During a seminar on internet culture last week, the speaker shared this Tumblr page called Parents on Phones. It's a series where the author takes pictures of other parents on their smart phones while they seemingly ignore their children. I don't know what's worse: the creeper taking the pictures or the parents on their phones. My first instinct was to judge these negligent people for putting their electronic brains before their tiny humans. How could these parents just ignore their children to spend an extra thumb scroll through their social media feeds? Nothing could possibly be that important (except Beyoncé's Instagram posts). My coworkers in the room groaned at the sight of these distracted parents, and I joined in.
Then I saw a very familiar image- a mom with her kid in a football hold under one arm and her phone in the other, hurriedly racing from one thing to the next. This is my life.
There's nothing more embarrassing than seeing a mirror image of yourself in something that makes you cringe. At the next audience grown, my work wife, Erin, and I said, "OK, everyone just calm down! She's probably answering her goddamn work email."
There are plenty of studies out there that say technology is impeding on quality time and relationships with our families. However, most careers haven't adjusted to accommodate these findings. We're an 'always on' workforce that can answer an email, a text, a carrier pigeon at the press of a button in our pockets. So while it's healthy to get out of the office, I find it almost impossible to disconnect when I get home. Even Cooper can't get away.
I'm dedicated to showing my son what a strong, working mama looks like, but at what expense? It's unrealistic to think I can completely shut down when I get home, so I'm not going to pretend like we're going to become some no-electronics family. I mean, we host weekly Game of Thrones parties just like every other modern American family...right?
However, this obnoxious Tumblr page got me thinking about how much time I spend needlessly scrolling through Instagram feeds, top 25 lists and Disney princess personality quizzes. That crap has such a numbing effect on my brain and takes me out of the real human moments I'm experiencing with friends, my husband, and most importantly, Cooper.
I've instigated a new rule for myself: no phones at the dinner table, during playtime or during bedtime. Hopefully I'll abide by my self-imposed boundaries. If I don't, hopefully I'll remember how shitty it felt to realize the person I judged was myself.