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Siri, What's 'Healthy iPhone Use While Parenting'?

Once I made the switch from Blackberry to iPhone, it was like a part of me had been awakened. Like I hadn’t been living life to the fullest. Angry Birds instead of Brickbreaker? An iPod in my phone? All the apps? Was it all that, or was it that I hadn’t been wasting time to the fullest?

Now that I have two kids, the iPhone is of even greater value to me. Though I am conscious of overuse and am careful to not neglect my kids in any way by being on the phone, I do sometimes wish I’d never been introduced to this damn thing. But, like I said before, I can’t go back. That’s like going back to plain M&M's when you know you could be eating pretzel M&M's.

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My friends say, “You should try to parent without the phone for a day and see what happens.” To that, I say, “And while I’m at it, why don’t I also churn my own butter. Do I look like a pioneer?”

But then, in quiet moments, when I realize I’ve spent five minutes contemplating which Instagram filter to use on a picture of my kid’s milk mustache, I do wonder, am I relying too much on my iPhone? And do I rely on it too much to parent? So I decide to pay special attention to what my iPhone use looks like in a day.

6:30 a.m.—iPhone Alarm. My iPhone’s melodious alarm wakes me, if my toddler hasn’t already. I hop (slowly roll with accompanying groan) out of bed and go to wake my 11-year-old.

6:30 a.m.—Music App. I blast either “Who Let the Dogs Out” or George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” not far from my son’s head to wake him.

6:45 a.m. I check my email on my iPhone. OK, and Facebook. And Instagram and Twitter.

7:00 a.m.—Notes App. “Need Milk, Coffee, Diapers” but not in that order.

8:00 a.m.—Camera. My 16-month-old daughter is eating her eggs in an exceptionally cute way. PHOTO OPP!

8:01 a.m. Then I Instagram that shit.

I video Stella picking her nose.

9:00 a.m.—FaceTime. My toddler, Stella, gets some face-to-face time with her grandparents. Both parties are thrilled. And it’s made very clear to me, when Stella reaches out to offer them a goldfish and then cries when they don’t take it, that she thinks her grandparents live inside the phone.

10:00 a.m.—Bejeweled. I sit down in the bathroom to enjoy a little “me time.” I pull out my phone to play Bejeweled for two minutes. I got two minutes of Bejeweled and “me time” in before the toddler is heard screaming outside the door.

11:00 a.m.—Memory Game App. I play the memory game with Stella as we sit in her room and wind down for her nap. We should really only play one game, as she 1) has a 16-month-old attention span and 2) needs to take a nap. But we end up playing three games because I have a gaming problem.

11:09 a.m.—Camera. I video Stella picking her nose. I email it to my parents right away.

11:10-2 p.m.—Email, Notes, Research and maybe one game of Bejeweled. I get some work in while Stella naps.

2:05 p.m.—Camera. Her bedhead needs to be memorialized.

3:00 p.m.—Google. I reluctantly Google “Mentos and Coke” as I gripe, “Isn’t everyone and their dog going to be doing this for their science project?” In other words, I help my son work on his science project.

3:30 p.m.—Google. I Google how to get gum out of my toddler’s hair. I don’t know where she found the gum.

3:34 p.m.—Camera. Of course I need a pic of that.

4:00 p.m.—Recipe App. I peruse my recipe app to figure out what I can make with the chicken in my fridge that is on the verge.

4:30 p.m.—Yelp. I decided the chicken was past the verge, so I Yelp a good Chinese Spot.

6:45 p.m.—Web MD App. We all feel slightly ill and wonder if the beef and broccoli was bad. I look at Web MD to see how soon food poisoning sets in.

7:00 p.m.—YouTube. Stella and I watch our nightly Beyoncé music video as she drinks her milk after her bath.

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8:00 p.m.—Vine. Evan, my 11-year-old, and I watch funny Vine videos together.

12:30 a.m.—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

This was all in one random day. And this list is the abridged version. That’s a lot of iPhone use. I put my phone down and think to myself. Do I have a problem? Is this abnormal?

I pick up my phone and Google “healthy iPhone use while parenting.”

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