picture of you three to us. Thanks. Be safe, blessed and enjoy your life. Gail R Few

  2. Becky; When your child is 13 and stays glued to the phone screen texting and what not that unplug lesson jumps out to bite you. Good going. Love y’all.


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