We get 18 delicious summers with our children. This is one of your 18. If that is not perspective, I don’t know what is. – Jessica Scott
This quote floats around the internet each summer and strikes me harder with each passing year. I’m on my 7th summer with my daughter and the first with my twins. While we are only in the first couple of weeks, judging by the dwindling storage on my iPhone, the number of Instagram posts and Facebook likes I have made, I wonder; is it possible that I’m on my phone too much? Whether it’s to take a picture, read my email, or reply to texts; I have come to the realization that I need to be more present.
This means putting the phone down, unplugging, and living in the here and now. Everything else can wait.
Our children are only little for so long, and only truly need us for a short period. This hits hardest for the parents who are going through school transitions (children going off to kindergarten, middle or high school, and of course…college). The end of these types of summers are especially hard, as we not only lose our summer days with them but we also have to give our children developmental independence and metaphorically let them go.
We need to enjoy every second…even the terribly hard seconds when they are screaming and tantruming over the smallest of things like who gets the last cherry Popsicle, all we can do is love them through it.
All too shortly, the summer will be over and we will be back to setting alarm clocks and tossing some sort of breakfast at our children so we can run out the door to make it to school and work on time. Soon we will once again be packing lunches and laying out outfits on weeknights, so that we’re not rushing around every morning looking for socks or their favorite shirt. And, in the blink of an eye, our sweet babes will be spending the majority of the daylight hours away from us once again.
A way to get the unplugging done and stick to it is to make an “unplugging plan.” My personal plan will look like the following for the summer:
No phone at the meal table, ever.
No phone from 12-2.
No phone from dinner until they go to bed.
No phone during family vacation until the kids are in bed.
So, while it seems hard to step away from the phone, unplugging for the summer is truly the best gift you can give your children. These are the moments you will cherish for a lifetime.
Be present. Be mindful. Give your children the best summers, not only because the family desires it, but, because you only get 18.
Melissa was born and raised in Fairfield County. She currently lives in Stamford with her husband and their 6 year old daughter and their boy/girl twins born December 2018. She works for a pediatric group in Fairfield as a mental health therapist, a job she truly loves, and is thankful for the children she sees day to day that keep her hip, cool, and in the know of all things adolescent. She spends most of her free time going on dates with her handsome hubby, nature walks and playgrounds with the kiddos, snuggling her sweet puppy, and spending way too much money at Target.