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[personal profile] strixluna
I promised a friend my rant on this weeks ago and just now have I gotten to the point where I am ready to write it. And what do you know, when I tracked down the original source... I'm less likely to rant. But I do still have some thoughts.

I've seen this going around on Facebook at lot, often either with a picture of a kid crying or a woman on her phone (with no kid in sight). Originally it was from a blog called 4 Little Fergusons. The entry is called Dear Mom On The iPhone and it pretty much reeks of judgement.

Here it is in it's entirety:

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.


Note from Tonya:

This blog post is written for me, too! It could just as easily say Dear Mommy on the Computer, because I also struggle to find balance between needing a break, and knowing when its time to walk away from the computer to be Mommy again. So, I try to limit it to nap time and after the children are in bed. I am just asking for us to be aware of how this media time can overflow into our face to face time with our family and those around us.

Well first of all let me say that the note appended to the end changes it for me. If the author is seeing and commenting on her own perceived failings well it's vastly different from if she's seeing and commenting on the perceived failings of others. Big, BIG difference.

But still there is something about this that gets my goat. And it has to do with the fact that in our culture we don't admit that parenting is hard, monotonous (particularly with infants and toddlers), sometimes thankless feeling (with toddlers and teenagers), gut wrenching, scary (all ages) work. Oh, we like to admit it's work. We just don't like to admit that sometimes it's not work any reasonable person actually wants to be doing. Not always, sometimes. Parenting, whether it's the only thing you do as a stay at home parent or something you do in conjunction with paid work inside or outside of the house is not a black and white thing. It really is the very essence of shades of grey.

Some moments it's sublime and you can't possibly imagine what on earth you did to deserve the bliss that you feel. And some moments you are in such utter despair that you wonder how many sins you have committed in how many different lifetimes to deserve this misery. Most moments are somewhere in-between those two extremes. And get this, particularly when they are wee things so your kids are going through their own rapid mood changes you can have all of these moments in a single day.

That's heavy stuff. It's even heavier when you come to the realization that you're only ever supposed to talk about the good stuff.

How is that even a little ok? How can we expect people to live like that? Also, everyone has bad days and bad moments in their academics, their social lives, and their jobs. But we're never EVER supposed to have a bad day as a parent? We're always supposed to be "on" 24/7 for 18 (or more) years per child? That's simply not possible. Sometimes parents, like everyone else, need a break. Sometimes that five or ten minutes playing a silly game on your iPhone is the only thing that gives you enough mental downtime so that when the kiddos want to tell you one more endless story about their stuffed animals having an adventure you don't completely check out.

Now I like toddlers. I will sit and talk to toddlers pretty much all day because I'm endlessly fascinated by how they view the world. But it's exhausting. And I don't think there's any shame in admitting that. Now that my kids are older I will admit that I know far more about Minecraft, Pokemon, and SpongeBob Squarepants than I ever wanted to. They are things that, if not for my children, I would simply take no interest in at all. And I think all of us are like that. We all learn about new things from the people we interact with, whether they are our children, our co-workers, our friends, or anyone else in the wide world.

I'm sure that the author of the blog that started this rant feels like she is simply responding to something that she sees as problematic. I'm equally certain (particularly after reading the note) that she is responding to something she sees in herself and perhaps just feels helpful. But being judgey doesn't actually ever help. Shaming ourselves and each other never actually helps!

Let's try and be good to each other, and honest with ourselves. That will help.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-05-28 11:00 pm (UTC)
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zorkian
Thanks for writing this.

It's really hard sometimes to remember that it's OK to be frustrated and wonder why you ever signed up for this. And, for me, it's nice to hear it from someone who's doing it, too. I can't imagine how Ari does it -- she's with the kids so much more than I am, and I just.. I am so in awe of that.


strixluna: small owl (Default)Strix Luna

May 2013

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