Today I’m keeping it real

cellphoneuse kids Today Im keeping it realToday I’m keeping it real.

Many are wondering why we added food and travel to Baby Gizmo this year after seven years of a strict baby product only theme. Sure, we added those things because we know people are not stroller shopping everyday. Parents also eat and travel (at least occasionally!) and we knew we could help with ideas. That’s not the main reason we added them though. I added food and travel so that I could spend more time with my kids. That’s right, the decision was more about me than it was about you.

Here’s the thing, I’ve done some soul searching lately and decided I needed to make some changes. Our society is so dependent on electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and computers that kids are being ignored. Not all of the time but way more than 20 years ago before the Internet and cell phones ever existed. I’ve spent the last 7 years working seven days a week (I work until midnight most nights!) with these devices making myself the best that there is at what I do. And you know what? I am dedicated to it!

Like all the best, we have a commitment to the people that depend on us. Expecting parents all over the world depend on my reviews to help them make the smartest choice when it comes to buying baby gear.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still here for you. I’ll be bringing all those fabulous video reviews of everything I can get my hands on just like I always do. But I’ve just changed up how I do things behind the scenes.

This means that I just might not be able to respond to all your emails with personal gear questions immediately. It might take a little longer. Facebook questions might not be answered immediately either. Again, I’m totally still here for you but my kids need me too.

I sat down recently and realized how dependent I am (and everyone else around me it seems!) on my smart phone, my iPad and my computer. Sometimes I wish that the internet and smart phones were never invented. Yes, a person who has built her entire company around these electronic devices sometimes wish they didn’t exist.

Here’s the thing. No one ever gets to be done with work. Years and years ago, when people got home from work, that was basically it – they were done with work (for the most part!) until the next day. There weren’t people emailing and texting them 24/7. And weekends didn’t consist of emails, voice mails, texts and computer time either.  I’m totally dating myself but years back if someone wanted to get a hold of you, they called you. If you didn’t answer, they called back another time. They didn’t send you an email, text and leave a voice mail all in a 5 minute time frame and panic that you weren’t responding right away.

People have stopped respecting family time. Remember when it was rude to call during dinner time? Now, people are free to contact you day and night without a second thought.

Sure, it’s completely our fault. If we didn’t check these devices every second of every day, we’d have no idea who was trying to contact us.

Me? Guilty as charged.

I am probably one of the biggest offenders and I just feel pretty crappy about it.

I can’t judge others because I’m the one doing it too. I’m the one at the playground incessantly checking my iPhone as if I’m waiting to hear the biggest news of my life. Let’s be real, big news doesn’t happen all that often and even if it did, it can wait until I get home from the park.

I see all these parents at the park, grocery store, at red lights, walking their kids to school, and sitting in the backyard checking their phones like they are waiting to be announced as a Oscar Nominee. There is no Oscar nomination for them, and in fact, they are communicating with work, seeing what is on sale, tweeting, pinning something cute, checking up on Facebook.

Uggghhh…Facebook!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook just as much as the next. Maybe more? It keeps me in contact with all my people both work and personal. Instant feedback. Instant news. Instant gossip. But Facebook really has us too connected. Darn you, Zuckerberg!! I’m checking my Facebook timeline all day long like that is where MY Oscar Nominee announcement will be made. Sometimes instead of living my life and enjoying my kids, I’ve got my eyes glued to my Facebook timeline reading something mundane like a friend just took a shower. WHO THE HELL CARES?!?! Yet, I’m reading it.

I suck.

I’m lucky enough to work from my home but I think that might even be worse in one aspect for my kids. While they see me all day long (which I LOVE!), they see me with my nose to my iPhone or iPad or in front of my computer A LOT! It breaks my heart when my two year old tries to close my laptop and says “No work, Mommy”. Who can say no to the most adorable little boy with golden curls and the sweetest brown eyes?

Not me.

My husband jokes a lot that my kids wouldn’t know me without the glow of my iPhone. Even though he is right there with me with electronic use, he is right. Plus, when people post on the Baby Gizmo Facebook page that I must not sleep because I’m always on, they might be right. I should have listened a little closer to those statements. Plus, I’ve heard my kids say from time to time, “you are always on the phone”. (It’s not talking but checking and surfing!) That stings. The truth hurts. I am looking at my iPhone WAY TOO MUCH!!

How many times have you found yourself saying “umm…what?!?…hang on a second…” to your child as you are engrossed in your device? I’m ashamed to say that I’ve said it many times. How many “hang on a second” does it take to make a child feel neglected?!? I’m guessing not many.

Not only does this constant electronic dependency take time away from my kids but I think it is making me a little crazy. Not crazy in the lock-me-up-in-a-loony-bin-crazy, but crazy in that I can’t focus on one thing anymore. My mind is constantly swirling. Sure, I’m a multi-tasker but I can’t even get through a half hour TV show at night without fidgeting that I need to get some work done or check Facebook or tweet or whatever. I can’t pay attention to the task at hand.

Just watch the flipping TV show!

Nope, I’m kind of listening while on my laptop, iPhone or iPad. Same thing at the park. Just can’t sit and watch the kids. I have to be doing something else. And when I’m doing something else, I’m only half listening when my kids are talking.

I need to hear them 100%!

Even when I was breastfeeding my last baby, I was checking things on my phone.

I suck.

That damn smart phone! It’s like my own personal crack. I can’t get enough. It’s not the phone’s fault, it’s mine. I should be smarter than the smart phone and put it down from time to time.

When I was on vacation last week, I actually read a book. A whole book!  Not on an iPad or a Nook or other type of reading device. I had an actual book WITH PAGES in my hands. And you know what? It felt great! My phone was off and I was reading a book. Sure, I had access to email and the internet through the WiFi on my iPad but I kind of wish that I didn’t. The fact that my iPhone was locked in a safe in the hotel room was enough to let me settle and read a book. You should try it sometime. It was fabulous!!

