I pledge to be more present with my daughter this summer
As a blogger of The Mama Notes, much of my life centers around the internet and my laptop. I spend countless hours working from home on my laptop writing articles, searching for new products to share and responding to emails. I spend even more time on my iPhone documenting my life through Instagram stories and other social media.
The line between work and family life is often blurred and since becoming a mother I have been more conscious about making the distinction. It does not help that many of the things I like to do for pleasure are online as well— like browsing Pinterest or reading other blogs! Lately, with my heavy workload it seems that the line no longer exists. My daughter Piper starts school for the first time in September and I want to spend as much time as I can with her this summer. So I have a renewed commitment to balancing my time with my daughter and how I use technology.
The 5 ground rules
Here are five ground rules I have set for myself and shared with my husband so he can help hold me accountable.
1. Make the most of our mornings.
Mornings can be symbolic of new beginnings, and a time to set intentions for the day. But my current morning routine is a stark contrast. My typical morning starts immediately as I hop onto my laptop, sipping my coffee while my daughter drinks her milk and plays in the living room. Perhaps many can relate to this scenario. And it’s a challenge because I find that I’m much more productive in the morning. I’m able to accomplish many tasks before I dress and get ready for the day. Instead, I pledge to enjoy this quiet time with my daughter and actually play WITH her before the work day starts, it’s usually 6am after all! Piper’s so cuddly in the morning and really loves to snuggle up and read books while she’s drinking her milk or cooking up ‘breakfast’ in her play kitchen!
2. Set working hours and stick to them.
Like many working mothers, I am known for working right up until we eat dinner with my family, even as I cook! It is so easy to bring my laptop upstairs and keep responding to emails or finishing up blog posts, but this has to stop. With all of the scheduling tools I’ll be using, I can keep normal business hours from 9-5 and confidently call it quits at 5 PM every day, reserving from 7-9 for any work that needs to be finished up a few nights a week.
Using the TeuxDeux app on my desktop and iPhone will help me better organize my daily and weekly tasks. I love this app because the interface is super simple and clean and your unfinished tasks automatically transfer to the next day if you do not complete them. Another helpful tool is the Pomodoro Technique which increases your productivity by structuring your work day around 25 minute blocks of work followed by a 5-minute break. I plan to use these 5 minute breaks as my only time during the day to browse social media.
Quality time with Piper is the goal of my commitment to being more present with her this summer. I can’t wait to have fun with Piper in the kitchen (she loves to help cook), try out new art projects before dinner and take evening trips to our neighborhood pool. Piper's at such a fun age where we can do so much more together that we weren't able to last summer. I love to enjoy all of these new experiences through her eyes and see her excitement and joy.
3. Manage my tendencies for distraction and keep work in the office.
This is a pretty simple concept that I just need to stick with! The reality is that as working parents, we have very little time with our children before we put them to bed at night. For Piper, her curtain call is 7 PM! I love our winding down process which starts with a long bath, reading several books together and putting all of her babies to bed. Slowing down and having some quiet play together is also calming and peaceful to me and a wonderful way to end a stressful day. I pledge to plug my phone in next to my bed so it is out of sight, out of mind. The same concept goes for my laptop - work stays in my office and does not need to be at the kitchen table or living room couch anymore. If I’m making a recipe for Piper’s dinner that I want to share on my blog site, The Mama Notes, I can jot it down in a notebook and take care of uploading it to my website the next morning!
4. Go on a social media detox on the weekends.
I often have to work on the weekends for my wedding floral business which sometimes only leaves me with one full day with my daughter. In order to really focus on her and my family I have decided to implement a no-social media rule for the weekends. This will be no easy task because the weekends are when I often see the highest engagement on Instagram!
My recommendation to parents who want to attempt a weekend social media detox is to turn off any alerts so that you’re not tempted to peruse your feeds. I have to admit, this will be tough.
I’m so looking forward to giving Piper my undivided attention — we are starting gymnastics classes this summer and I can’t wait to see how she does!
Piper's at such a fun age where we can do so much more together that we weren't able to last summer. I love to enjoy all of these new experiences through her eyes and see her excitement and joy.
Caitlin Kruse, Blogger
5. Live in the moment.
Something I often forget about social media is it does not need to happen live. If we are out doing something fun I want to share on Instagram, my new plan is to not post live. Instead stick to my scheduling routine and have everything pre-planned. This means when we are out and about I can capture photos of my daughter and save them to my phone to post for later. Luckily, I have a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus to store many photos/videos and a Mophie case to make sure I never run out of battery when I need it!
Time is so fleeting with parenthood, and as I look back at all of the thousands of photos I have taken of Piper over the last two years I feel so grateful I was able to easily document all the special moments on my phone, on my blog, and my social media networks. In many ways, technology has enabled me to document my daughter’s growth, connect with my readers, and ultimately do what I love.