Dear Mom who is telling me I should put my phone away,
I’m so sorry I disrupted your day and you felt the weight of a technologically doomed world on your shoulders because I had my iPhone in my hand. I’m sorry you felt sad for me and my children. I’m sorry the small window of my life that you were privy to depressed you and made you weep for my son’s lost childhood.
You probably saw me at the park. Maybe I was scanning through a few emails or saying hi on Facebook while my adventurous four year old scaled the monkey bars beside me. I might have been answering an important text, but most likely I was doing something completely frivolous like laughing at a funny cat on Instagram. Either is perfectly acceptable. Why? Because I can determine what should and shouldn’t be done in that moment since I already know what I did for the hours leading up to it, and I know what I’ll do the hours after we leave.
You, on the other hand, have absolutely no idea.
Many parents have the ability to spend the entire day with their children – like me. Hi. That means the hour I spend at the park is only one of 23 that I have with my child. You see him jumping up and down trying to get my attention. Yep. I see it too. In fact, I’ve seen it all day and I’ll see it until the moment he falls asleep. The fact that I shout “Wow cool!” instead of clapping, dancing and embracing him while keeping eye contact shouldn’t be your biggest point. Really. Because I’ve already done that 200 times before you had a glimpse into my bubble.
I’ve already been up since 5 am with him, having tickle fights and laughing over his favorite jokes even though they aren’t actually funny. I’ve already danced in the living room with him until I couldn’t breathe and painted sixteen pictures of flowers at the kitchen table. I’ve already dedicated myself to watching “this cool thing I can do!” instead of working that morning. And, when I get home, I’ll wash the same dishes ten times because he likes to help, read four books in funny voices, build a couch fort, hunt worms in the back yard, pretend I can’t find him during hide & seek, take him out for a smoothie and then come home to do at least five of those things all over again.
But don’t let that stop you from focusing on the comparatively minuscule amount of time I was daring to look at something other than my child.
Dear Mom watching out for the experience preservation of all children everywhere – you’re right. The fifteen minutes I spent connecting with my friends online while he had an awesome time at the park was so selfish and careless. He didn’t need to play with other children instead of his mother for a change. What was I thinking? I am all he needs.
I bet those giggles and belly laughs were actually a cry for help.