The Power to Unplug

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Texts, Emails, Facebook Posts, Tweets, The Latest Pin, News and Weather, Top Stories, and Enticing Articles: all on the small alluring screen of our phone! The power of information, updates, and entertainment provided by this magical handheld device often make it hard to remain in real-time and not get carried away in the cyber-waves.

It is particularly difficult for moms who feel out of touch with the world outside of their kid-cluttered living room.

What is everyone else up to? Are there any fun ideas out there of creative things to do? Shouldn’t I at least stay updated on the goings-on in the world?

Whatever the question, it’s “yes” that’s the answer, at least according to the world inside your digital device.

Unplug

Perhaps you have noticed that it has gotten to the point that when you do go out in hopes of socializing with other moms, the rectangular screen one-ups you every time.

There you are on a playground bench watching your kids swing, when alas, what’s that, another mom! You are almost sure her hand is going up in the friendly gesture of an introductory wave. As your eager smile threatens to scare her off, you notice that she was simply adjusting the Bluetooth in her ear. She was saying “hello”…just not to you, whap, whap, whap.

A couple of weeks ago, the power to unplug became a very scary reality for myself and a library full of women. After story hour, my kids quickly found their way to the children’s section, where many other tots gravitated quickly to the Legos, trains, children’s computers, and countless other activities. The caretakers and moms took their usual seats in the comfy chairs lining the window, all with their heads down and fingers wildly scrolling.

I must have seemed like an overprotective mama lion, as my eagle eyes constantly darted to keep my kids in sight at all times. After all, this was the children’s section of a very nice library. However, wandering off would be the least of my concerns when it comes to my children. I would fully expect to find my son hanging from the second flight railing, pushing every button on the elevator panel, or giving the librarian a heart attack when popping out of the book return conveyor belt if given free reign of the place.

Suddenly, and to the panic of all, a mother pushing an empty stroller raced frantically past us. Her tear-stained eyes scrolled over every child, and we all knew that the look in her eyes was one we never wanted to experience. She pleaded out loud with all of us to help her find her daughter as the codes began to sound on the intercom. I could feel myself becoming ill, and I could see the other moms tearing up through my own watery eyes. In an instant, they dropped their phones and scrambled to find their own children. I was never so thankful that I had not lost sight of my own little guys, but still needed to verify the reality of them.

The library was startlingly quiet for the next few minutes as staff scrambled and that poor mother’s voice echoed her daughter’s voice. We all just stood there helplessly looking at each other, clinging to our children, and wondering how something like this could happen right under our own noses.

Thankfully, a library staff member found the three-year-old wondering the parking lot alone. Thankfully, she was okay and was safely reunited with her mother.

I gathered my kids and left the library, visibly shaken. There was a great reward in not being distracted that day, and I think many of the moms realized the importance of unplugging. It can be so tempting to tie up little odds and ends when our full presence is not needed, and our children are occupied. Certainly, there are moments for this throughout our days. However, there are also many times that being present can lead to the opportunity for social interaction that we are desperately searching for. Sometimes, the search is right in front of us, rather than in the big world of the small screens we keep in our diaper bags.

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Copyright 2015 Kimberly Cook

Image copyright 2015 Kimberly Cook, all rights reserved

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About Author

Kimberly Cook holds a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology and a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health. She is the author of children's book, Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray. Kimberly lives with her husband and three children in Virginia. You can follow Kimberly at http://thelionofdesign.com/ where she blogs on Faith, Art, and Motherhood.

2 Comments

  1. What an awful feeling… that happened to me once, and now, 11 years later, I can still remember the fear when my son decided it was funny to hide in a little tent in the Disney Store – after sneaking out of his stroller. Great advice – and moms of little ones might actually be able to communicate to each other, and maybe even make a new friend!

    • Thanks Anne. This scare happens to so many moms, and often the kids think it is hilarious. I can’t imagine how much worse it must feel when absorbed in something frivolous, like texting or Facebook.

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