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I Honestly Don't Care If My Phone Makes Me a Bad Parent

Photograph by Twenty20

I have a serious love-hate relationship with my phone.

On one hand, I am fully aware that I was probably a better parent in my pre-smartphone days. When my second daughter was born, way back in 2010, I wasn't cool enough for a smartphone yet and spent a full—get ready for it—three whole months without going on the Internet once. She was plenty out of the newborn chicken-legged stage by the time I got around to announcing her birth to people who didn't really care because they didn't see me in real life.

During those 12 weeks, instead of mindlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram or pinning recipes I legit will never make, I took a nap every single day. That's not an exaggeration. I had a 2-year-old and a newborn at the time, and if the stars aligned and they both fell asleep together? Well, then I hit the hay, too.

Not coincidentally, I'm sure, my second child was the only child that I didn't practically die of mastitis with. I was actually well-rested and had a "real" maternity leave, unlike with children No. 3 and 4, when I was literally still working while in labor in my hospital bed, thanks to—you guessed it—my tether phone.

So in some ways, you could say I was most definitely a better parent without my phone. But in other ways, I know I am a happier parent for having my phone.

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I honestly feel like it's just me alone in the world with endless diaper changes, toddler tantrums and lunch cleanups so daunting even NASA would be intimidated. So having some kind of connection to the outside world is a blessing.

Here's the thing: I am not someone who naturally feels like staying home with small, young children is the bee's knees. I am not someone who naturally feels joyful and sunshiny to entertain a 1-year-old and 3-year-old all goddamn day long. I am not someone who jumps out of bed just itching to spend two hours trying to get everyone dressed for the day, only to have the baby poop at the exact second we are heading out of the door and then fight me like a professional wrestler to get her pants back on (meanwhile, the 3-year-old empties the contents of the kitchen cupboard). Then the phone rings and they're both crying and hungry, and I give up even trying to leave because now it's lunchtime, which means it's going to take another hour just to clean up.

The point is, this stay-at-home motherhood stuff of little people is tough.

Maybe it's just tough for me personally or maybe it's just tough in general, but either way, I feel like I'm holding on by a thread here most days.

And that thread is sometimes my phone.

When I feel like I can't take another minute, I know support from some of my best mom friends is only a group text away.

When I need to mindlessly scroll Instagram before I lose my temper, my phone is there for me.

When I need to juggle work emails, schedule a doctor's appointment, find a last-minute babysitter and maybe just daydream about a date night that more than likely will never happen with the husband, Siri is there for me.

When I feel like I can't keep my eyes open long enough to trust myself not to fall asleep on the baby, my favorite blogs and Scary Mommy confessions were there for me.

I'm not saying that I ignore my children 24/7 or that I don't ever get sick of being tethered to that little chunk of technology. I actually purposefully hide the thing at night and turn it on airplane mode a lot because I'm started to get freaked out that all this Wi-Fi is giving us brain cancer.

But what I am saying is that for the most part, as a stay-at-home mom, I honestly feel like it's just me alone in the world with endless diaper changes, toddler tantrums and lunch clean-ups so daunting even NASA would be intimidated. So having some kind of connection to the outside world that lets me instantly talk to someone, get inspired by someone or even work for someone who will actually pay me in something other than sticky kisses (not that those aren't great) is a blessing.

I'm thankful for the ways that technology has improved my very isolated, often lonely life as a mom.

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Am I more distracted? Maybe I am. But tell me again who wouldn't want to be distracted from changing diapers all day long?

Do you really love poop that much to give it your undivided attention 24/7? No, I didn't think so. So give it a rest, people, and let us moms find support wherever we can get it.

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