Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies,
I posted a poll on my Instagram yesterday asking that if it is was possible for a homeschool mom who is physically present with her children most of the day, to still be ‘absent’. The majority of you, (90%!) agreed, and I’d have to say I would absolutely agree too.
SO why did I ask this question? Well, its something that you probably won’t find on blogs by veteran homeschool moms, because its something they didn’t really experience. Because the type of distraction I’m talking about is that of social media; perhaps the biggest culprit in this day and age.
I remember listening to a talk a few months back about how the CEO of a company used to request meeting attendees to hand over their phones, which would be returned to them after the meeting was finished. He admitted that the executives didn’t take this too well but he continued to do it anyway. And why? Purely because he knew that as soon as the meeting would pause for a break, attendees would go straight for their phones rather than speak to each other.
That got me thinking about myself. Am I guilty of this, even though I’m with my children most of the day? And I’ll the first to admit, yes, I have fallen in this trap. I’ve had days where I’ve been with my kiddos all day, but I’ve gotten into bed at night feeling discontent because although I’d been physically present with them, I didn’t feel like I was mentally present.
I found myself teaching and getting things done, but when I had those empty pockets of time that were in-between the checklist boxes I would reach for my phone – even though at times I knew there was nothing to see…
And by no way am I saying that homeschool moms must be immersed in what their children are doing every second of the day, all day, every day! Not at all! But rather, there seems to be an assumption that being mindfully present will happen by default if you are physically present but that is not necessarily true. Rather being present is a conscious effort that we must make, and it’s not something we should assume just happens.
Now, im not talking about capturing the moment as such and in no way is this post intended to make anyone feel bad! I myself, like many of you capture snips of our days to document our beautiful homeschool journeys and also to share and help out other Mamas who are looking for ideas. The act of capturing the memory is not so much the issue…it’s the aftermath.
The aftermath of
instantly capturing and sharing without having enjoyed the moment fully…
the need to look at our phone to respond to likes, shares and comments in the middle of being with our children, regardless of whether we are teaching or not…
logging onto social media for no reason which can easily lead to just mindless scrolling.
All of these things add up. Not only do they take a little bit away from the moment itself, especially if you’ve shared quicker than you can say ‘homeschool‘, but you’d be surprised just how much time it takes up of your day.
And what impact does being a distracted homeschool mom have on our day? Surely, it can’t be that bad right? Well, lets put the stats aside and even the kids aside and really reflect on a day where we’ve felt we’ve browsed a little too much.
It’s a well-known fact that excessive screen time leads to disruptive sleep, which can lead to weight gain and irritability, thus affecting physical and emotional health.
And when those pockets of time are all filled with our phone, when does Mama get time to fill her spiritual cup? Nurturing our emaan is crucial as mothers, as we set the tone for our homes. Of course, looking after our families is ibaadah, but we also need to be careful not to neglect our own learning. Ramadan brings a sweetness of emaan because we adopt habits that are more beneficial, and one of the ways we do so is by cutting down on distractions hence digital detoxes do wonders.
And don’t forget, when too much time is given to things that may be beneficial, it’s eating up time from more beneficial things could have been doing. How many times do we convince ourselves we don’t have time to work out, eat well, pursue hobbies, memorise Qur’an alongside our kiddos, or read more….whereas in most cases we actually do. It’s usually more to do with how we have prioritised things that aren’t the main priority over those that are. Like the saying goes, there’s no such thing as time management, just self-management.
And what impact does it have on our kiddos, when they only feel we’re only fully available during teaching hours.
Well, I’m sure many of you like myself encourage play and limit screen usage for our kids. For a mama trying to encourage positive habits when it comes to electronic devices, being glued to our phones doesn’t set the best example.
Remember the talk I spoke about earlier, about the CEO? Well, he explained the very notion of having our phones next to us, even when not using it, shows an unhealthy attachment. It gives a vibe off to those around us that ‘i’m with you until it rings, but the moment it goes off I’m gone.’ Do we really want our kiddos to feel that way about us?
So, how do we use social media in a positive way? Heres a few tips I’ve tried and maybe you can too.
Share moments after you’ve shared them with your loved ones fully.
If you need to capture a moment before its gone, take the picture then put your phone back in your pocket!
Respond to messages etc at a time when you’ve fulfilled your main tasks.
Break the habit of keeping your phone next to you at all times, it really helps in breaking the unhealthy dependency and shows our kids we can survive without technology!
Fill up those pockets of time with more beneficial things like simply enjoying your kids without capturing anything, picking up your Mushaf, reading books, or simply lying doing dhikr whilst lying down.
I’ll leave it as that, though I feel I could say much more! Hope this post serves as a reminder for myself and fellow Mamas. If you’d like to share your own tips and experiences, please comment below.
“Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present, which seldom happens to US“