Today, my daughter is one year old. One year! When did that happen? In some respects, this was the fastest year ever. In others…well, too many sleepless nights can make time feel like it’s creeping by. Still, would I change anything about this past year? Not a moment.

And that’s how I want every year to be. I don’t want to regret a single moment spent with my sweet, snuggly, funny, brave little girl.

I had a post started to mark her birthday. I had begun to draft a list of what I learned in my first year as a working mom. I’ll probably still write that post, but it’s not what I decided I needed to post today.

A connection on Facebook shared this blog post, and it really struck me. It made me cry. It made me think back in panic over the last year and hope that I wasn’t guilty of this offense too often.

Because I know, as a mom who works from home as a social media consultant, I spend my fair share of time on my smart phone. And that’s just for work. Add in texting, Pinterest, Words with Friends, Facebook and everything else I use the internet for for recreation, and that’s a lot of time logged on my mobile device. If I’m being truly honest with myself, I can easily spend nearly 10 hours on my phone a day. Yeah, I just took the time to add that up. Ten hours wrapped up in some activity on my tiny screen.

Sure, it’s understandable to use my phone for work, even for several hours a day. It’s work, after all. But I have been guilty of distracting Nora with a toy so I could play, too; but not with her, on my phone.

If you’re honest with yourself you’ve done it too. And don’t get me wrong, I give so much of myself to Nora and I know that she gets oodles of quality time with me where I’m not distracted by my shiny, blinky thing. But I never want Nora to be one of those kids the other blogger mentions that feels they’re being ignored by a parent because they’ve put their phone first. That scares the crap out of me. And Nora means way too much to me to ever let something like a phone make her feel like she’s anything but my number one priority.

So I’m going to give Nora the best birthday present I can think of at the moment. My presence. Time every day with my undivided attention. And I’m going to challenge dad to do the same. I know it’s not realistic to say that I’ll never spend time in her presence distracted by my phone; when my job is a mobile, virtual one, it’s expected that I’ll get lost in it sometimes.

But I can do my best to keep it in check, starting now. So, now, I put down my phone, grabbed my camera (yes, my REAL camera, not my Instagram app), and photographed sweet little baby feet:

It’s just a start, but I want my daughter to know that I’m here for her, for the big things AND the little things.

I encourage you to read the blog post that inspired this one. There’s no need to wait for your child’s next birthday to give them the gift of your attention, time and love.

8 comments on “Present.”

  1. Ohhhh this was hard to read. Ugh. But thank you for sharing it…really, really important! And happy birthday to Nora!!!

  2. Guilty as charged! Except mine is the tablet. I realized this too when Ava clearly said to me, “No, no tah-blet!” (in my defense she was on the potty, for 20 minutes!) A great reminder to us all that sometimes our kids just want us. Happy birthday to Nora, and Happy Birth Day to you!

  3. Omg – I am so guilty of the phone too! I also have been working on a post in honor of Mia’s second birthday and it’s been fun traveling down memory lane. Happy birthday to Nora and to her beautiful mommy!

  4. It is so easy to do this! Thanks for reminding me to keep this in check! Happy Birthday Nora

  5. Great post. A few months back my husband and I really notice we were falling into that trap. We would get home from work and as dinner cooked we would sit and play with our daughter/look at facebook and e-mail. We began to realize it was running our life and we were not paying attention to our daughter. So we agreed to put down the phone/tablets as much as possible until she goes to bed and only look at it quickly after but put it down to spend time alone together as well.
    We do still find ourselves falling into the that trap now and then, specially if we are waiting for an e-mail about something or seeing if anyone commented on our latest post or picture, but we do our best to not and try to remind each other of it. They grow up so fast and don’t want them to remember us with some kind of electronic device in our hands.

  6. Love this post and happy BIRTH day to you Christa! Do something nice for yourself today!

    I did see that blog post and it made me step back and look at my life too. It’s so funny you posted this. After I read it, I realized that when I’m home with Lills at night I try to distract her with toys so I can read the blog, write blogs, check facebook etc. Not all the time of course but some of the time. And all she wants is my attention. I’m not sure if she started to pick up on this or what but a few days ago she started screaming, and I mean SCREAMING if I left her alone for 2 seconds in the family room. She wouldn’t stop screaming until I came back.

    It was so amazing. She didn’t even need me to do much, she just wanted me to sit there with her while she played. So even though I had the urge last night to check out the computer, I made the choice to stay with her figuring I can do go on the computer when she’s in bed.

    Thanks for reminding all of us about this!

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