Thursday, June 9th, 2011
As much as I fantasize about being a full time writer, the truth is, I work from 8 AM to 4:30 PM every weekday at “my real job” in a sales office. Writing for Parents.com isn’t all I do for a living, in other words; it’s my part time job. So it’s only natural for intuitive readers to wonder the question, “How do you have time to write six new posts each week for The Dadabase without neglecting your wife and son?”
It’s easy: I sleep less than most people (usually not more than six hours a night). And I only write when my wife and son are asleep. From roughly 10 PM to 11:30 PM, then again from 6:00 AM to 7:10 AM everyday, I am always writing.
That means that when I am at home with Jack and Jill, I literally am at home with Jack and Jill. My policy is that I don’t turn my laptop on while they are awake. That way, I’m not distracted by the blogosphere where I am an active citizen. As for me and my house, that’s the only way it could work.
I disconnect (from electronic social media distractions) to reconnect with my family while they are awake.
So when I received a challenge from author and media consultant Phil Cooke, asking dads everywhere to disconnect from technology – phones, Facebook, Twitter, email, TV – and spend quality time with their kids for 24 hours this Father’s Day, I knew I could handle it.
My wife and I worship the concept of quality time and giving each other our undivided attention, to the best of our abilities. We are constantly aware of our need as a married couple with a child to make the most of the little bit of time we have together each day, balancing both family time and time alone as a couple.
So when we do watch TV together, the rule is that it has to be something we both want to watch, like American Idol or The Office. Or a TV series through Netflix, like Mad Men; which is our current show. And for the times our son is asleep and we both have a lot of stuff to get caught up on in the Internet world, we do what we have to do but label that time as “personal time.” We fully recognize that time as necessary for us as individuals, but we know full well it is not quality time together; even if we’re sitting next to each other.
This challenge is inspired by Phil Cooke’s new book Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing (April 2011, Thomas Nelson), which lays out 25 “jolts” to help us set the “reset” button on our priorities and boundaries. I am interested to see how his book fills in all the blanks and connects the dots regarding the importance of “unplugging” in the name of quality time with family.
So here’s the deal for my male readers. (Do I actually have any? As long as I’ve been a daddy blogger, I’ve just always assumed at least 97% of my readers are female.) For the first three men who agree to take the challenge with me to unplug for 24 hours on Father’s Day, I will arrange for a free copy of the book mailed to your house. Just let me know your name and mailing address by leaving a comment on this post. And as long as you are one of the first three to agree to take the challenge, you get a free book.
I will leave my phone and computer alone on Father’s Day! Will you?