Today is day one of 'no new article' on The Early Hour. The first day, in nearly two and a half years, that I haven't put out an article. This meant I didn't have to grab my phone upon waking to upload a link, image and caption to Instagram.
This may sound like a minor, but what happens is that I log into my phone to do that one thing - upload the day's article to Instagram - and then get sucked into the comments, likes, people's photos... and time flies on by. My children start asking me to play with them and I ignore them, choosing online interaction instead.
But today I didn't. I left my phone on the side and got down on the floor with my children. We created a slide for Peppa Pig to shoot down (to her death, we realised, as it was suspended too high from the ground. Worryingly, my daughter found this hilarious). Meanwhile, my son banged on his new drum - a present for his 1st birthday.
The only time I got my phone out was to take this photo. But I've waited until I'm alone, working, to post it.
There will never be a perfect balance between work and parenting - both are generally far too demanding. But the realisation that I was missing out on opportunities to really enjoy hanging out with my young kids - by being there, but not REALLY there - forced me to make a change.
I'm all for 'independent play' - and a bit of ignoring. But there needs to also be a good portion of time together - chatting, playing, down on the floor with them, TV off - when I'm doing that and not thinking: I'd rather be on my phone. I NEED to be on my phone, checking emails and social media.
That's what mornings (well, mostly) are for from now on. We're generally awake at 6am so 'finding the time' certainly isn't an issue.
When do you spend time getting 'down with the kids'?