Beep. What was that? You listen for a while and don’t hear it again so you figure it was nothing. Fast forward 40 minutes and the beeping is now happening every 5 minutes. You know exactly what it is - the smoke detector battery is running low. It does you a “favor” by beeping every few minutes so that you can replace it. However it is 10 pm. Everyone is asleep except for you. And you know that there is no way you will sleep listening to that beeping (which always seems to echo throughout the house no matter where the actual detector is located). And to boot you know that you don’t have any 9v batteries (who keeps stock of 9v? AA, AAA, C, D, you name it, but 9v is never in the junk drawer.) Some detectors will give you a break if you don’t happen to have a 9v and will stop their chirping if you remove the battery. It allows you to ignore for a little while until you can make it to the store.
In contrast, we are all acutely aware of the battery on our phone. We know exactly how long we can go without plugging in. We take steps to make sure that it is fully charged before we head out the door. If we forget, we have a backup plan in the form of a car charger or portable charger that can fit in your purse. Charging stations are popping up everywhere, in the mall and in stadiums to help people recharge when they are on the go. Letting your phone battery run out is unthinkable and for some may cause a minor anxiety attack.
Why the contrast? Why are there some batteries that we diligently check, while others are so easy to ignore? I equate the phone battery to your immediate needs. It is your to do list. Every day you expend most of your energy running from place to place, checking items off the list and moving on to the next one. You take time to recharge this battery so that you can check more things off the list. The smoke detector battery is more like your personal needs. It is the battery you need to recharge in order to feel your best physically and emotionally. It is a battery that is easier to ignore, but if you ignore it for too long the consequences could be costly.
Which low battery will you recharge today?
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.