Does Alexa live at your house? If so, you’re probably talking to her more than you think. For most of us that have this relatively new piece of artificial intelligence in our households, at least one out of our first three conversations every single day are with Alexa.
That’s kind of scary. But there’s no doubt Alex’s AI makes life simpler in a lot of ways, so maybe it’s worth it. However, Alexa also provides a never-ending stream of connectivity and, therefore, possible distraction.
For example, the other night I was finishing writing a blog on setting boundaries (keep reading, and you’ll see the irony – but don’t worry, I was called on my s#$% by my special guest during my Facebook Live later that week – click here for that video).
I was deep in writing mode, super close to being finished. Of course, at that moment, my eldest daughter came in and asked to spend time with me.
Unfortunately, my child has heard me say, “Just give me a few more minutes,” far too often over the years. Using this phrase on repeat is not something I am proud of. I could justify it by telling you that writing is something difficult for me, so when I am on a roll, I need to just keep letting it flow. I could explain that I have multiple companies I run that require my attention. I could tell you about all the times where I really did need just a few more minutes to wrap up a task.
None of those excuses matter because my daughters will always be more important than my work. However, I do still run multiple companies, and writing is challenging for me, and sometimes, as a humxn, I really just need a few more minutes.
To relieve some of this household tension and keep me from having to constantly nag the kids to get ready for bedtime, we recently decided to take advantage of Alexa’s AI in a new way. We programmed Alexa reminders to “go brush your teeth,” or “start your homework packet.” Involving Alexa has been a great auditory cue for both girls, and it has eliminated a lot of confrontations with Mom. Loving how successful this new tool was, I emphasized to both girls that “what Alexa says, goes.”
So, there I was, trying to wrap up a blog post on boundaries, and I’d just sent my daughter out of the office, asking her once again to “give me a few more minutes.”
Moments later, I heard her say, “Alexa, set a reminder for 10 minutes for Mommy to spend time with her babies.”
My heart broke.
I felt like my daughter believed Alexa had more power to hold and direct her mom’s attention than she did. My laptop closed immediately. In fact, I shut it completely off, turned the TV off, and put my phone on silent. Then, I just sat with my girls and read a book.
I will never get this time back with them. Nothing is more important than this moment, right now. This time in their lives and mine is a blessing; to pause and be really connected with them is the greatest gift I could possibly imagine. As important as it is to share my message with all of you, if I cannot be present for the next generation of Difference Makers, the ones standing right outside my door, just waiting for me to pour my love and knowledge into them, then I am not practicing what I preach.
It should have never taken a little black piece of AI that sits on my counter to remind me of this truth. During this unusual time, I have revisited my DEFY calendar and have reworked my schedule to be sure I’ve made time for the things that matter. But I strongly feel the most important and productive thing I can do right now is to be a present parent. Here is another awesome video from my daughter and my business partner’s daughter’s on what these times mean to them.
For you, parenting may not be the most productive thing right now. It may be something else, like mindfully taking the dog out or maybe just intentionally disconnecting. Whatever it is, set a reminder to take care of you, and make time for what really matters.
Be sure to tell me what you’re up to in the comments. Will you use AI reminders to keep you accountable? Is Alexa friend or foe for you during this time?
P.S. Alexa also ruined my life in a more literal way when my daughter managed to order copious amounts of Silk Chocolate Almond Milk without my approval. For several days in a row.
P.P.S. Also, am I the only one who feels like Alexa’s response of, “Sure” sounds awfully judgemental when I ask her to play a certain song or playlist? Comment below if you think your AI judges you, too.
P.P.P.S. Amazon did not compensate me for writing this blog. But if they want to pay me retroactively, I accept. 😉