You may have seen a picture and story floating around Facebook and other social media sites recently with a title like “Dear Mom on the iPhone.” It talks about how sad it is that while this mom is looking at her phone her kids are doing beautiful and amazing things that she is totally missing. If mom would just look up from her phone, she’d see all this beauty and awesome wonderfulness – but she just won’t put the phone down while she plays with her kids. Tragic, isn’t it?
Or is it?
Know what I think is tragic? When a stranger makes a snap judgment about my life or level of concern for my children after observing me on a playground for ten minutes.
Know what else I think is tragic? When we give mothers another ridiculous reason to feel guilty about how they choose to raise their children.
I am that mom on her phone. But you don’t know the whole story. I’ve probably just spent a whole day teaching a roomful of children, including my own son. I’m trying to figure out if my youngest son was accidentally given something with dairy in it, because he’s got a rash all over his face. I’m also trying to figure out how to get my older son to stop talking back. We’ve got an hour until soccer starts, and I have to figure out something for dinner that will meet everyone’s specific dietary needs – and it would be nice if they would actually eat it. My husband texts me to say he has to work late, so I’ll be flying solo until about 8:30 p.m. I’m trying to answer emails from clients, find new clients, plus pin, share, and tweet my blog posts. I’m wondering when I’ll ever get to do laundry again, and if the boys have clean socks for tomorrow.
To put it simply: I’ve got a lot going on.
So yes, while my boys are running, sliding, and swinging I try to take care of as many of these needs as I can – and yes, I might just be on Facebook or Twitter taking a few minutes to unwind. And I don’t think I need to defend that, to a stranger or anyone else. My children are clearly at the forefront of my thoughts and actions all day, every day. Stolen time on my phone while I push them on the swings doesn’t mean I don’t love them, that they’re not important, or that I’ve put other things first. I’ve learned how to mix playtime with work and household management BECAUSE I love them so much.
The story linked above starts by telling me I’m a great mom, and then goes on to tear me down by telling me all that I am missing in my children. How about the other 23 hours of my day that you are missing? If you know I love my kids so much, then leave me alone and let me have my brief moment of peace. Don’t judge what you don’t know. Peddle your mom-guilt elsewhere – I’m full-up here.