I was struck by a scene in my neighborhood earlier today. There was a toddler sitting in a wagon by the side of the road, wiggling his butt, obviously wanting the wagon to go. And his mom (or babysitter?) was leaning on a telephone pole nearby, with her phone in her hand. Texting, surfing, I don’t know, but she was not talking. And she had completely checked out.
It’s always seemed odd to me when parents disconnect from their children for long hours talking on the phone. We do all need breaks. And that’s not what I’m talking about. Before texting became a reality, there were plenty of people who could not disconnect from their cell phones. And before cell phones, they could not disconnect from their home phones. And there was a time before that when it might have been the back yard fence I guess. Now they can do it more openly and quietly by text.
I don’t know for sure what I think of it. On the one hand, I value good tools. And my phone, along with its texting capabilities, is a good tool. That said, I know when I had computer work to do at home when the kids were little, it was hard for them to understand why I couldn’t play sometimes. After all, to their little eyes, I was just sitting there staring at a brightly lit box. Sure, I showed them things and introduced them to a computer at an early age to help both of them with development, learn how to edit school projects, etc.. And later school came to require it. But still, until they understood and valued the use of a computer at all, they did not get it. At least a TV made noise and pictures. They could understand someone staring at it. They stared at TV too. But often a computer is a bunch of words, while mommy seemed to stare off into space. I had to work from home to make it work out to be at home with my kids. I would set them next to me with things to do while I worked, and I planned lots of activities together, but I couldn’t always just stop when they wanted.
There’s a Zen belief about being fully present in whatever you set your hand to do. I can’t help but ponder these things when I see people staring at their phones while a child goes unnoticed nearby. I’m not sure what I expect, especially as someone who values her tools, and as someone who probably doesn’t really know what was going on. But certainly I expected something different.
It’s a different kind of world our kids are growing up in. I know my grandparents saw that when I was a kid. I see it for my own kids. There’s always a trickle-down. Generations of latch-key kids led to generations of fairly self-sufficient adults. I wonder what the trickle down is here?
6 responses to “Mommy Can’t Right Now, She’s Texting”
I can definitely relate to this — since I experienced it with my daughter. I work from home. Before she went to school, it was hard getting her to understand that just because mommy was home, it didn’t mean I could always play with her (although I wanted to.) Setting up fun projects (coloring, books that were read by mother goose, creating with play dough, etc.) were extremely helpful and kept her occupied. She was content with that, since mommy was right beside her.
I just discovered your blog. I just got back into crochet (as in yesterday– I haven’t crocheted since I was a child) and your blog has provided plenty of crocheted designs for me to drool over.
Welcome Opal! My Grandma Leona voiced to me that though life was less physically demanding today, she wondered if life for mothers today wasn’t more complicated and stressful. It was a thoughtful perspective. The demand to do so much at once is so great, isn’t it?
Congrats on coming back to crochet! ::happy clap:: I appreciate your kind comments about my work. To assist in the crochet enabling (heheh) 😀 I highly recommend you also check out the Crochet Liberation Front to “hook up” with other crocheters too! It’s a fun group of crochet lovers and always full of resources. We also have a discussion group on Ravelry.com here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/crochet-liberation-front-headquarters/topics and a new membership program is about to be launched that we’re all excitedly waiting for. As far as Ravelry, it’s an online community for crocheters and knitters and it’s the best one-stop shop for patterns, information, hooky friends, photos, help. I highly recommend it! Just to help enable you further! 😉 LOL! If you decide to join Ravelry (it’s free), you can find me there as BikerMom.
Thanks for visiting and lots of happy hooky wishes!
Wow thanks so much for the information, I discovered Crochet Liberation Front last evening. I saw the membership information, and I admit I was curious to see what that was about. However, Ravelry is new to myself, and so I signed up as OpalT (I know, I know — very original). 😉
Thanks to you, I discovered a LYS (that’s my first yarn lingo I’ve learned at that site) and they have a volunteer opportunity available. It’s called the Mother Bear Project, making bears for children. I sent them an email, and will stop by early next year to say hello, and pick up the pattern to make a bear. 🙂 I figure by that time, I’ll be comfortable enough with crochet that I’ll be able to make something pretty for others. 🙂 I already have ideas of what I want to incorporate with the bear I make.
The occasional phone call or e-mail check is fine, but I’ve commented many times to my mother how sad it makes me to be at a playground with my kids and see a mother who’s on her gadget the WHOLE time. And then sometimes we’re talking a major safety issue (i.e., caregiver is so busy texting he/she isn’t noticing the kid heading for the street).
Stopping over from the NaBloPoMo blogroll. 🙂
Thanks for your visit Shannon!
Safety was another factor that crossed my mind, though I thought I might ponder that into a different post. There’s a lot we can do at once, multi-tasking wise. I’m a whiz at doing dishes and talking on the phone at the same time. And I think this works because they are different parts of the brain managing each task. But there is a break down point. Some things need our undivided attention, not our divided attention. Then there’s the love factor, I think. What makes us feel secure and loved?
Anyway, thanks for stopping by! How’s NaBloPoMo going for you?
This post made me think of the Harry Chapin song, Cat’s in the Cradle.
The safety issue is a good issue to think about, not just for the children in our care but also when we’re out and about alone. I get nervous when I realize that I’ve been so focused on my little phone that I’ve forgotten to remain aware of my surroundings.