Let's be honest here: that trip you took to the mall to meet Santa last weekend . . . was it more for your miffed 7-month-old or to share with your social media entourage? If you fall in the latter category, (A) It's OK, and (B) You're not alone. So many parenting moments that were once reserved for immediate family and perhaps a close friend or two have become glorified through the lens of an Instagram filter or Facebook feed with the requisite clever hashtags. And while it's certainly fun to share your proudest moments with friends, at some point, we can't help but feel we're creating memories for social media rather than living in the moment. Here, a few reasons to ditch the smartphone on your next outing with the family — or at least leave it in your back pocket:
- You're missing out: When you're tied up with finding the right emoji and outwitting your BFF with the perfect #hilarioushashtag, what you're not doing is kicking back and living in the moment with your kids. We understand the importance of capturing memories on camera, but you may want to consider holding off on that social media share until you're back in the car or it's naptime.
- You're setting the wrong example: How are you going to tell your kids to cool it on their tech usage when you're the most addicted one in the whole family? Be a good role model by leading by example — there's a time and place for technology, and it's not 24/7.
- You're creating unnecessary stress: Your day-to-day life is hectic enough, right? Whether you're on vacation, at the museum, or making pancakes for your family, give yourself a break from the constant check-ins, comparisons, and general inundation with nonessential information. Ahhh . . . doesn't that feel better?!
- It may not be intentional, but you're being competitive: All you meant to do was share that one photo of the kids clowning around, right? But the next thing you know, you're learning that your childless girlfriends went out for drinks without you last night, your next-door neighbor got a serious new handbag for the holidays, and your cousin's 1-year-old is up and running while yours is content to crawl. Stop the madness! It's in your control.
- You'll inevitably become sidetracked: Go ahead, try to have a meaningful conversation while simultaneously scrolling through Facebook. Just try. It's impossible! Sure, you can respond with "yes" and "no" answers and give a half-hearted nod, but doesn't your family deserve more attention than the link that your 7th grade crush shared?