Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

I'm That Mom On Her iPhone

A particular meme has been floating around Facebook for awhile now and recently a friend reposted it leaving me feeling a little bit annoyed. So, what do I do about it? Well, I'm a blogger, so I blog about it of course. Perhaps you've also seen this post too? Maybe you even 'liked' it and agreed with the sentiment? I'm talking about the chastising post about mothers who should hang up their iPhones and be present with their children instead.

This Facebook post actually originated from a personal blog post from a mother of 4 somewhere out in the midwest of the good ol' US of A, 'Dear Mom on the iPhone'. It continues to circulate social media and people are nodding their heads with great satisfaction and overall judgement. If you haven't read the original post the gist is this, mothers should stop pulling out their iPhones when they are with their children as time is very fleeting and you need to be present. This topic seems to go along nicely with the words of wisdom that I was frequently besotted with from strangers when both my children were very tiny babies. The, 'enjoy every minute, they grow so fast' type of wisdom that I constantly heard wherever we went. I really did hear them but I was too busy thinking, 'I'm so tired! I just want a fucking nap!'.

Parents are not perfect and some are better at different parts of child rearing than others. The one thing that I'm most certain of is, no matter how great of a mother you are parents do not get breaks. We don't get time to do personal planning or five minutes to use the bathroom alone. In fact, today I washed my hair which was amazing as it had been 6 days since the last time I was able to take the time off to do so. So, I can't help but to feel defensive to all of the hearty "yeah! yeah! I agree!" in response to the 'Dear Mom on the iPhone' post. Instead, let's be kind. and let's be gentle.

One of the great things about being a parent is you learn how to multitask as soon as you have your baby. So, while I am at the park, for the second or third time that day, I am also on my iPhone texting about dinner plans with my husband. While I'm pushing sweet gorgeous Josie on the baby swing, I'm also taking a cute picture of her to send to her grandma. I might also be texting with a friend about meeting up for a playdate or maybe on Twitter reporting the rainy weather in Vancouver all while Instagraming a photo of my perfect latte.

While the original blogger intended for her post to be more eye opening than judgemental, the spin off of her blog post is just that. It is purely judgemental, which is something that mothers seem really good at doing to other mothers. While I am out and about with my two kids you might catch me making silly faces with them or playing on the playground with my two and from time to time you might see me on my iPhone when I'm with my kids and I am okay with that. I think that to be a good mother and to raise good kids every moment doesn't have to be the making of a Hallmark moment.

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What do you think about mom's on their iPhone while they're out raising their children? Acceptable or not at all? I'd love to hear about your practice of using your smartphone while your children are around.


Lulumum said...

I'm a mom who is with her children 24 hours a day/7 days a week and I am also the mom who 'disconnects' from her children while we are at the playground. unfortunately, I am not a super mom and I cannot be 'connected' ever waking hour. I need mental breaks because being a mom is physically, emotionally and mentally draining. I see the looks from the super moms at the park that helicopter over their children, and I tune them out too while I check my facebook and twitter and let my kids do their thing.

April 7, 2013 at 12:49 PM  
Anonymous said...

I saw that post on facebook recently and I semi agreed but mostly thought it was a little unrealstic. It's like when I read that everytime you breastfed your baby you should JUST BREASTFED and do nothing else. Don't play on your phone or computer, don't read, etc. Well,, I was the breastfeeding mom that was reading, watching tv, on my computer, reading a magazine, wandering around shopping....You can't be expected to constantly be connected and zoned in on your children and babies. When I take my daughter to the park I usually text a few people and take some photos AND pay attention to her and play with her. I don't feel like I am missing out on anything, I feel like I'm taking moments for myself while being with her from the time she is awake until she is asleep. The times I dislike cell phone use with parents in public is when they are completely ignoring their children, like when I was in a parking lot last night. Small boy probably under 2 years old wandering around the car while his mom ignored him (talking on her phone), I drove very slow when I saw him and then he ran in front of my car and I stopped very quickly. The mom ran over and gave ME a dirty look.

April 8, 2013 at 7:22 AM  
Tarable said...

Oh I couldn't agree with you more! In addition to everything you've said here I would also like to add that being a parent can be very isolating. The frequency of which we get out and visit with other people can be drastically reduced when you have kids and I personally find that sometimes my iphone is my only connection to other moms, my friends, my husband, strangers, etc. Without the ability to connect (while doing anything and everything else for/with my kids) that my iphone provides I could find myself very lonely and segregated.

So yes, I think iphone use while parenting is completely acceptable and at times even necessary.

Great post!

April 8, 2013 at 8:10 AM  
Kristin said...

I think its a curious thing - people's use of iphones and such. although i am a self-proclaimed, "I cannot have an iphone because....," this is a limit that i have set for myself, because i have come to be aware of my own tendency to attempt TOO MUCH at once, perhaps not allowing me to enjoy the small things and moments with my girls. if i had an iphone i would be concerned about my own ability to monitor myself as it is so easy to check in with the big wide world of social media and communication online.
I do however have a cell phone which i use to text, and an iPod which I carry with me for times when i can hook into some wireless connection and make that instagram post or message a friend on fb. because chances are, the time i think to do it, is the moment i will remember to do it and not a moment later! ; ) like another commenter said above, sometimes that break is just the break i need.

April 8, 2013 at 9:30 PM  
mazoola said...

i took out the data plan from my phone a month or so after having Max because i felt that i was always checking fb/twitter/emails/texts all the time whether at home or when out (and not enough soaking in of the tender newborn infant stage that goes by all too fast). there was a dong here, a ding was really too much and almost overstimulating as there was no break when i thought i was getting a break.

now i just have a talk and text plan which is enough as i still feel connected and immediately accessible, but i dont have those urges to check what made that ding RIGHT NOW, it can wait or if it was that important, the person woul'dve called me. i do have the Ipad though which is more portable and i am connected with instant messages around the house, but i dont feel it's as pressing as an iphone/BB and it doesnt have 3g, so when we're out and about Max has my attention.

April 9, 2013 at 9:29 PM  
Solomama said...

I phone it up! I love this post.

April 12, 2013 at 8:14 AM  

I'm an obsessive photo to Instagram to Email to Facebook to Twitter person. Theo has told me more than once to "stop taking pictures!" but he'll be happy in 20 years ... I hope.

But seriously (not that the above wasn't all true; it is, anyone writing a post about being on their iPhone too much is probably a hypocrite.

Many parenting moments are tedious and boring. The iPhone makes a lot of those moments so much better! Taking Theo to the playground by myself is suddenly bearable. I can't imagine going without my trusty phone. If I'm meeting a real live friend, I rarely pull it out.

Also, mothers need to make a living and that for me means I often answer email at the playground or whatever needs to be done. I make no apologies for that. That's life in the modern world.

April 12, 2013 at 9:01 PM  

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