I’m The Mom At The Park On Her iPhone

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mom-at-parkI’m totally the mom at the park on her phone. Do you have a problem with that? Tough shit. In theory I understand that every moment with my child is precious – but in reality I just wish everyone would chill out a little. Our parents paid close to zero attention to us when we were kids and we all turned out fine.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. My generation’s parents didn’t pay “zero” attention to them – but they definitely didn’t dote over them all day like we’re for some reason expected to. If my mother took me to the park when I was a kid, she sat on a bench reading a magazine, she didn’t climb the damn jungle gym with me. Parents on tanbark was pretty much unheard of – that was a kid zone. There used to exist a little thing called “boundaries.” Parents did adult things and kids did kid things. Now we’re all expected to finger paint and swing on a swing set and slide down a slide – and no thanks. I’d like my kid to learn to do some of that stuff on his own.

So back to the phone. Yes, if we are at the park I’m probably on it occasionally. I guess I should ideally be gazing at the beauty that I pushed from my loins, but I have emails to answer. And when we’re at home, my toddler spends time in his room totally alone – can you imagine? I’m forty. Building Mega Blocks structures doesn’t really do it for me. You know what does though? Going into my son’s room to see what he’s built without any of my direction.

We were finger-painting at a play group once, and one of the moms kept asking her son if he was sure he “didn’t want to add a little more red?” I was baffled by this behavior. I thought, “what a control freak.” But then I realized it’s not her fault; we’re expected to be constantly interacting with our children, so inevitably we are going to have some opinions about what they are doing. It would make so much more sense if the leaves on that tree were green. Are you sure you want to make the house in the shape of an octagon? 

If you ask me, we need to be on our phones more – not literally, but you get my drift. I don’t think all of this constant attention-paying is doing anyone any good. Not our kids who may become stunted by our control and definitely not parents who are putting a ton of pressure on themselves to “always be present.” Sometimes I just want to be present with a game of Words With Friends. Is that so wrong?

I don’t think so.

Our kids don’t need our undivided attention all day to realize that we love them. I never got that, and I never questioned whether I was adored by my mom. Her being a mom and loving me had absolutely nothing to do with how much she played Barbies with me or whether we swung on the swings next to each other. So yeah, you may see me on my iPhone. But don’t worry – my kid is loved.

(photo: KieferPix/ Shutterstock)