Technology – specifically the mobile phone – gets a bad rap from the parenting world. I don’t know, man. I’m of the mind that BECAUSE of my phone, I get to be a better mom to my kids.
Here are just 10 ways I believe that to be true.
- I get to work from home two days a week. If I didn’t have this phone with my work email loaded, I wouldn’t be able to go on outings or to the park or to classes or anything on these days I work from home. WE NEED TO DO THESE THINGS, TRUST. I get to be with my kids AND be accountable at work. How great is that? I mean it’s never 100% of any one thing on those days, but hey, I will take it. And also, since having these kids, it’s never 100% except with them anyway. We all know.
- Banking and bills and life housekeeping. I pay my nanny with my phone. I pay all our bills online. My husband and I virtually throw money back and forth at each other for bills and crap because we have separate accounts – hey I’ve had my own account my whole adult life, just because I’m married now doesn’t mean that stops. We stay on top of all this because of our phones. Appointments and reminders and scheduling is a hell of a lot easier when we can just pop onto calendars and check things right then and there. Otherwise, it’s gone. POOF.
- Weather Apps. We live in Chicago. Enough said. ALWAYS BE PREPARED and the weather ain’t so bad.
- Photos and Videos. Oh sure. I take way too many, but aren’t we fortunate that we can, at any moment, capture something awesome or funny or sad or just beautiful? We have so much fun scrolling through photos and videos and sharing our memories together. Plus, sending quick pictures back and forth with relatives is a highlight.
- Notes. I’m a writer. I am struck with ideas all the time that if I don’t jot down immediately, are gone. Because I’m also getting old and a mom – I FORGET EVERYTHING IN TWO SECONDS IF IT ISN’T WRITTEN DOWN.
- Lists. Grocery lists – I use this great app for groceries called OUT OF MILK and you can just zap it right to your husband when he goes to the store each week (yes he is a saint)! Clothing lists, chore lists – you name it, there are lists. And apps for lists. As a Virgo, I completely appreciate this.
- Books and Music. Did you know that you can get e-books from the library and read them on your phone? Well, I didn’t know until recently, but now that I do, my reading game is changed. And Spotify? You are everything itunes never could be for me and I thank you for the spontaneous dance parties you provide. When I need to hear a certain song, you are always there for me. Unlike iTunes that made me remember all my passwords and money and stuff. I chalk this one up to self care and bettering myself through the arts. YEAH I DO.
- Instagram and Facebook. Our Nanny has a private feed just for my husband and I so that we don’t have to keep texting pictures and videos all damn day. She happens to be an excellent photographer as well as all her other qualities. We get an ongoing narrative of our kids days as we go about our day at work and it’s quite lovely. We get the best of being at work and seeing what is happening at home when we aren’t there. And Facebook, well, sometimes it is terrible and those are the days I just don’t look much. But other times – it’s a lifeline and I’m so grateful everybody is always RIGHT THERE.
- Facetime. When I’m not with them, I can still be with them. We factime a lot from work. Usually after naps. That tender time where they are just waking up and really emotional. My heart feels better and also hurts more after seeing and hearing them live. Their cousins and grandparents can be with them – if they stay still for 2 seconds – and it’s awesome.
- Kids games/Adult games. My kids are already smarter than me. There are all these educational games on my phone that they are really good at. Spelling, counting, puzzles, problem solving – you name it. And yes, I will bust out my phone at a restaurant to entertain them for a few minutes while we wait for our food. It’s worth it to drink my iced tea in peace for 5 minutes. OH YES OH YES. And adult games? My husband loves it and I mean LOVES it when I send him bitmojis. He CANNOT GET ENOUGH. It’s good to play. Even when you’re a grown up.
Really and truly, technology is the devil. But it’s the devil we all (most of us – don’t come after me) live with and I am truly grateful that I get to be this really good mom WITH her phone on her at all times. It helps me do more with my time and be present with my kids more. Go figure.
It’s all about balance, right? I don’t advocate for snuggling with your kids while holding your phone. And until they invent an app that will take a shower for me, I will still believe we humans corner the market on incredible inventions.
I have never been more efficient than when I yell at my husband downstairs to send me a text saying TAPE so the next time I look at my phone I will remember to add tape to my list. Hey, it works!
I just figure, we never ever know what’s going on with anybody else. If I see a mama at the park with her face in her phone, it could be the one time ALL DAMN DAY she gets to check in with other adults. It could be an online AA meeting or somebody texting with their sponsor because they are having a shit day and want to drink. It could be work – you know the ones that pay her to do a task in a timely manner? It could be a relative that she really really needs to connect with. Man, trust me. I’ve reached out with cries for help and been on the receiving end of cries for help and I am so so so grateful that I could. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY.
Nobody sees all the moments in somebody’s day. We don’t see all the time spent cleaning, cooking, tending to, playing, teaching, guiding, disciplining children. ALL DAMN DAY. And it’s wonderful and what we want, but if we need a break every so often (AND WE DO NEED A BREAK) and that comes on our phones, so be it. As long as the kids aren’t in danger, I say, all is well.
We need to absolutely pay attention to each other. All of us. To show love and give and receive. Without phones. But sometimes, phones are ok. I feel like this is a given, but maybe it needs to be said. Phones aren’t good all the time, but in moderation and for many different reasons, they help. In so many ways.
In the past few days, I’ve been a bit blue. No reason really, but the blues. And when my friends text me to ask how I am or say they’ve missed me or are thinking about me, that matters to me. When they send me something funny it may be just the thing to get me laughing that day and I need that. And it works both ways. When I’m thinking of someone, I send them a quick note. It helps us along. It’s valuable and it comes from our phones.
Let’s ease up on jumping to conclusions and giving each other grief over our outsides and just remember we never ever know a person or what is going on inside. This parenting gig is hard and wonderful and exhausting and terrifying and really really fun. Less judgement, more love and grace and understanding.
As my friend Keila says, stay in your lane.
Let’s cut each other some slack. More slack. You want to give me dirty looks because I’m on my phone while walking with the stroller as you pass me, BE MY GUEST. But I’ll tell you what, that says more about you than it does about me. I’m a skosh defensive about this as I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve watched it happen to others. FIST BUMP, MAMAS ON THE OTHER END OF THOSE LOOKS WHATEVER THE REASON MAY BE.
Let’s not make looking at a phone so black and white ( I mean, they have all these COLORS!). A parent looking at their phone is not a bad parent. I’m a damn good parent and I look at my phone. A parent that gives their phone to their kid to play for a few minutes is not a bad parent. I refuse to feel guilt about this stuff. Man, there is way too much else going on to feel guilty about THIS.
It is possible to achieve balance. I need to be mindful of time spent and what my kids are seeing when they look at me. I need to practice mindfulness and being in the moment. We need to talk about it and be responsible. And when they are old enough, like, in 30 years, maybe they can get their own phones. I know we have a long road ahead (hopefully) with many negotiations about screen time and all that, and we will cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, I’ve gotta check on Insta as I need to know what the projects are at home today as I sit at my desk downtown in my office. Technology. Ain’t life grand?
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