Monday, January 2, 2012

Lay Off My Cell Phone!

I recently read a blog post on written by a grandmother who thinks that moms' and dads should get off their cell phones and enjoy being with their children. All the time.

And I quote: "I see more caregivers (moms and nannies) talking on the phone while pushing a stroller than not. I think it should be like “no texting while driving.” “No cell phones while caring for a small child!”"

Turns out, my mom feels the same way:

“When I see parents on their cell phones ignoring their children, I say something. “ She said. “Get off the phone and pay attention to your child for Heaven’s sake.”

I leveled her with a look – a look culled from hours – ok, days – of lost sleep. A look shaped by the never-ending worry of being knee-deep (well, neck deep) in the ever-loving moment of parenting a preschooler and a toddler. A red-eyed look. A deep-socketed look. An “I haven’t slept for the past, oh, I don’t know, almost three years, and there are days when I forget to brush my teeth and put on deodorant, and my husband and I haven’t spent more than an hour alone together since I was pregnant with our first-born, and could someone please pass me a double shot latte and a bottle of wine, and what the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight, and Imma cut the next person who tells me how to raise my child” look.

LOOK. If my kid is playing with matches and licking dog poop off of a lead toy while sitting in the middle of a busy intersection, then sure, tell me to get off my cell phone and pay attention to my child. No, really. I may be (finally) having a little adult interaction with my best friend who lives on the other side of the world, but I want to know if my kid’s in danger. Because believe it or not, my priorities are pretty intact.

But otherwise? Give me a break.

After all, Mom, you get to give the kids back to me when you’re done playing at the park or having a very earnest discussion about how the wheels on the bus go round and round. (Lest we forget.) You get to go home and have a quiet dinner, or eat at a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids menu and crayons. You don’t have to sleep with one eye open, waiting for the inevitable wail.

Deep down I know that this too shall pass. But it’s hard to be Zen when you’re only sleeping two or three hours a night.

And surely Mom, you remember the crushing exhaustion of a croupy 2 year old. You must remember the midnight and two am and four am parades to the potty. You know what it’s like to be judged by grandparents who are sure they know better (and probably do know better, but that isn’t the point.)

And if you had had a cell phone back in the day, maybe you would have been on it commiserating with someone who understands. So cut me a break once in awhile. Por Favor.


  1. From as many iPhone pics as you post, I think it's obvious you spend plenty of time with your phone AND your kids at the same time! :)

  2. I adore this blog entry. Well said, mama. No matter how well intended a child rearing comment might be, if you haven't been in my shoes in the past 30 years, I probably can figure it out on my own :)

  3. Thanks for the reassurance, girls! I'm sure there are times when I should go hands-free with the kiddos around, but for the most part, they don't feel like they have to compete with the phone for my attention. My mom has good intentions....but sometimes she doesn't exactly know what's going on in my crazy-toddler world.

  4. like with most things in life a good dose of moderation and balance will do the trick, which, sadly aren't my forte... BUT I do try to watch the phone usage. I refuse to answer my phone if I'm at the dinner table or out at a restaurant. I'm old so I still remember a time when home phones with land lines were the in thang and people did not drive nor walk around with cell phones in hand...