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A Letter to my Digital Mamas by Sara Sadik

Times they are a changin’ and nothing has been spared—least of all pregnancy and motherhood. I think it’s great that I can order Pampers, new Havaianas, and the latest New York Times bestseller with one click.

But our days are sprinkled with the fake . . . okay, doused with it. I’m swimming in it: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. All the time. If I’m this “taken” by the virtual, then how affected by technology will my kids be? As a mama this is and will eternally be my number one concern. Oh, that and the monumental collective panic that comes along with it. The days of buttering toast and giving it to our kids with a sore throat (something about the scratchiness helps) are long gone because our gatekeepers—anguish and anxiety—barge in with red flags about gluten, cholesterol, and crumbs.

Don’t get me wrong, there are perks to being a digital mama to digital natives, I’m sure, but here are my hopes, fears, and kind requests on keeping it “real.” Our kids aren’t growing up like we did and there is a presumption that what was good enough for us, isn’t good enough anymore. Why can’t we watch Sesame Street and enjoy Oscar the Grouch or the Cookie Monster? The show’s first five years from 1969 to 1974 now come with a warning that the content may be inappropriate for today’s children. Why? Because Cookie Monster smokes a pipe, Oscar doesn’t learn that happiness is a choice, and Big Bird never grows old. I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with all of that. It’s how I grew up, and I want my kids to experience those little bits I remember fondly with my high-pitched “Remember?” (And, yes, some of those remembers usually involved the mention of Punky Brewster and Doogie Howser.) 

So, before communication is reduced to emoji-only, and I get deep into Mark Manson-esque rants in this book, here’s a letter to my digital mamas. And, by letter, I mean list. Because attention spans are, well, not what they used to be. “Ohhhh, look! I got another follow and three more likes.” You still with me? 1. Breathe in deep and savor the smell of crayons. No scientific journal has yet to prove that there are harmful toxins in inhaling them deeply. (Sticking them far up your nose is another matter, though.) 2. Scratch scratch-n-sniff stickers until the tip of your finger is numb. 3. Please don’t let “My battery’s low” be what your little one hears you say more than “I love you.” 4. Don’t live your life through social media and forget that the messes and cracks are where the magic lies. Live the mess. You don’t always have to record it. 5. I dare you to venture out on the other side of that glass window. Don’t be afraid to get scraped knees and tousled hair from the wind. It builds character, and the scars on your elbows will make for some of the best stories and conversation starters at coffee shops or dinner parties. You know this. Don’t shy away from it. 6. Having a profession is not a bad thing! Don’t be intimidated by the mamas who post that they’re #blessed being a mom. It’s okay if sometimes you post #overit. 7. When’s the last time you even saw an actual puzzle? You must think me calling my kids “puzzle pieces” is as bad as if I called them, “ma little Rubik’s cubesters” Confusing and annoying as hell. 8. Will you even have the attention span to read this whole list or will you be too busy comparing baby announcements and who has a cuter Anne Geddes-style newborn photoshoot? 9. You probably stopped reading this halfway through to Google “mindfulness” and how to manage your newborn and your platform. 

I think we need to be okay with not preparing our children for every possible kind of future hoping one of our efforts may pay off. We’re unable to code for this, so let’s all hold hands and step outside. Smile and make eye contact. Stop posting pictures of our newborns and go smell them instead. And in case you’re reading this on a kindle, at least read it with sunshine on your skin. Deal? Sara Sadik's book Finding the Magic in Mommyhood is available now to purchase! Find more about Sara Sadik :