Now, that I had a hard look at myself and my electronic device habits, I have decided to make some changes.

Stop checking emails at red lights.

Stop checking my iPhone every second of every day.

Turn my iPhone off some evenings. Gasp!

Get the hell off Facebook from time to time.

 

Now that I’ve rambled on, let’s get back to recipes and travel. You see, baking makes me happy. It’s an outlet that I just love to do. Plus, I can do it with my kids.

AN ACTIVITY WITH MY KIDS!!

See where I’m going with this? With baking I can do work but still involve my kids and have a good time. They love it. I love it. You get ideas on yummy things to make. It’s a win-win all around. Sure, they help me with the reviews and the videos but that is not nearly the same thing. Baking is an activity and we get something yummy at the end.

Traveling is the same thing. I get to cover great places to take kids and find out everything they have to offer to help parents make the right vacation choice, but I still get to spend time with the kids.

I was given the opportunity to head to Jamaica next week with my daughter to cover a resort and let me tell you, I am over the moon about it. Just me and my daughter spending time together for 4 days and I get to call it work. How lucky am I? How lucky is she? What a great opportunity that we are very grateful for!

It will be quite a bit of work when we return to edit video and do an entire write-up about everything the resort has to offer, but it’ll be worth it because I will have gotten to spend one-on-one time with my daughter doing it.

Now, you see why we added food and travel? More for me than you but you get the benefit too.

If you don’t like a certain recipe or travel spot, just don’t read it. Please don’t post or email me that you don’t understand why every single thing we post is not about baby gear. I’ll just direct you back to this post. Believe me, not everyone will like every food or travel post, but not everyone likes every stroller either. There is always something for everyone if you just be patient.

Like I said, we are still baby gear here at Baby Gizmo all day every day, but sometimes we are going to venture into other territory as well.

I hope you will venture off the beaten path with us. And I hope you will take a look at your electronic device use and decide if it is taking time away from your kids!

In the meantime, I’m headed to the park to have a picnic with my kids and my iPhone is staying home.

xoxo,

Hollie

Comments

  1. Kristen says

    I love this post! This is very much like me, except that I don’t have the excuse of working from home to blame for my internet usage. I will make a plan and conscious effort to spend more time being present with my kids and less time looking at them over the top of my Macbook.

    p.s. I find it very ironic that right below the article is the part where you sign up for email updates from this site! ha!

  2. says

    Great article. You know what drives me more crazy? When parents hand over their cellphones to their babies to keep them entertained. I cringe when I see drool forming on expensive electronic gadgets. I’ve seen so many babies holding ipads lately, it makes me sick!

  3. Crystal R says

    Good for you Hollie! I think we all are guilty of this from time to time, and I’m sure glad someone has spoken up about it. My husband drives me insane with this, we even go to visit his dad in the hospital and he just has his nose stuck in his phone the whole time. He seems not to realize this is rude! As I sit at the dinner table with my two and four year old (8 week old doesn’t sit at the table yet, lol), and my husband is sat staring at his phone, I can just see the future of our family in years to come without any communication. Thank you for this, I am now more determined to try to fix this before it’s too late.

  4. Christine says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My husband and I are both guilty of this and reading this was a reminder! Good for you!!!!

  5. Deborah B says

    Hollie! Thank you for writing on this topic! I am guilty of it as well, and it is a constant struggle. My husband just last week resolved to not be on his smart phone when the kids are around, and Ai need to do the same. It really does take time away from them! Again, thanks for your post, and have a fabulous time with your daughter! Memories for life! :)

  6. Margaret says

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m guilty of this too! I bet you’re a super fun mommy for your kids. Thank you for all the hours you’ve poured into this blog, and especially the video reviews.
    This is a comvicting post, and also such an encouragement! Thanks again, Hollie and enjoy your mommy-daughter trip!

  7. Kim Nascimento says

    Good for you! I was jealous before of the business you’ve built around something you love, but now I’m even more jealous because you’ve found a way to evolve it into something you love to do with your kids. Sigh…

  8. Violet says

    Hollie, you are doing the right thing, and I think we can all agree and understand. I read that article yesterday, and I did feel badly about it. The way I see it, if I didn’t need a smartphone before they existed, why do I need one now, and let alone having it near me at all times? Yesterday instead of checking work e-mail or FB I put the phone away and spent 100% quality time with my little girl. In reality, there’s a time and place to be on that device, and it shouldn’t be when I am with my daughter, especially when I’m working full-time and our time spent together should be considered precious time. I’ll check out your site on my commute into or out of the Loop. :) Thank you for keeping it real, girl!

  9. clara says

    You only get once shot at raising your kids right. What does it matter if u made a great review on a stroller, if you failed as a mom in the end.

  10. Heather McConnell says

    I wholeheartedly agree with this post and I am guilty as charged! I have challenged myself to give my kids more me time, and less time to the addiction devices.

  11. says

    it is a real struggle, especially when everything can feel so urgent (and interesting). i decided just today that i CANNOT work on computer-related projects unless it’s during ‘rest time.’ we’ll see how it goes for me… i’m guessing it’s going to take a lot of self-discipline.

  12. Amy says

    I work from home as well and while this gives me the flexibility I love to be a full time Mom for my little girl. I’ve realized I’m in the same boat, especially when she’s handling my work blackberry and tells me “Just a minute Mommy, I’m checking my email.” She’s 3, she shouldn’t know what email is!

  13. Beth says

    I just read an article yesterday just like this. It’s a great wake up call for everyone! Thanks for your honesty!

    AND — I absolutely LOVE that you have branched out to the cooking and traveling ventures. It’s made me read your site more!!

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