Is my cell phone obsession making me less engaged as a mom?

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About 5 years ago I took my daughter to a park. She was unusually clean (it was 3pm on a Sunday), beautifully dressed and without her dummy. So it was a magnificent photo opportunity, of which I took iAdvantage. Milla on the slide. Milla on the horsie thing. Milla on the roundabout. The only problem was, while I was photographing her, I wasn’t playing with her. So it wasn’t the outing it could’ve been.

Then, we went to her playschool open day, and I made the decision to leave my phone in the nappy bag. Granted, I have no photos of her playing, interacting, munching, exploring. But that’s because I was with her. Getting covered in grass, play-doh, biscuit crumbs and other kids’ sticky handprints. It was fun. For both of us.

When telling a friend about the day I realised that I’m so often tweeting about the cute things Milla does, facebooking the pics of her in the garden, pinteresting the button art I made for her room and imessaging all and sundry about her sheer genius, that she’s playing alone. Or drawing on the carpet. Or nagging me to ‘come thit here’.

My husband often says that he doesn’t need to take as many photos of her as he used to, because he’s experiencing her with his eyes, and that’s better. I used to think he was just being lazy, but he could be right. My problem is finding the balance.

To be frank, I’ve relied on my phone for company in many social situations. Some people/events are tedious/scary, so I doubt that’s going to change. But when I’m with my kid, the phone, and its assorted apps, needs to be an extra – not the focal point. And once the photos are taken, and the memories captured, it’s time for an iBan.

*This post originally appeared on zaparents.com.

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