People get so upset with me if I forget to take my cell phone with me or if I call back without listening to their voicemail first. A phone is a phone not my life and not my leash. I like being “out of pocket” every once in a while. It’s crazy how people respond “What if something happens and someone needs to get a hold of you?!” Then I’ll get it when I look at my phone or it’ll fall the way that it’s meant to be. But I don’t have to be hooked up to my phone 24/7. It’s scary how dependent most people have become to thier cell phones. I love mine don’t get me wrong but I would rather engage in face to face interaction or spend quality time with you rather than be at your beck and call 😉

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There was something to be said for the old-fashioned landline, with a handset so bulky, you had to tuck it between your neck and shoulder to get your hands free. They didn’t — couldn’t — go everywhere with us. Now we’re tethered to our mobiles — addicted, even. They’ve become handy tools for avoidance, and it’s our children who are getting the bad end of the deal.

All around me, I see parents with their babies and toddlers and young kids — but not with them. The grownups are on the phone. The dad pushing his son on the swing set while hands-free on his mobile isn’t really with his child. The mom pushing her baby in a pram while she’s yakking on the phone isn’t really with her child.

The kids aren’t too happy about it. They’re pulling on their parents’ clothes. They’re yanking on their arms. They’re acting out to get attention. I’ve heard them begging their parents to stop, disconnect. I’ve watched children start to whimper the minute the mobile is picked up — off the dinner table. During dinner. The son of a friend of mine recently announced, at age 10, that he hates cell phones. Actually, he will tell you he hates technology. IPads don’t fool him. Neither does texting. He understands that his father can never get away from his work — and the office won’t get away from his father. He sees the phone, and he thinks, I’ve lost my dad’s attention. And that’s what children crave: attention. We all do.

Parents have to break the phone habit before it is too late. I’m not talking about getting extreme here — no phone calls around a child, ever. But I am talking about giving more thought to all the missed opportunities for communicating with a child. For simply being with her. Quietly. I was pleased to find the blog of a young mother from Alabama, Rachel Stafford, who has started an aptly titled campaign called Hands Free Mama, encouraging parents to put away the tech toys and be present with their children.

Is being a parent boring? Sometimes. Lots of times. And guess what.

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