Dear Parents, Leave my iPhone Out Of This


It came to my attention yesterday that there is a picture circulating on Facebook. It is a picture of a Mom who is in the park with her kids and while they are playing on the swings, she is staring at her iPhone. I saw the picture. I have no idea how the assumption was made that it is an iPhone, or that the lady is indeed the mother of those children. But that's irrelevant (to many, as it seems). The relevant part is what a lousy, horrible mother she is. Her children should probably be taken away from her, because she clearly doesn't care about them growing up - she is missing it all while fiddling with her smart phone. That was the general conclusion.

Many blog posts popped up in the meantime that are defending the mother, saying maybe she was just taking a picture of her kids, so that she can later show them to her working husband (I do that), or that as a stay-at-home Mom she spends so much time with the kids that stealing a moment for herself to check her e-mails is fine (I do that, too) and so on and so on. Some people said lovely things in her defense.

I will keep this short and cut right down to the chase, if you don't mind. Children are magical creatures that enrich your life in unimaginable ways. Now let me say out loud what most mothers rather not - very often, they are also simply boring as hell. Yes - I said it. It doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home Mom or a working Mom who finds herself in the company of her children for 48 hours straight over the weekend. If you spend several hours with your child, there will be a point in which you are bored to death and would rather just stab your eyeballs out, because then you would maybe have something more interesting to talk about or react to.

I am glued to my iPhone for large periods of times. I have felt maybe 5 minutes of guilt somewhere along the way, which was a reaction to the article I found on Facebook about how our children suffer because of lack of the attention. Interestingly enough, at least as far as my own kid is concerned, he can certainly make sure that he gets my attention when he wants it even if I am staring at my phone. These little creatures can be loud, demanding and clear about what they want you to do. If I missed any magical moments with Kai because I was reading a news article about what is going on it the world, or a story about some event of historical importance, or an interview with a political prisoner - you know, that kind of stuff that makes you educated, knowledgeable and cultured - then I have no regrets, because of the overload of the magical moments I have with him daily nevertheless.

I consider myself an attached parent. I do, however, think that attachment parenting has crossed the line (as all well intentioned things tend to) and instead of love, support, attention and care became a charade in which a parent is only worthy if he or she hovers over the child all the freaking time. So parents constantly interact with their children, follow them everywhere, talk to them about every single thing that is in sight and don't let them breathe for one second, and consider that a great example for all those other lousy parents out there who bring their offsprings to the playground and let them...play. You know, without interrupting them every five seconds with questions about colors and counting. Call social services - the mother is sitting on a bench reading while her kids play in the sandbox! Oh the horror!

The kids on the picture that started this all are somewhere in a 5-7 year-old age range (as far as I can guess). When I was that age I was playing with my friends outside without any parental supervision. Today's parents would be probably arrested if they let their kids in the playground alone. And do you really think that parenting in pre-smartphone era was so much more sophisticated? That our Moms and Grandmoms spent so much more time paying attention to us, just to be sure not to miss any magical moments with us? Because as far as I remember, they had to do dishes and laundry and cleaning and shopping and they liked to watch TV and get together with neighbors and we, the kids, were told to go to our rooms and play. Or go outside and come home once it was time for supper. 

So yeah, give me a break. As long as the kid is not running for a busy intersection or terrorizing other kids on the playground, leave the mothers and their iPhones alone and let them decide how much childhood magic they can handle in their own lives.

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