What It Really Means to Stay Connected

I have what Harry and I commonly refer to as attention-splattered moments, when it feels like someone has grabbed the brain from my head and dropped it on the pavement to shatter like a ripe pumpkin. I don’t know which piece to pick up first, and I couldn’t begin to put my concentration back together to focus on one thing.

My brain runs on high gear to begin with, and keeping myself on track is a challenge. Harry helps redirect my focus back to where it should be, most times. He’s quite good at that. Sometimes, though, when faced with a glimpse into my little world, he has the hardest time figuring out what I’m thinking.

Hence, “Digital Mom – Spouse” on my blog stockpile list meant nothing to Harry. Because I’m attention splattered, it meant nothing to me either. I’d scrambled to jot down the idea on a day where concentration was short and I was pressed for time. Of course, I was proud that I had remembered to jot the thought on digital moms and spouses down before I forgot it, though.

After I was questioned about the topic and its possible meaning, I decided to find out why I’d bothered to jot that down in the first place. Lo and behold, Google provided the answers (we love Google): A recent blog post titled “Tips from a Digital Mom” had obviously stirred my thoughts.

I couldn’t remember what those particular thoughts were as I read the post again. The content was about using chat as a means of keeping in touch with your spouse. Well, any means of communication with a partner is great, I thought.

Then I thought again. When the life you’ve decided to share with someone else becomes so busy that you have no time to even talk in a face-to-face conversation with the person, something’s wrong. I thought it particularly sad that this couple who lived in the same household had no time for each other, to hold hands for a few minutes or talk and that instant messaging was the solution to staying connected.

And on the heels of that, I thought of all the other people who’d love to be face to face with their partner but can’t be. We live in a busy world, and sometimes we have obligations to take care of that keep a couple apart. Sometimes job locations separate a couple. Sometimes, the separation is caused by shift work, illness, or deployment to other countries. In this case, the written word can speak volumes.

I still have a note an old girlfriend wrote to me years ago where she tells me all the good things about me (and fondly notes a few of the bad). I remember the time I shared a house with three people when I attended CEGEP. Our schedules never let us cross paths, so we had a spiral book on the kitchen table where we would jot down notes for each other, funny jokes, grocery items to buy, or even written, silent arguments. I thought of how I receive emails at 9pm from my mother because she doesn’t want to call to bother me at that hour. Then there’s Harry, who lives 3000 miles away in another country. We have our IMs on from the “good mornings” to the “g’nites”.

The digital mom was right. If it takes an instant message program to stay connected to family and friends, then so be it. Better the written word than no words at all.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.