Knowing you, your family, and your limits.
A fellow blogger and I were noticing that this week’s apparent “hot topic” in the parenting world is how your cell phone makes you the worst parent in the entire world and how they should be abolished, banned, and with their destruction there will never be another problem in your family again.
Obviously, I am exaggerating. But not by much for some of these commentators. The need for all of these issues to be blown SO out of proportion lately (think Time cover regarding attachment parenting) is getting ridiculous. My family says “just ignore them,” but I live in this online, digital world so it’s always there. And self-doubt in your role as a parent is by far the worst I’ve ever experienced, and I think most (normal) parents would agree with that. But I also know that I’m a good mom, my kids are amazing kids, and I know that we’re doing the best with what we have.
So K is for Knowing – Knowing your limits, your borders, knowing when you should step back but also knowing when you’re doing just fine too.
Now, I’m far from throwing stones here, as I do live in a glass house. I spend entirely too much time online, whether on my laptop or my phone. However, I have never told my children not to bother me while playing a game (as any friends who have tried to play draw something or words with friends know, I am so bad at keeping up with them because I have too much going on). I put the phone away when we’re at the park/zoo/whatever, and if I want pics I use my camera. I know that I draw pictures with my kids on the rare occasion we go out to eat. I know that I would never miss snuggling with or tucking my kids in because of something online, even work. I know I’m not the “extreme” that is discussed in so many of the recent posts and articles.
But I have missed moments because I “just wanted to check one thing,” or just “had to finish my conversation with X.” And I know that I need to work on that. I know I need to set better limits on my technology time. But the fact that I spend too much time on my phone or computer doesn’t make me evil, or worse than other parents. And to those parents out there who feel better than me because they are rarely or never on their phones – well good for them. I’m 100% sure that those people will find some other way to fuck up their kids, since none of us are perfect.
Because cell phones are not evil. Being able to send pictures to grandparents who live far away is an amazing, wonderful thing. And yes, I’m one of “those” people who posts a LOT about food and pictures of meals I’ve prepared, because I get inspiration for new dishes from other friends who do the same, so I’m sharing the love. If you don’t like it, don’t follow/friend me. It’s that simple.
And the ability to reach out in an emergency with cell phones is invaluable. Flat tire on the side of the road. Sick children. Injured people in car accidents. And since most cell phones have GPS activated, your location can also be determined in an emergency.
My cell phone was my lifeline to the world when Girl was in the ER in March. Mr. Acorns was halfway across the country, and without a cell phone I wouldn’t have been able to reach him, keep him posted about his poor, sick little Girl, arrange for people to be standby pick up for Ben, etc. I was able to stay by Girl’s side the entire time and still reach everyone. I could jump on the internet on my phone and get information for Mr. Acorns, etc.
So yes – I have my phone with me on weekends. I know that it’s important to me to capture moments that I can send to grandparents and upload to FB for distant family. However, I also know that I need to set more limits and I am working on that. But I also know that I’m not evil, I’m not a terrible parent for my cellphone use, and I know that my children are loved and nurtured as best we know how.
Throwing your cell phone into the pool won’t prevent all family issues. Tucking it away in the evenings, that’s probably a good idea. But don’t blame the technology for you being a lazy or distracted parent. Even if there were no cell phones, parents who ignore their children for technology would just find another avenue.
I love my children, and they know that. I know that I’m not perfect. But I also know that we do our best, and as long as there is love, that is all that we can do.
(This post is part of the Blogging A-Z Challenge I adapted, with posts every Tuesday and Thursday until I reach Z). A great big thank you to Filling Our Bucket for the inspiration for today’s post! Keep at it girl!