There has been debate in “Mom blog world” over using your iphone while your kids are outside playing at the park. Are you disengaged from them? Are you not giving them the attention they need and deserve? Some say yes. Others say, “Get real and stop judging us.”
First of all there is a lot of talk of “It wasn’t that way in my day as a stay-at-home mom.” That is true. Before we declare that the moms of the 1970’s and 1980’s were not distracted by technology. some children had moms who watched game shows in the morning and soap operas in the afternoon. Some children still dealt with moms on the phone. The phone, however, was attached to the wall with a long (but often not long enough) spiral chord. My point is that there is, was, and always will be distractions. Painting the past in beautiful colors and displaying the present as depressing is a temptation but does not always speak the truth.
Is our “mom world” today different and affected by technology? Of course it is. Our world moves at a faster pace than it once did. We feel the need to be “plugged in” often and respond to message as quickly as possible. Yet that makes us more efficient. We get more work done in a less amount of time. I have a small writing job. My editor lives in Canada, my headquarters are in Michigan, and I communicate with people all over the country. I can do almost all my work over e-mail and Facebook from the comforts of my living room while my kids play in the backyard. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Moms can plan events with other moms using tools on Facebook. We can text one another if we have a question about anything. We can connect with other moms all over the country and even all over the world. It’s convenient, it works for us, and it is a blessing.
However it also distracts us and many of us lack the discipline to “shut it down.” Throwing it out is not practical. But if you limit yourself, you realize that you don’t need it as much as you think you do.
We grew up in a world that was more compartmentalized with kids in either public or private school. The school day is no longer 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM for children who are homeschooled. Many moms stayed home or had a job outside of the home. Now it is accepted (and easier with technology) to work from home hence the workday is not 9-5 anymore. Sometimes my work day is in between naps or when the kids are watching a movie or when they are contently playing outside and I can quick send a couple of e-mails.
I think the majority of us function better when we have a schedule and are not juggling ten things. In this world of diverse options and multiple networking opportunities we have to be more intentional…and sometimes a bit creative with how we schedule our lives. Are the kids getting enough of us? Are we spending too much time engaged in technology? Is the picture of us texting or reading Facebook statuses how our kids picture us spending the majority of our time? I can’t answer these questions for you. But if we answer these questions with guilt, than maybe we are not prioritizing our schedules the way we should.
Because the mom at the park may very well be surfing Facebook and missing out on her children’s play. Or maybe she have spent the whole morning with them and is now trying to get caught up on e-mails. We don’t know. In this world of technology we don’t know and we should not assume.
All I can say is be the best the mom you can be to your kids. If that means limiting your screen time, do it. Don’t worry about the mom sitting next to you that isn’t.