Is it just me, or is the park boring? Call me selfish, but the park seems to be a fabulous place for everyone except mom. The kids are having a great time digging and climbing, but it’s not like they’re digging and climbing with me. So my job at the park is to make sure no one takes my kids or their shoes. These are two important jobs, but neither is terribly exciting.
Actually, much of a mom’s job is boring. I know we’re not supposed to admit that out loud, but you know what I’m talking about. Sure, you’re happy your kid is having fun at the park or on that playdate, but your kid’s not having fun with you. You’re just the transport and the security guard, making sure everyone is safe and happy.
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Likewise, much of a mom’s job can be lonely, even isolating. For me, being a new mom was difficult. I hadn’t expected to feel alone. Sometimes, my infant son was the only person I saw all day. I loved him without question, but it felt like I was watching the world from afar. Everything was happening and I wasn’t a part of it. I longed to feel connected to the world. I longed to be a part of everything.
I started out my time as a mom with lots of rules about lots of things, my iPhone being one of them. I didn’t want my son to feel like he was in competition with my iPhone every time I was on it, so I never texted, emailed or made a call while I was with him. If I needed to use the phone I’d sneak it in during his nap or after bedtime, as if my phone and I were having an affair. And the few times I needed to make a call or answer a text while I was with my son, I faced the raised eyebrows of every mom in sight. It seems I wasn’t the only one who had rules about my iPhone use. We were all on the same page.
Instead of sitting stone-faced at the park, I have a good laugh with a friend.
But over time I’ve lightened up on myself. Sometimes I need to make a call when I’m around my children, and occasionally I need to check my emails. And sometimes I don’t need to; I just want to. Instead of sitting stone-faced at the park, I have a good laugh with a friend via a quick text or say a short hello to someone who lives far away. Sometimes, I just want to connect with a friend or family member so I can feel like I’m a part of things, and that life isn’t passing me by.
So next time your thought bubble is filled with judge-y thoughts about the mom at the park who is gabbing on her cell phone, don’t assume she’s the world’s worst mom. In fact, maybe she’s smart enough to know that five-minute chat with a grown-up is all she needs to get through a whole day with her tired toddler and teething infant. And instead of judging other moms, go say hello. Maybe all she needs is a grown-up to speak to. I know I do.
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So how do you know if you’re on your phone too much?
Your kids think the top of your head is actually your face.
You only take your kids to places with a power source.
You can have full text conversations in emoji.
You use all the minutes on your family plan all by yourself.
You aren’t exactly sure where your kids are, but you’ve “liked” every friend’s kids photos online.
Friends and family call the authorities if you don’t answer a call or text within one minute.
Your kids have to call you to get your attention.
You went into mourning that time you lost your phone.
You plan vacations based on what city has the best cell service.
When you think of the word “sacrifice,” you think of life without your phone.