I had a pretty big reality check last week.
Tannah and Willow were playing a game where Willow was the Mum and Tannah was her baby. Tannah said "Mama! Mama! I need you to come and help me!" and Willow replied with "not now! I'm busy with my phone."
I started to listen more closely as the game went on and it was basically Tannah trying to get Willow's attention and she kept blowing her off with "In a minute" or "when I finish my jobs" and the killer line was "Ugh! Can't you see I'm busy with my phone and don't want to play with you"
Harper has been really intense the last few weeks and I actually burst into tears at unschool group last week as I was talking about it. I'm exhausted with all of the tantrums and tears and anger and said it felt like I was being bullied by her. One of the wise women there said that it may be true-but what most bullies are really after is some extra attention and affection.
These things together made me realize that I have been running from the kids a bit lately. And it hasn't made mine or their lives any easier. Whilst I need some space at times, playing on my phone all day is not healthy for any of us. And it's not working.
I have been choosing to put my kids first every time they ask me for something when I am on my phone or the computer. I have been putting the phone away for large portions of the day and instead of running from the kids I'm trying to run to them.
It will surprise no one that not only am I getting lots done around the house (hello-I'm up to date on the washing!) but I have been so engaged with the kids these last few days and we are all gaining lots. My kids are awesome-it can be easy to forget how much when you are only half-present. Harper has been a little easier on me and the overall fighting seems to be less. I'm not saying we have turned into The brady bunch. This morning sucked and it was hard not to just switch off and run to twitter (which I did a little) but I have noticed a change in the attention seeking-as they have my attention.
I am reminding myself of one of my favorite quotes that "you are not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being".
I'm choosing to stay engaged and present, put the phone down and dive into the time I have with my kids.