Someone I know posted on Facebook about seeing a mom pushing a kid on a swing while checking her phone AND reading the newspaper with a “way to be present” remark.
In one of his specials Louis C.K. cracks on the mom on her phone on the park bench while he PLAYS with his kids.
I don’t like this.
It makes me uncomfortable.
Not the phone usage. (We’ll get to that in a minute.) But the expectations that parents, particularly moms, must be present at every single instant of every single day.
For those that know me, you’ll know I don’t like phones. I mean, I like that they are extremely useful tools, but I don’t like a lot of ways that they are used now. I try to stay off the phone, particularly around the kiddos. I try to model that it is OK to be a little bored and OK with your own thoughts. They likely think of my phone as a source of dance party music and contacting their friends to get together. They don’t know if my phone plays games because I actually don’t know if my phone plays games. I’ve never done it.
Suffice it to say that I’m not exactly the number one advocate for phones.
But these “get off your phone” comments hurt. They hurt because they could have been made to me at some point or other. And I try not to care, but it irks me that people would judge me for two minutes of behavior without thinking about the bigger picture.
Maybe the mom on her phone baked gluten-free cupcakes with her kids, played dinosaurs for an hour, and read The Cat in the Hat 50 times in a row before she spent a few minutes of time for herself to check her phone.
Maybe the mom on her phone is having one mega-horrible day and she just needs to reach out to some friends so she doesn’t go crazy and start desecrating the see-saw.
Maybe the mom on her phone believes that the kids need some time on their own and learning to entertain themselves is a valuable skill.
Am I saying it is OK to neglect your kids? NO. Of course not.
I’m just asking not to rush to judgment. It’s easy to do. I’ve done it as well.
Are some people on their phone too much? Sure.
Are you on your phone too much? I don’t know. I’m sure it is something you work on, just like the rest of us.
But I do know that the days are long. Even if someone is not devoting their full attention to a child at some point, I’d posit that they had some other quality time during the day. And even if you try really really hard to be present, because the years are short, it isn’t humanly possibly to be present for every instant of every day.
I’d prefer that you didn’t, but there are MANY more legitimate things for you to judge me on.
Such as my complete state of denial about the potty training situation.
Or my lackadaisical attitude toward making the kids wash their hands.
Or the fact that I just realized I’ve been pronouncing that word lack-SA-daisical in my mind for quite some time.
Just please don’t judge me for occasionally looking at my phone.
Or better yet, don’t judge. I think most people are just trying to do the best they can. Judging others is, in the parlance of my times, for doodyheads.