You used to call me on my cell phone, late night when I had no kids… Sorry Drake for the really bad adaptation of your hit song; but I am starting to feel like my hotline don’t bling these days.
Could it be because I am terrible at returning phone calls? Could it be my distracted demeanor while on the phone? Yes and yes. I may even want to consider changing my voicemail greeting to let callers know that the rate at which I return calls is about 2-4 business days. Unless, of course, one of my kids dials your number on a whim.
At this point the only people who still make an effort to hear my voice over the phone are family members and close friends. Sometimes they are really brave and even set up a time to Facetime! And my biggest excuse for not calling people back (or not calling in general) is my kids. I hate to use my kids as an excuse, but lately it seems impossible to carry on a phone conversation with them anywhere near me. I’m convinced that they see me on the phone and take that as their cue to act like wild animals. They’ll start jumping on and off the furniture, or screech and fight with each other; and if that hasn’t gotten a rise out of me, they stand next to me, yell, or attach themselves to me like pygmy monkeys.
I never wanted to become that mom who is having a phone conversation, and seems side-tracked by her kids, or is pausing in the conversation to reprimand her kids, but I totally have.
I try to find a quiet place to talk, though that becomes difficult when I’m alone with the kids and can’t leave them in a room alone together. I try not to scold my kids when I’m carrying on with what was a nice conversation before they decided to spill a gallon of milk all over the floor; but if I don’t say something to them, it will only get worse. They have proven that time and time again. So most phone calls have ended with screams in the background, me apologizing to the person on the other end, and hanging up the phone feeling very defeated.
I love text messaging. It allows me to stay in touch without the chaos of interruptions and background noise from the kids. There is a bit more ease with texting too. I can send a text at a convenient time, and you can respond when it’s good for you. Does it sometimes take me a day to respond to even a text message? Yes. And again, I feel guilty for not being responsive to the important people in my life. It does make me feel better that the moms I am close to also have a lagging response time, and we don’t get annoyed that the next text message comes at 8pm, most likely because that’s when we are nursing our babies to sleep and have both hands free.
Another reason I’m not on the fast-track to responding is that I now have to keep my phone out of sight from my children. If they see a glimpse of the shiny, colorful screen they are drawn to it like lice on a preschooler (outbreak #42 at our daycare center). It’s been especially bad with our toddler, who likes to take my phone, run with it, and then spike it to the ground. (Sometimes he even follows it up with a touchdown dance). I have replaced my screen twice, and it currently has a crack with a large black blob covering a third of it. Each time I cough up $100 to replace the screen I vow never to let my boys touch my phone. I don’t even want them knowing it exists. And each time I go to check an email, send a text, or listen to a voicemail from a week ago, they see it, see me hide it, and search for it.
Life can get so busy, and no matter how hard I try to set aside, or take advantage of times to talk on the phone, I haven’t been able to give everyone the attention they deserve.
I greatly appreciate that my friends and family are so understanding and know that even though I may not call daily, or even once a week, I really care about each of them. And thanks for still trying to reach out to me, keeping my hotline blinging at least once in a while!