This is a sponsored post written for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The opinions expressed are honest. #Calls Kill
My Dearest Lydia and Bryce,
Let me start this by saying I’m really not sure how we got here. They say the years pass so quickly and that you need to do everything you can to enjoy every single moment as a parent, but it’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s utterly exhausting and exceptionally challenging. As a parent, you go from sleepless nights and changing diapers to homework battles and talking back. And when you’re in each stage, it seems endless. You often question “When will I get to sleep in again?” “When will they just pee on the potty independently?” and when you look back, you long for just one more night of cuddling or time spent sitting next to you on the toilet, hoping to hear a little tinkle.
And now you’re both teenagers. I am a mother to teenagers. And in front of each of you are an infinite number of possibilities. Decisions I can guide you to make, but ultimately, you make the choices for yourselves, and all I can do is hope that I taught you well. As over-protective as I would like to be, imagining that by monitoring your every moment I can make everything in your life better, I know I need to allow you to begin to learn about life on your own. Soon, you’ll be hanging out with your friends, driving in their cars, staying out late, and ultimately preparing for adulthood. And I know you will make mistakes. I made plenty at that time, but I always knew one thing. Regardless of what kind of trouble I was about to get myself into, my parents were always there for me.
I will always be there for you.
Remember that whatever it is, I will always love you and always want you to be safe. For some people, one-second decisions shape the remainder of their lives. That text message that “needs” to be sent while you’re driving. The phone call you “need” to answer while driving. That social media comment that “needs” to be written while driving. All of those things can wait. Your safety cannot. Please, when driving a car, when driving in friends’ cars, make sure everyone is focused on the road. Some mistakes can be easily reversed; some cannot. Just a moment can change everything.
Thinking of my children driving one day, making those one-second decisions that could change their lives… is more terrifying than I could ever express in words. Contemplating all of this led me to think about my own behaviors. What are the kids seeing me doing in the car? To be honest, I am often searching for an address while driving, chatting on the phone with family and friends, texting or checking my Facebook at red lights, changing radio stations on my phone, and other behaviors that I’m honestly not very proud to admit. Humans often feel invincible while thinking to ourselves “I know I can do (insert poor decision) safely”, but that may not be true. Reality? Accidents happen. And even if they aren’t our fault, if we had just be slightly more alert, perhaps they could have been avoided.
So this past week, I challenged myself to not use my cell phone in the car at all. This was a serious challenge. I drive a lot, and I often use my driving time to catch up with my sister, mom, and friends by calling them on my phone. I also make business-related phone calls that are often challenging to do while monitoring the children. But I need to learn to monitor my children’s safety and my own safety better. I need to model the behaviors I want them to one day demonstrate when it’s time for them to make decisions for themselves. I need to remind them of how important it is to be cautious when behind the wheel. Because in just seconds, your entire life can change. Poor choices while driving can kill you and your loved ones. It’s a horrifying reality.
April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month. Take the challenge to not use your cell phones while driving, even if you are hands-free. Honestly, using my phone less during this past week has not only made me feel safer, but it also made me realize how much more time I can spend talking to my children while they are driving with me. And I feel really good about the driving behaviors they have seen me displaying. It’s a win all around! You can take the National Safety Council pledge, too, to monitor the safety of your loved ones while you drive.