We were driving through the beautiful countryside yesterday and my husband said, “Hey Kate, stop looking at your phone and look at the scenery.” I was in the worst mood ever (we were joking about it) and I said, “Oh would you shut up and let me look at my phone!” I’d seen the pretty scenery a million times before and it was the first time I’d had a chance to check my phone all day.
Somehow, my husband can get away with being on his phone whenever he needs to. But when it’s my turn… Forget it! They all need me then. It’s not fair!
It’s ok, I get it. My family likes my presence.
Sure I use my phone to look at stupid things on Facebook, come on, we all do. But, most of the time, I’m using it for something legitimate!
I’m tired of seeing those ‘Stop missing your kid’s childhood by looking at your phone‘ articles. You know what? I don’t even have time to read them… because I’M TOO BUSY WITH MY KIDS. But, I feel like these articles are glaring at me!
See, you have this tiny computer in your hand. It’s not just a phone. This thing in my hand is occasionally my phone, yes. It’s also my connection with other like minded mothers, my writing, my work email, my map, my weatherman, my music, my grocery list, my encyclopedia, my camera and my only way of sharing our life with family that lives 10,000 miles away.
I don’t have ‘office hours’. I might grab a moment when my 5 year old is at dance, or a few minutes when the kids run wild at the park and I’m too tired to chase them. It sounds chaotic, but right now, that’s the only way I can get it to work without missing out on sleep. I don’t want to stay up all night on the computer, I’d rather go to bed with the kids.
I pull out my phone at the playground sometimes and I get a few sly looks while my kids play semi-unsupervised.
I don’t remember MY parents going to the playground with me when I was a kid! What’s the big deal if I sit on the bench and look at my phone? Is it any different than reading a newspaper?
I spend all day with my kids, either that or I’m at work.
We have no TV. They don’t go to daycare or school because we’re home schooling. My husband and I take turns being with them.
We have no family within 10,000 miles of us.
Most nights, when the kids fall asleep for the night, I collapse in an exahusted heap next to them.
We live in a tiny apartment and WE’RE ON TOP OF EACH OTHER ALL DAY. When we’re at the playground, that time you see me on my phone ‘ignoring‘ my kids, might just be the only time all day that I have to get in touch with the world.
Guilty, guilty, guity.
Yes, it’s true, sometimes I overuse the phone. And, I’ve noticed that I go through periods when I start using it as a crutch.
The kids are driving me insane…. mmmm…. reach for the phone… the same way anyone would reach for a bag of chips or a piece of chocolate…. Then I know I’m abusing it. But, what I’ve found is that after I go through a period when I use the phone too much, after a while, I can’t even stand to look at the damn thing! So I put it away for a few days.
Only 5 years ago, when I was a new mother and didn’t have an iPhone, I felt very isolated and found it hard to connect with like minded people. Now, thanks to the internet and mostly being able to use Facebook on the fly, I can meet up with like minded mothers in my area on any day of the week. I can ask any question and instantly get thorough and honest opinions/advice from people whom I sometimes don’t even know!
Through my phone, I organize yoga and parenting courses and workshops. If I couldn’t do it on the fly, it would never get done.
This post should not be taken as a license for everyone to just start using their phone when their children desperately need their attention. Let’s face it, it only takes a second for something happen.
Just last summer, I took my kids swimming at a protected sandy beach and a young mother’s son nearly drowned because she was too busy with her phone. Luckily, I yanked the kid out of the water before it was too late. No… let’s not be stupid please… Also, when you constantly check your phone, you are disrupting your brain’s ability to focus. There is a time and place.
We live in a world where society is still getting used to having a pocket sized distraction that is smarter than all the computers in NASA combined that sent the Apollos to the moon.
A phone can be used for a million things, so it shouldn’t just be assumed that when a parent is using it, it’s just being used for farting around with and wasting time. Yes, I know I need to use my phone responsibly, but just because I’m using it at the playground, or while my husband is driving us by the beautiful scenery, doesn’t mean I’m abusing it.
And, I guess I can’t finish without adding, that I don’t miss the sunset because I’m too busy taking a photo of it.