Idle Hands

Mama said, "Idle hands are Devil's handy work." -- Leanne Rhymes I have found that when I have a free moment, I cannot just sit and relax without picking up my cell phone or turning on the TV to stare at some mind-numbing show.


I was in the elevator at work and didn't have my cell phone. It was the longest 45 seconds ever! I didn't have anything to look at. I didn't have anything to distract me. It made me think, how did I get to the point in my life that I am so used to being ridiculously busy that I can't just be?

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I see zombies everywhere. They walk along with their faces in their phones or iPods and they don't recognize what is going on around them. When I first saw the movie Wall-e, I thought to myself, "Geez, those people don't have to interact with each other at horrible!" In a less extreme version I am starting to believe that we are on that path. Moms take their kids to the park and spend most of the time Facebook-ing or texting. An occasional glance up or a "Yea, good job" is called out without even looking to see what their child is exclaiming about. I am not above reproach here. My son is only 11 months and if we are on the floor playing and I pull out my phone he is completely zoned into what I'm doing. It makes me wonder what kind of technology will be available to him. He is already fascinated by the lights on the phones and iPad.

Have we become a society that is unable to be idle? I find that I need to be "doing something" all the time. Riding an elevator, sitting at a stop light (BAD!), listening to a boring coworker - all these trigger my compulsion to pull out my cell phone and "check it".

I feel like I am doing a huge disservice to my children! Isn't it true that children learn best by example? What am I teaching them when I cannot sit still myself? Am I teaching my son that being constantly busy is the norm? Am I telling him that he needs to learn to be patient without showing him what it means to be patient?

My challenge to myself, in his second year of life, is to be more available to him. Sure, I'm sitting on the floor "playing", but checking my phone constantly isn't being truly present. As a "working mom", I already feel guilty that I do not get enough time with him, so why do I constantly find myself squandering those precious hours I get to actually attend his play? No longer. I've recognized the problem, will try to stop it and will hopefully avoid instilling this terrible habit in my children!