I had a lovely conversation today with an interviewee for Coffee With {wait until you meet her! You’ll love what she’s doing for Baltimore. Check back on Sunday for the interview!} and she mentioned that sometimes parents are hard to reach. I was taken aback for a moment, thinking of how overly involved parents seem to be in their children’s lives — and she followed up her comment with the fact that 25% of emails sent  to parents of children involved in her programs go unopened.

How many emails do you get a day? I average a few hundred. Between the inundation of sales emails I get (thank you Ann Taylor, I would love to get 25% off but I don’t need three email reminders a day nor do I know when I can actually get to the store to try something on), work emails (I PROMISE I’ll get back to you — you know who you are), personal emails (Yes! I do want to have coffee when I come up from air after responding to all of the work emails), and emails about my kids (Show and Share. Signs of spring. Got it. Play date? Sure. Was that thing I got about the dance recital an email or a text? Was it through the parent portal? Ugh. Not THAT parent portal. That was the parent portal for gymnastics. What was the password for that again? OH! That was a Facebook message!!), I’m usually feeling lost in the innerwebs without a GPS.

Communicating has become so easy that the messages are in the noise. 

Last year, the Bug was participating in a program where the organizer discovered RainedOut. It’s a great tool. But the organizer decided to solely communicate through that platform, which simultaneously delivered messages to Twitter and mobile phones via text. The result? A onslaught of 140 character messages that I could never decipher. Including the recital schedule.

Over 12 dncr rept 2 Tim location 2nite b/c of bingo. B sure 2 bring cost dep. Und 12 tap only.

Yeah…

I am definitely involved in my kids’ lives, but I can also see myself as one of the 25%. There is just so much. So many tools. So many methods to communicate. So many platforms. Which is wonderful.

…. and wonderfully overwhelming.

Pile on the scheduling (why only accomplish one thing when you could certainly squeeze in two to that 45 minute time spot? YES! I can stop for groceries, whip up a gourmet dinner and make that networking event while feeding the baby and picking up my five-year-old from gymnastics) and the societal pressure to make sure your kids have a competitive advantage (of course my child knows Mandarin at age 4!), it’s no wonder we all feel like we have adult-onset ADD.

{Is that a thing?}

It’s time to take a breath. It’s far more important to me as a parent to prepare my child for a world where he or she can thrive than to be beholden to check boxes on a so-called success list. Appreciate what — and who — they have. Strike up a conversation with someone at a coffee shop (rather than stare at a phone or whatever the hot tech gadget will be. Bracelex ala Miles of Tomorrowland, maybe?). Enjoy their dinner instead of scarfing it down to make it to yet another practice. Know what to do with two unencumbered hours on a Saturday morning rather than look for someone (i.e. me) to tour direct them. Not feel like they have to check their calendar every 5 minutes to see where they should have been 10 minutes ago.

I’m smart enough to know that preparing my child for that means leading by example, but I don’t quite know how to undo the web we’ve woven just yet.

In  a world where my phone buzzes to it’s own rhythm, I am not-so-surprisingly grateful for my Kindergartner’s take-home folder. If there is a note in there, I have a prayer of a) seeing it, and b) reacting to it. It’s purposeful communication. No one rattles off an incoherent 140 characters in a take-home folder.

Apparently, I need a take-home folder for my life.

Want to know the surefire best way to get my attention these days? Send me a note. You know. One of those museum-relic things with ink. Email me for an address.

Oh, so 1995.