Of Gadgets and Guilt

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This generation.

Our generation is probably the most unfortunate of all generations. I say this in the context of parenting. We have the wisdom inherited from our previous generations, a massive collection of parenting books and an enviable range of technology that advances every single second.

You may ask, “Aren’t these supposed to make us the most fortunate generation?”

I say, No. I refute this because along with these fortunes we also have issues like lack of time, lack of presence, deadlines even for dying in peace and an ever increasing guilt.

Our attention spans have reduced to such drastic levels that even though we wish to address certain parenting issues, and even though we already know the reasons behind those, and even though we know what areas to work upon, we are unable to do so. The reason being our short attention spans. We struggle to juggle between various facets of life. Unlike our previous generations that had dedicated time for every single task, ours is a generation that is drowning in the ocean of multitasking.

For example: at a given point in time, I am preparing dinner. I have also put the laundry in the washing machine because it is time for Delhi Jal Board water to come. I also have to check when water drips from the tap to switch on the electric motor pump. I also have to keep shuttling between the study-cum-living-cum-dining-cum-socializing room to attend to the girls and their studies. I also have phone calls from both set of parents to attend. My eyes have to keep a check on the wall clock to see if it is too late and the husband hasn’t reached yet. If it is late, I have to call and remind him that he has a family back home waiting for him. And in between all these, I also have my social life confined to the 5 inch screen of my ‘smartphone’ which is where I get my fifteen minutes of fame by posting a random picture or a random status. I have had days when my child has asked me a question while I am on phone and I have answered in affirmation whereas which is not what I was supposed to. I did it because I was answering my mother on the phone while listening to the child. Sigh!

The world is advancing exponentially and since we have to compete to remain relevant in the overall scheme of things, we have agreed to remove all foundations, break all rules and jump into the madness. We have deadlines to meet at work. We have commitments to keep. We have EMIs to pay. We have spouses to satisfy. We have parents to take care of. We have children to be responsible for. We also have gadgets to stay up to date.

What we lack is time. And thus we lack the ability to be present, the ability to be attentive, the ability to respond. We see. We listen. We understand. But our minds are so occupied with finished and unfinished tasks that we fail to address the moment that is here. We listen to our children but we don’t allow our brains to comprehend what they said. And that is the biggest mistake, the biggest sin that our generation is making.

We don’t need books, we don’t need parenting coaches, we don’t need simulative videos to teach us parenting. All we need is attentiveness. So put that phone, iPad or Laptop away when your child wants to speak with you. They hardly need a few minutes for your presence to be felt. If you’re in the midst of something, request for a few minutes that they will graciously allow. But keep everything away and be fully present and responsive in those moments with them. It is their right. The guilt will stay away along with the gadgets.

As addicted as I am to my smartphone, I have finally found a solution to my problem. I switch off Wi-Fi when I am with the girls or am doing some serious work. Everything else can wait, but not the children. They will grow up. They’ll spread their wings. And finally, they’ll fly off our nests. Let them fly off with some beautiful memories of the time spent together. Let them know that we care. Let them know that we are present.

A simple lesson learned the hard way.


Linking it to Blog-A-Rhythm’s Wordy Wednesday #2-Feb 2016 #PhrasePrompt

I have used the phrase ‘Fifteen minutes of fame’.

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14 thoughts on “Of Gadgets and Guilt

  1. Yes, I totally agree. I find it quite ironical actually. All these gadgets and gizmos were supposed to make things easier and life less complicated so that we had free time. Instead, now multi tasking is the norm and often the people next to you get ignored as we pore over comments and status updates of people countries away.

  2. Hey Rekha. I am feeling absolutely guilty now. You are right about living in the moment with the family….rest of the world, social media etc can wait. I am signing off from wi fi after this comment. A good read this!

  3. You’re right time is what we all lack. I’m guilty of putting off the kids sometimes too while I attend to my phone. Switching off the wifi is a good idea. Sometimes other things need to take priority over the call of the gadgets.

  4. Lovely post. I’m a SAHM and yet I feel I’m always pressed for time. Know what, our parents had one advantage we don’t easily have. They had a social circle which made mundane things seem bearable. Also, they didn’t have to deal with the super busy life of today.
    Sure, we all need to find time for family but just as important is not to feel guilty of our fifteen minutes of fame. It is sad that a screen is our social circle, but that’s how it is…

  5. This obviously touches a very raw nerve with me! I try and throw out mobile when am with lit one but its so tempting to mindlessly scroll thru FB :-/

  6. As you grow older, time speeds up like Maglev trains. (Our PM is still to catch on the idea!) You would want to go back in time to stop the mad hurtling. Unfortunately, electronic gadgetry has invaded the serene space of childhood also these days. I have a whitelist on my phone and social media accounts.

  7. Very well said, Rekha 🙂 I had written a post about managing ourselves instead of managing time a while ago and of course, social media and gadget time are my two favourite subjects to blog about any day! I’ve found that mindfulness, when practised consciously goes a long way towards liberating us from the expectations and demands of the online world. The deadlines, most of them, are self-imposed and ones we can break free of if we make the effort, like you have 🙂 Good for you and here’s hoping more people and parents follow suit.

  8. I totally agree that we are no longer living in the moment … In the present. While trying to catch up with everything else I have lost time. You have brilliantly written and expressed what many experience today.

  9. Great post Rekha. The bane of our times – our distractions with so much multitasking going on. It’s great that you switch off your wifi when you are with kids. That’s a wonderful way of being there. With advancement of technology and being connected all the time, we have lost more than we think. Out of all the things that clamor for attention, I decided which ones were most important and relegated FB and whatsapp to the bottom of the list. I also removed FB from my phone.That has eased my distractedness somewhat.

  10. Phrase well used. 😀
    And yes, there are a lot of things to attend to specially with the fast technology. By the time it is night, we realise there are yet so many things we didn’t do and put them off until the next day.

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