“Mom, you’re always on your phone.” “Mom, you work too much.” Words my oldest daughter said to me yesterday. At first, they stung, but then I realized they were also a knee-jerk reaction to telling her she couldn’t so something she wanted, because I needed her at home. Being a work-from-home mom can be tough sometimes, but it’s all about communication.
I can’t say I disagree with her that I’m on my phone a lot. I am – for work and out of habit. Summer has thrown me for a loop, too. My kids are outside playing with friends until at least 9:00 p.m., which I love, but it also wrecks my productive evening time. Since I’m going to bed so late, I hit the snooze button in the morning and don’t wake up early to work.
Here’s where it all changes. I need a schedule with flexibility. Winging it can only carry me so far.
I don’t want my children to remember a mother on her phone all the time. However, I also want them to remember a mother who works. It may not be a traditional 9 to 5 job, but I want them to see that I work hard, because I want them to work hard. I am not responsible for their hourly and daily summer entertainment. They need chores, they need to clean their rooms every day. Summer can be fun, but it’s not a 24/7 party.
So yes, oldest daughter of mine, sometimes as part of a big family, you have more responsibilities, and I expect you to watch your sisters. However, you also receive payment for said job and you are provided with more privileges than your younger sisters. That phone that you have is paid for by my job. Kids need to understand the why behind decisions.
In addition to working, I’m also online researching family vacations, paying bills, registering children for fall sports, researching the best prices on new appliances, pinning fun things to do in the area, deciding whether to buy the school supply packs, reading reviews on sneakers, etc. And they need to know that.
This summer, I’ll be cutting back my hours – online and offline. I do want to savor this time I have with all of my kids. So to address my daughters’ concerns I will:
Have set working hours (with flexibilty for certain projects).
Put down my phone during all meal times.
Look at my children in the eyes when they speak to me.
Go over a daily schedule with my kids in the morning, so they know what to expect each day.
Schedule pool time.
Ask for help.
Play, have fun, and laugh a lot.
No, the mom-guilt will never 100% go away, but I also know, “Mom you’re always on your phone,” is in the same realm as “We don’t have anything to eat,” and “I have nothing to wear.”
Keep going, mamas, we’re doing just fine.