As a working from home mom, it seems I am never far from my computer or phone. WIth my work, I am on call a lot, even if not actually working. I am waiting for work to come in and it has to be done quickly. So I get to spend a lot of time with my daughter, but she often feels like she is competing for my attention.
For years, I was so desperate for work that I made myself available every hour of every day, except for Sunday mornings when we were at church. And the one or two days I did take off every year, I spent worrying about missing work. As a business owner, if I am not working, I don’t get paid.
Then last year we went to visit a dear friend of mine. I took my computer with me most days and we often had to stop what we are doing so I could do a bit of work. It wasn’t much of a vacation. I even sat outside the local library at 11:00 at night to use their wi-fi!
We spent 3 days at the beach on that trip. One morning, I told my daughter that it was going to be just us 3 girls that day. No phone, no computer, no work making us stop and wait. Her entire face lit up as she jumped up and yelled YAY!
That was the best day we had in a long time. We played until we were exhausted and laughed more than I can tell you. We spent hours playing in the ocean waves and riding rides on the boardwalk. It was pure joy.
My daughter now asks me to leave my phone at home. I can’t always oblige, but I have found that one of the best things I can do (for BOTH of us) is to take that time together, completely unplugged. At mealtimes I take a break and don’t bring my phone to the table. And when we go on outings, if I can take the time away, I do. I tell her ahead of time that this outing is just her and me, no phone, no computer.
Whether it’s a whole day off on vacation or an hour at the park, these times reassure her that SHE has my full attention and will always be more important than any work.